How These Present Day Entrepreneurs are Breaking Barriers of Gender Biasness
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It's a man's Chore Too
Setting up India’s first organized chain of laundromats has not been a cakewalk for Arunabh Sinha, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, UClean. Once he noticed his wife losing her cool over the laundry at home, he readily plunged into the business with a stern belief that it’s a man’s chore too. “BEFORE STARTING THIS VENTURE, I HADN’T WASHED CLOTHES IN MY LIFE, NOR WAS I AWARE OF HOW THE MACHINE OPERATED,” says Sinha. On the other hand, people were skeptical whether a man laundress would have the understanding of fabric or how to clean specific stains. Sinha spent months learning about fabric, experimenting stain removal hacks and training his men on the same. Today, this 2017 brand has crossed annual revenue of over Rs 8 crore.
Challenging The Market Giants
Shankar Prasad started his vegan beauty and wellness brand Plum in 2014 with the By Sugandh Bahl simple idea of spreading a new concept in the cosmetics market. Over the years, he realized that there is a small but growing market for vegan. THE TWO MAJOR CHALLENGES WERE - LEARNING ABOUT WOMAN’S SKIN CARE NEEDS AND DECIDING ON A NAME, WHICH IS NOT ONLY ATTRACTIVE BUT FURTHER, RESONATES WITH THE CONSUMERS. Prasad began relying on his friends, excolleagues and well-wishers to provide feedback on his devised range. He asked them to suggest who should be his target. consumers, as the major chunk was already grabbed by brands like Forest Essentials and The Body Shop, etc. “I even spoke to some of my existing customers, learning in terms of what they want, which further helped me immensely,” says Prasad. With an average consumer base of over 30,000 a month, which has been ever growing, Plum is now available on multiple e-commerce marketplaces besides brick-and-mortar stores.
Championing a Man's Concern
With emerging high-end male grooming products like Beardo and The Man Company, Sangita Desai started with the thought that the sector would be a lucrative market to grab. The challenge, however, was formulating a range which is not just safe and effective for their skin or hair but also different from the existing products. Her company Raw Nature uses dried volcanic lava as the main ingredient, which is essentially very good for men’s skin. “BEING A WOMAN IN THIS SECTOR I DID FACE ISSUES OF NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY SUPPLIERS, AS THEY WERE USED TO DEALING WITH MEN,” she says adding, “Seeing a woman in charge took them by surprise and intimated them. Eventually, I had to write to the senior management of certain suppliers to move things along, which a man in my position might not have had to do.” Going forward, she is moving towards creating a unisex product line as well.
(This article was first published in the July 2018 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)