Delhi-based personal care startup Qraa Men is using ancient Ayurveda to build a Rs 200 Cr business
For the longest time, skincare and beauty were reserved as feminine domains, limited to women.
“Most Indian men that it is somehow ‘unmanly’ to take care of themselves,” says Karan Gupta, Founder of men’s grooming startup Qraa Men.
However, the last couple of years has seen the growing importance of men’s grooming and skincare, accelerated by social media and the internet. But there still exists a considerable market-gap when it comes to affordable Ayurvedic products, tailormade meant for men.
Qraa Men is trying to solve this multifaceted problem by providing pure, botanical, chemical-free, and organic skin, hair, and body care products, rooted in ancient Ayurvedic practices.
“We also price our selection competitively to make them affordable for men who want to enjoy the benefits of specialised personal care products,” Karan tells YS Weekender.
Founded in 2017 under parent company RG Biocosmetics, Qraa Men is based out of New Delhi.
The ‘aha’ moment
Karan’s father Raj Gupta is a veteran businessman who has been associated with the Indian beauty and personal care industry for over the last 25-years. His company RG Biocosmetics, established in 2000, houses Qraa Herbals, a natural and organic personal care brand for women.
In 2016, Karan joined his father’s company to curate a personal-care collection for his skin and hair. He recalls, “I failed. There was a lack of natural, problem-specific, cruelty-free and affordable personal care products for men.”
And this led him to launch Qraa Men as an extension of Qraa Herbals. He initially invested Rs 50 lakh in the company.
The company has an admin team of 25 employees, along with 30 people working in its factory. Qraa Men also has 50 field staff working on sales and promotions.
“We also hire freelance beauty advisors who work with us on a contractual basis, depending on the deliverables and business,” Karan adds.
Qraa Men targets metrosexual men between ages 18 and 30.
The team first identifies the issues, and invests in research and development before moving to the manufacturing process. Its manufacturing unit is located in Okhla where R&D is conducted by industry professionals who are hired on a contract basis.
The brand leverages social media, digital, and influencer marketing techniques to acquire its customers.
Its products are available on the brand’s own website, and on ecommerce platforms Nykaa, Purplle, Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Reliance, Metro Cash, and Dabur New You. It claims to have a retention rate of 30 to 35 percent.
“We follow a strict manufacturing process as per Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and have also earned the ISO 9001 (2000) certification,” Karan adds.
Since there is no base-cost or fixed margin in the beauty and personal care industry, the profit margin and revenue differ across various product categories. “While on some products like commodity items, the margin is less, creams or lotions enable us to get a premium margin,” Karan says.
The scope of revenue also differs from product to product. A significant portion of the startup’s revenue comes from B2B sales.
Last financial year, the founder says that the brand sold 67,4151 units of products, and is aiming to sell a lakh units this year. The gross merchant value of Qraa Men stands at Rs 50 crore.
“I aspire to increase the market valuation of the company to Rs 200 crore by March 2023,” Karan says. He is hopeful about achieving the revenue targets since it has been swiftly discovering untapped markets and plans to develop new product lines.
Men’s grooming market
Research and Markets in its India Men’s Grooming Market Outlook, 2023, stated that the country’s men’s grooming market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 10 percent between FY 18 to FY 22.
“Social media is playing a significant role in helping men discover a range of companies offering personal care products and choose those that they find most relatable,” Karan says. This growing awareness has contributed to the rise of the men’s grooming industry.
He adds, “With the introduction of the ‘Made in India’ concept, more home-grown labels are expected to arise with effective, natural, easy to carry, and hygienic products focused on men.”
Karan suggests that it is important for both men and women to change their skincare routine with the season.
Your summer skincare routine might not be rich enough for winter’s harshness and may lead to dryness and dehydration. On the other hand, rich winter oils might wreak havoc in summer when your skin is already overproducing oil.
A basic skincare routine includes cleansing, toning, and moisturising, on a daily basis. Karan suggests men opt for natural homemade face masks, scrubs, organic powders, and natural oils.
“Charcoal has shown exceptional results on rough male skin and can make for an ideal remedy for a range of skin-related issues,” he adds.
While other Indian brands such as Beardo, The Man Company, and Ustraa also cater to male grooming needs, Qraa Men is trying to create a niche position by providing herbal, cruelty-free products for specific personal needs.
“Since we manufacture the products in-house, it helps us identify customer demands and market trends and act on them speedily. We get our products much quicker to our customers than our competitors,” Karan adds.
His own top picks from Qraa Men are charcoal face wash, D-Tan kit, Keratin-infused hair serum, 10-in-1 moisturiser, mooch and beard oil, and the Haldi Chandan face wash.
Qraa Men is now planning to introduce products such as keratin-infused oils and gold oils, among others. The brand also plans to launch a herbal and chemical-free intimate care range for men.
“We are actively trying to raise funds externally for some interesting product lines. We have also started reaching more third-party distributors and we aim to receive orders from all across the country by this year-end,” Karan says.
Even with more men becoming conscious of their looks and wanting to take care of their skin, Karan believes there are miles to go when it comes to breaking stereotypes and educating Qraa Men’s target audience on what is right for their skin and hair.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta