The men's grooming industry in India in the last ten years has seen the entry of several new-age brands such as Bombay Shaving Company, Beardo, Spruce Shave Club, Ustraa, Let's Shave, The Man Company, etc. These brands focus on building a distinguished positioning in the market to have a long-term loyal customer base. Consequently, it is imperative for the brands to structure a strong marketing model to hold a cut in the pie.
A very popular name in the men’s grooming industry, The Man Company has been able to clock 3x growth in the festive period this year. A pioneer in the category, the brand attributes to a '360-degree marketing campaign' for its success. By the fiscal end of 2021, the Gurugram-based start-up is looking at a growth rate of 2.5x.
“360-degree marketing campaign with a focus on grooming kits for self-consumption and gifting helped the brand in reaching out to a wider audience,” said Hitesh Dhingra, Co-Founder, and Director, The Man Company.
Adopting such a marketing plan enables a brand to reach customers at all possible points of contact and maximizes the chance of finding and engaging new customers.
In fact, the brand, which has had a campaign-heavy marketing model over the years, has been working with celebrities like Ayushmann Khuranna to roll out a series of videos where he acts the role of multiple influencers across categories and to deliver a relatable message. The idea is to connect with the modern-age men seeking 'convenient, cost-effective, and uncomplicated experiences'.
Founded in 2013, The Man Company clocked revenue of Rs 0.97 crore in the year it started and now has clocked revenue of Rs 42.85 crore in the FY 2021. This amounts to a growth of around 43 percent in the last 6 years.
Experiential Lifestyle-centric Brand
It is indeed true, particularly for uber consumers of this category, the demand is not just for looking for the right grooming products but also a way for elevating their entire lifestyle. So, these experiential lifestyle brands become effective because they project on what their customer wants to be and the experiences they want to have.
“The plan is to build thought leadership, own the gentleman space in the market and build not just a grooming brand but an experiential lifestyle grooming brand. The marketing strategy has always been pretty simple: Content, Community and Commerce,” Dhingra said.
The male grooming industry in India which was valued at $2 billion in 2018 is still largely dominated by likes of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), Procter & Gamble (P&G). The rapidly growing market currently has about 100 thriving brands in the market, with online start-ups like Beardo, The Man Company working towards expanding into newer categories and outlets.
The industry was expected to grow at a massive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 percent by the end of 2021, revealing the enormous potential the category has, as per industry body ASSOCHAM.
In 2021 along, we saw multiple major investments in the grooming sector. FMCG giant Emami acquired a 12 percent stake in The Man Company in June, which in total amounts to about 45 percent equity in the start-up. Another FMCG biggie Marico completed the acquisition of Beardo by acquiring an additional 55 percent stake in the company (45 percent in 2019).
Again, British consumer goods firm Reckitt in Februray had invested Rs. 45 crore in New-Delhi based Bombay Shaving Company, which recently came in strategic partnership with Lakme; while domestic FMCG player Wipro Consumer Care backs LetsShave and Ustraa.
Push For Omnichannel
The omnichannel approach to sales can provide these new-age start-ups with an edge in the market. The Man Company, which claims to hold a 30 percent market share, has an omnichannel presence in 22 cities across India. The company operates 30 EBO's and has partnered with modern trade partners like Shoppers Stop, Central, Lifestyle, etc. Presently, 35 percent of the company's revenue comes from offline business.
“Even though we started as a digitally native brand, we always had a vision of building India's largest experiential grooming brand for men through omnichannel presence,” said Dhingra.
The Man Company's range of grooming products is available on its website and almost every major online platform like Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, and Myntra.
As of today, 35 percent of the company’s revenue comes from modern trade and its outlets whereas 65 percent comes from its own website and marketplace platforms. Currently, the company is at a gross annual run rate of Rs 150 crore.
The Man Company, which has raised about Rs. 75 crore till date, of which Rs. 70 crore was this year in June 2021 from Emami, plans to go aggressive in terms of Exclusive Brand Outlets expansion (EBO) by launching 1 EBO every 3 days for next 3 months. Currently, the company has now had 30 outlets across India.
"We are now targeting around Rs 500 crore for the brand in the next 4 years," the company stated.