This Gurugram haircare brand hit 20k customers organically in just 9 months without selling on ecommerce platforms
With experience in the personal care market, Rohit Chawla took a plunge into personalised beauty care by listening to what each hair profile needed. Ingredients sourced from place of origin, its products are specially made for each customer’s requirements.
After exiting as one of the co-founders of The Man Company, Rohit Chawla’s visionary plan to launch a haircare brand that aligned with people’s need saw him scale. In an exclusive interaction with SMBStory, he shares his journey.
“While building The Man Company, I gained enough experience in the personal care market. It was surprising to observe that (after) all these years, we have been using common products despite them not being suitable for us; especially shampoos and conditioners,” says second time startup entrepreneur Rohit Chawla.
As each person’s skin varies, so does the hair profile. So, to cater to people with a customised haircare solution corresponding to their hair type, texture and environment, Rohit struck upon an ingenious idea - Bare Anatomy.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
SMBStory: What is Bare Anatomy? How was the business started?
Rohit Chawla: Bare Anatomy is a beauty tech startup that believes personalisation is the future of the beauty industry. With advanced science technology, Bare Anatomy’s scientists analyse the unique hair profile of every customer and formulate the most advanced and effective products (infused with botanical extracts) for every individual’s specific requirements.
Launched with a range of personalised hair care, Bare Anatomy currently offers shampoos, conditioners, hair oils, hair serums, and hair masks. All the products are personalised as per the customers’ unique needs and are made fresh after receiving specific orders. The starting range of their shampoo is Rs 750.
To order products, customers must take a small quiz on a website which asks questions related to hair profile and preferences. One can pick the hair goals they want to achieve, pick the colour and fragrance of products, so much so that customers even get to put their names on their bottles.
Bare Anatomy is backed with a vision to revolutionise the personal care and beauty sector through customised products curated uniquely for each individual as per their needs and requirements. The data-driven company offers natural, vegan, and cruelty-free products freshly prepared on a consumer’s demand after analysing hair texture, scalp type, lifestyle, diet, etc.
The company was started in collaboration with Sifat Khurana who is brand head, and Vimal Bhola, ex-Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, who and looks after the R&D of the products.
SMBS: How do you manufacture your products and where do you source materials?
RC: When we started the business, I knew that we are creating a brand for the long run. I invested a lot in R&D and opened a lab in Gurugram. Vimal took over the responsibility of product composition and formulation, and we started with the manufacturing of shampoos and conditioners sourcing raw materials from across the world.
We believe in incorporating raw materials from the places of origin they are famous for. For example, we source shea butter from Ghana, moroccon oil from Morocco, etc.
With the exceptional response from our clientele and the unwavering support of our R&D team, we realised that there are more possibilities with our specialisation so we tapped into other products like hair serums, hair oil and hair masks to provide full-fledged care to varied hair profiles.
We have successfully raised $500,000 seed capital earlier this year from Sauce, a consumer-focused VC. With this strategic partnership and a robust outlook, we will now focus on augmenting our state-of-the-art R&D labs, strengthening marketing and technology.
SMBS: Why the “Just in Time” model? Won’t you lose yourself in a crowd of giant brands?
RC: Many of our customers struggled with hair problems in the past, with no solution. With customisation, we have been able to solve their specific problems. Our products are freshly-made, and there is no inventory. The biggest reason for opting for the “Just in Time” model for haircare products (which is prominent in the US market) is that we want to cater to the specific needs of the people.
Producing the stock in bulk needs chemicals, and then we will be lost in a crowd. We strongly aim to educate customers on their hair health and provide products best suited for them.
SMBS: Why don’t you sell your products on ecommerce platforms?
RC: We started by selling products on our own ecommerce portal by promoting the brand socially on Instagram and Facebook, and that drove customers to our website.
As we follow the ‘JIT’ business model, with a quiz that suggests what products customer can opt for, it is difficult to sell them online.
We are even not present in retail, and focus only on strengthening our own platform where customers can place orders.
Bare Anatomy was incorporated in 2018 and the first product was sold in March 2019. In the span of nine months, we have seen a 10X growth hitting 20,000 customers.
SMBS: What are the challenges to sustaining the business?
RC: Each order is customised as per user needs, so as our volumes grow, we face challenges in scaling quickly. Most of our competitors are using mass market production, so sudden spikes are not that difficult to handle as their products are already made, and have a longer shelf life because of the preservatives they use.
Recently, we got a spike in orders post-Diwali, and our system crashed. We were unable to meet such a huge demand from customers. However, as we are scaling up, we are building a team and trying to overcome these challenges.
SMBS: What does the future hold for Bare Anatomy?
RC: We are scaling very fast and are focused on increasing the SKUs in the hair category. We will also focus more on educating customers on preferences for haircare products as that is directly proportional to our growth.
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