The Grooming Buddy

Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company, discusses how the D2C startup identified potential in the male grooming business

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During his earlier entrepreneurial endeavour at Truly Madly, Hitesh Dhingra observed that men initiate the conversation by just saying 'Hi' but don't know how to hold onto the conversation, they usually fade out after that. He realized a huge gap in the men's grooming community and the need of it, not just in tier-II or tier-III cities but also in tier-I and metros.

Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company

"Our idea was then to launch a platform like a grooming buddy. A place where men can ask the most basic questions and get answers," he details. While conducting initial market research about this, the team interacted with many modern-age men and observed that men have actually started spending a lot on grooming. "They are far more conscious about how they look or smell than their predecessors some 25 or 50 years back. They have also started spending on beard grooming, pedicure, manicure and haircut and at that time, not many brands worked for the men's grooming community. Only a handful of female-oriented brands offered two-three products like shaving, fairness or deodrants. No one was talking to these millennial men in the language they understood," Dhingra explains.

With this, the Man Company entered the market back in 2015, a market which had a huge potential but didn't have many players.

"We started as a digitally-native brand and have since expanded to offline retail. We realized that we wanted to create a seamless connection with the audience thus, took the D2C approach,"Dhingra continues. He identifies that the total addressable market for The Man Company is about 45 million men in metros and tier 1&2 cities. The company has served over 4 million customers across channels in the last 6 years of existence.

"Currently, we have more than 3000+ offline touch points, including GT and MT. We are also close to touching 50 Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs). We are spread across the country. And we see demand coming from pan India, and the demand is purely dependant on the product since various products have relevance in various parts of the country," he adds.

The process behind building the D2C brand involves working with multiple manufacturers across categories. They are also dependent tech throughout their process.

"The Man Company has adopted several tech-based methodologies. Foremost, to keep our inventory, stock management, delivery, and order fulfilment on point, we are leveraging FIFO (First In, First Out) method. We have also automated order allocation based on inventory availability across regional warehouses. In addition, to make certain the smooth flow of order tracking and fulfillment, we are taking assistance from top-notch software available in the domain," Dhingra informs.

At The Man Company, the company has also curated a unique customer reliability index to predict return orders and classify customers as per risk tiers to save on two-way logistics. They are also utilizing regional fulfilment to reduce the total turnaround time, optimize logistics costs and enhance customer experience.

For the coming months, the company tells Entrepreneur India that they are gearing up to collaborate with platforms like Cred, Trell, etc. to fortify their sales.

"We are also working on IPs, such as the Hall of Gentlemen, to celebrate gentlemen bringing selfless change to society. Apart from this, we are on our way to launch one of the very exciting IP in May 2022 to become a catalyst in changing the mindset of men everywhere," he said.

Some quick facts about Man Company's business

· Best seller: Blanc EDT

· Total SKUs: 150+

· Team size: 410+

· Repeat customer ratio: 35%

· Turnover for FY 2021-22: Company at an INR 150cr Annual Revenue Run Rate

· Split between offline and online sales: 35:65::Offline:Online