From the sea to the salon: Why this sailor quit his job to launch a beauty startup
Like they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and now, innovation too. Take Noida-based YesMadam, for example. An on-demand, hyperlocal beauty and wellness services platform, the startup is a result of a co-founder’s disappointing salon visit.
YesMadam was founded in 2016 by Mayank and Aditya Arya, who quit their high paying jobs to take the entrepreneurial plunge and provide pocket-friendly, genuine and transparently priced products and services.
The startup leverages technology to provide customers with access to quality beauty and wellness services from the comfort of their homes.
The road less traded
After a disappointing salon visit, former sailor Aditya (32) realised that not only did he have to shell out a significant amount for dubious products, the executives had also burnt his skin during a facial.
“Given that salons should be experts not only in their service delivery, but also in using products, we wondered why there would be such complaints. This led us into exploring and researching the beauty and wellness landscape,” says his brother Mayank.
Not finding a platform that could effectively tie together transparency, high-quality, and affordable salon services, the duo decided to address the gap themselves. Thus began YesMadam’s journey.
Mayank (38) has a Diploma in Natural Studies from Singapore, where he had started an ecommerce venture in 2004 during his college days.
Prior to YesMadam, he was the General Manager in NICOM Distillery, and Second Officer at Tanker Pacific Management.
On the other hand, Aditya has a decade of diversified international exposure. He has a bachelor’s degree in Nautical Studies, and worked at Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, spearheading the delivery of newly built ships.
Bootstrapped, YesMadam provides customers with basic beauty services, professional services, massages, and even slimming services. The startup has partnered with more than 500 beauticians, who undergo extensive training.
Its unique proposition lies in its per-minute pricing model. The costs range between Rs 6 and Rs 15 per minute, depending on the beautician’s level of expertise and the duration of the service.
According to the founders, this ensures that YesMadam charges almost 40 percent less than its counterparts.
In fact, YesMadam’s pricing model is designed to highlight the division of charges for the products used and services delivered. This allows customers to use their own products, ensuring that there are no hidden costs.
To guarantee quality and authenticity, the startup has also tied-up with top brands.
“We use sealed mono-doses of beauty products. This ensures there is no refilling, duplication, and tampering with the products,” Mayank says.
Starting with Delhi-NCR, YesMadam has now extended its services to Tier-II and III cities, including Chandigarh, Lucknow, Jalandhar, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Jammu, Jaipur, Bareilly, Kanpur, Meerut, and also in Bengaluru and Pune.
YesMadam’s model is entirely tech-based. Customers can book appointments either through its app or website.
“Our focus is more on digital marketing rather than offline marketing as the digital platform is where the customers are,” Mayank says.
The startup manages supplies with its inbuilt inventory management tool, which automates the entire supply query generation, order placement, and delivery process. For its cash flow, it uses a wallet system, which is also dependent on a solid tech framework.
“Though marketing definitely helps in shaping up a brand’s efforts, we personally believe that the quality and transparency of our offerings, paired with the passion with which we deliver it has a greater impact on our various stakeholders,” he adds.
YesMadam follows a dual-channel strategy. For its Delhi-NCR market, it follows an on-demand, commission-based model, in which beauticians acquire customers from its platform, and charge specific fees on each of the services offered. For markets in the Tier-II and III cities, the startup follows a regular franchise model.
In just over three years, YesMadam witnessed a month-on-month growth of 20 percent. Additionally, the startup has recorded 72 percent retention growth, with an average of 22,000 users booking services per month.
At present, its annual gross transactional value stands at Rs 30 crore. The co-founder says that the app has registered over 2,00,000 downloads until now.
“YesMadam is still bootstrapped, without needing much capital infusion and cash burn, we have managed to grow almost by 6X,” Mayank says.
A humongous market
By 2020, India’s beauty and personal care industry is estimated to grow almost twice its value of over $11 billion in 2015.
In this market, YesMadam competes with the likes of UrbanCompany (previously Urban Clap), Housejoy, Jobble. However, its transparent per-minute pricing services is its USP.
In the next three years, the startup plans to reach 300 cities.
“The rising demand has contributed both to the profitability of the company as well as our franchise partners. Our partners have an expected return-of-investment of up to 76 percent,” Mayank says.
YesMadam also plans to implement a number of tools backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). In the next six months, the startup is looking to launch a dynamic pricing mechanism powered by AI and ML.
At the same time, it is also planning to launch an array of beauty and personal care products.
“Over the next year, we are aiming at introducing dermatology, beauty treatments, gynaecology and nutrition consultations,” adds Mayank.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)