This startup by a 24-year-old targets the $600M male grooming market of India
Gone are the days when being unkempt was considered manly. Today, it has become equally important for men to be on top of their grooming game. However, finding the right products at affordable prices has not been easy. It was to deal with this challenge that Sidharth Oberoi started LetsShave, a platform that aggregates quality razors at affordable prices.
While studying Industrial Engineering, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at Purdue University, Sidharth saw that most times he would have to shell out huge amounts of money on expensive razor blades. He soon realised that most of his friends and colleagues were facing the same problem.
"While pursuing engineering at Purdue University, the idea of offering quality shave at a fair price cropped up in my mind and this is how LetsShave was born. I thought how about getting razor blades directly from the manufacturer to one’s doorstep, thereby eliminating the cost of the middleman, and saving big money,” says 24-year old Sidharth.
In addition to his degree from Purdue, Sidharth also has an International Engineering training certificate from Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. Senior design Capstone project at Chrysler, Kokomo Indiana, USA. He is also a trained and certified Six Sigma Green Belt from Motorola Solutions Head office, Chicago, USA.
Once he came up with the idea, Sidharth partnered with Dorco, a brand that has been manufacturing razors since 1955. Having tried Dorco’s products in California, Sidharth was keen to begin his venture with them. It took Sidharth and the team at Dorco a few years from the time he first dropped them a mail. At the time, he was working as a Project Engineer Certifier in Cleveland Ohio. Today, LetsShave has an exclusive partnership with Dorco.
“LetsShave has worked towards introducing the world’s first 6-Blade razor with trimmer Pace 6 Plus and Place XL Pro. We have also begun to introduce the 6-Blade Body Razor for Women,” adds Sidharth.
Roping in the clientele
One of the major challenges was convincing people about the quality of the products. People’s shaving behaviour was not easy to understand and was actually the core challenge of the business. He also found that people were more likely to predict the quality of a product by its price. Most men are not sure how long a single blade lasts, which and what blade to use on a particular skin and hair type.
“Our platform introduced razors ranging from 2-Blades to 6-Blades. On each product page on our website, we have a recommendation tab that informs customers about what blade would suit their skin the best. One can determine one’s skin and hair type and buy the tailor-made blade so that there are no cuts on the face,” says Sidharth.
Since the distribution channels don’t involve any middlemen costs and whatever products are there, are sourced directly from the manufacturer, the costs can be economical. As the team has set up their own warehouse, they work internally on the logistics, supply chain, and warehouse flows.
While the team refused to share details of numbers regarding page visits and the repeat customer base, Sidharth claims that they have a strong loyal customer base that ensures easy flow of business. “We will expand our lines to offer more shaving razors and introduce range of post and pre-shave products soon this year,” adds Sidharth.
The booming men’s business
Today, India is believed to be a booming market for men’s grooming. A report by Euromonitor suggests that the space for men’s grooming is worth $600 million and is growing at a CAGR of 11 per cent. This, however, is more the case in metro cities and Tier II urban areas. The global men’s grooming market is said to be $33 billion.
There is also growing evidence of investment and growth. Singapore-based private equity firm Everstone Capital invested in Bengaluru-based haircare chain R&R. The chain has over 25 salons under the You Look Great Brand. Also, London-based haircare chain Truefitt & Hill has opened six salons in different parts of the country.
While an exclusive platform for men’s grooming and razors seems interesting, LetsShave has to compete with biggies like Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal, who have a wider range and choice of men’s grooming products. It is not just grooming and personal care, even men’s clothing is a big segment. In fact, on Flipkart last year men’s clothing as a category was larger than women’s. It is also important to note that 69 per cent of shoppers on the platform are male.
According to reports from the fashion industry, in the past five years, men’s fashion has outpaced women’s. With this massive demand, several top fashion brands like Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Hermes have expanded their menswear offerings by introducing a wider range and even dedicated menswear stores in several cases.