Made for men: This social commerce app takes care of men’s fashion and grooming needs

Launched by Mumbai-based Kapil Batus, d’hybrid addresses men’s fashion and grooming needs through specially curated content as per personal preference.
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Women today have a plethora of apps and websites at their disposal to choose from when in need of sartorial and other advice. However, the same can’t be said for men. This is where d’hybrid app steps in to bridge the gap.

Founded by Mumbai-based Kapil Batus in May 2021, this digital venture is a new-age, content-led fashion-tech platform aimed at urban audiences in India.

“Presently the landscape for fashion and grooming in the men’s segment is highly under-serviced. Information and consumer awareness are very fragmented. Social platforms and ecommerce players mainly drive this sector, which results in unorganised segmentation and pushed marketing. That has led to a void for genuine content. This is why I launched my new digital venture,” explains Kapil in a chat with YSWeekender.

d'hybrid app

The background

Kapil Batus has been involved with the world of publishing and content creation since the early 2000s. He was the creative and fashion director for Rolling Stone and Man’s World magazines in India and worked with several global menswear brands. He created content and advertorials for the likes of Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci and Calvin Klein, to name a few, and was also the art director for Emirates Airlines magazine.

In 2016, he opened a niche creative studio to help fashion houses create commercial campaigns. Some of his clients included Indian fashion retailers like FILA, Selected Homme, Park Avenue, Parx, and Pepe Jeans India. The 20 years of experience he garnered while attending fashion events around the world, and engaging with creative individuals in Milan, London, Paris, and New York City, gave him an in-depth understanding of the menswear market.

“In the last few years, there has been a rapid shift in the digital ecosystem leading towards content-led social-commerce. With this change, I knew there was a rising demand for an exclusive platform that could help urban and aspirational consumers in India discover brands under one channel. I wanted to build a unique consumer-centric short-format platform designed to integrate with the future of social commerce – a credible product that simplifies the discovery of fashion and grooming tips in an organised manner,” he explains.

Since the concept was brand new and based on community insights, the product went through an elaborate beta testing phase before launching in May this year. Its name – d'hybrid – represents the hybrid world of new-age consumers.

Kapil points out there is a vast difference in the way fashion is consumed by millennials and Gen-Z, but this gap is reduced through apps. d’hybrid offers content in a neutral tone to appeal to all segments and age groups.

“The visual representation works well for consumers of a new age mindset as well as those who consume content with an aspirational outlook,” he shares.

d'hybrid app

The USP

Kapil shares that the app is designed specifically for people who consume content in the short format. He says that d’hybrid is an innovative and engaging platform that simplifies the discovery of brands and influences consumers’ fashion and grooming habits. The app is designed with minimal UI/UX, making it easy to use, contemporary and unique in its offer of an immersive personalised experience by providing curated feeds as per personal preferences.

“Our platform is built with AI technology that personalises feeds and creates segment-based community clusters. d’hybrid not only serves as a guide and inspiration for its users but also offers informative and engaging content, ranging from a style directory of essentials to more aspirational items. The app is customised based on a user-browse pattern where every person has a personalised feed and curated content suggestions,” he explains.

d’hybrid offers curated content that is updated every day. Each piece of content has a shelf life of a few days or weeks, after which it gets archived, keeping it exclusive and relevant to its audience.

The fashion and grooming content available on the app can be bookmarked for later reference or can be shared on various social media platforms through social sharing options. Further, the d’hybrid team is working to innovate and offer more value to its existing and new customers. For this, they are planning to add a host of features to the platform within the next quarter.

While d’hybrid does not make its own merchandise to sell, but it partners with other fashion brands for content as well as brand campaigns – one of which was called d’hybrid Playoffs. It had brands like Jack & Jones and Selected Homme participating as fashion partners, Svami as lifestyle partner and LetsShave as grooming partner for the duration of the campaign. An influencer seeding campaign in July saw a host of leading fashion and lifestyle influencers experience and promote the app as well.

Kapil describes the startup’s direct competitors for ecommerce as NykaaMan and Men’sXP to some extent for their content play, however, he feels d’hybrid offers something distinctive as a combination of the two.

The growth

According to Research and Markets, the Indian male grooming market stood at $643 million in 2018 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 11 percent to cross $1.2 billion by 2024.

The company is bootstrapped as of now, but is in the midst of a pre-seed raise. d’hybrid has amassed an active subscriber base of 5,000 users in the six months since its launch. Kapil shares that on average, 50 percent of users actively click at least once on the commerce links provided under each content card.

“This feature is one of our key value propositions for consumers to connect them directly to brands,” he says.

Though access to this free app is currently limited to India, Kapil says that once it has a strong presence in this market, the plan is to spread in key global markets as well.

When asked about the challenges faced in setting up, Kapil says, “d’hybrid, like every startup, is attempting to build a level of confidence within the B2B market and investor community. The product has been widely appreciated and accepted. It’s just a matter of time till the right partners begin to associate with us, enabling the product to take better shape and reach a wider audience.”

The next step for d’hybrid is to focus on its ecommerce options which will be supported by a host of features that are convenient and easy to use.

When asked why the service is aimed specifically at men, Kapil responds, “Men are opening up to the idea of using unconventional grooming products which they never did before. Therefore, we first want to popularise our content linked ecommerce and extend our efforts to learn the preferences of our community. d’hybrid’s ultimate objective is to offer experiential shopping to its consumers. If a physical store or a women’s vertical is something the customers will expect in the future, we will certainly respond to that too.”

Edited by Kanishk Singh