The Man Company aims to touch Rs 225 crore revenue in the coming fiscal; earmarks 35% of its revenue for marketing and advertising
The Man Company forays into the wellness category with MinStrips
Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company says that the segment has evolved and it is no more just beard or face that me...

The Man Company aims to touch Rs 225 crore revenue in the coming fiscal; earmarks 35% of its revenue for marketing and advertising

Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company says that the segment has evolved and it is no more just beard or face that me...
  • If the pandemic has brought one certain change in the consumer mindsets, it is the move towards personal hygiene and wellness.
  • On the back of e-commerce and growing awareness about wellness, the men’s grooming category has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years.
  • To further build this category, The Man Company has launched MinStrips, rapid dissolving tongue vitamin strips.
  • Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company talks to us about the brand’s forays into the well-being category, brand strategy and growth vision for MinStrips, consumer insights and preferences that led to the innovation and larger vision.
Around a decade ago, the male grooming industry was almost non-existent in our country. India only had razors, shaving cream and after-shave lotions for men and those who did care about their skin underneath their beards or mustaches, would quietly use the products available for women. India’s men’s grooming market, thankfully, has come a long way in the last few years, moving beyond shaving and deodorant products. This space has also attracted large FMCG brands such as Reckitt, which invested about Rs 45 crore in the Bombay Shaving Company. Meanwhile, Marico acquired Beardo and Emami increased its stake in The Man Company last year.

These marketers have been redefining masculinity, self-expression and grooming through their campaigns. Hitesh Dhingra, Founder, The Man Company says that the segment has evolved and it is no more just beard or face that men care about, they are today giving equal importance to holistic grooming and wellness.

With a push from e-commerce, the grooming industry has already expanded its reach beyond urban markets, witnessing an uptick from Tier II and III cities. According to Research and Markets, India's male grooming industry is poised to reach $1.2 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of about 11% and globally, as per a Statista report, the grooming market is projected to reach around USD 81.2 billion by 2024.

Now, to further build this category, The Man Company is entering a new segment: nutraceuticals. It has forayed into the well-being category with the launch of MinStrips, rapid dissolving tongue vitamin strips. Dhingra speaks to Advertising and Media Insider about the company’s foray into well-being, category trends we can expect this year, key focus areas and revenue goals for the coming fiscal.

Q. What was the thought and idea behind foraying into the well-being category?
We started our journey as an essentially grooming brand to help men on their continuous evolution. We have strived to build trust among our customers all these years by formulating purest and finest quality products for their overall grooming under skin, hair, and body care. Considering the need of the hour and being one of the leading brands for men’s grooming products, we wanted to move the needle following a 360-degree approach to enable a better lifestyle for men. The idea is to take a holistic approach from external to internal grooming. Therefore, we forayed into the wellness category and launched our sub-brand ‘MINS’.

As a brand, we have been synonymous with innovations. It is in our DNA. So, this time, we wanted to launch products that are on the go, effective, easy yet safe, something with which Gen Z could quickly resonate. After 2.5 years of thorough R&D, we added MINS to our product portfolio. MinStrips are orally dissolving strips that help people tackle all the lifestyle hurdles. Needless to say, most millennials and Gen Z have a fast-paced and hectic lifecycle. This automatically raises concerns about sleep, stress and anxiety due to work pressure, better hair and skin (which is already our forte), performance and sexual wellness. We are addressing all these issues with our latest innovation, MINS.

Q. MinStrips is quite an interesting product. What inspired you to launch it?
The nutraceutical industry in India is witnessing a CAGR of 21% this year. There are substantial untapped market opportunities out there. We can also see an aversion amongst millennials and Gen Z from consuming capsules, powders, gummies and tablets.

The reason is that there is still a taboo attached to nutraceuticals being challenging to consume or travel with as they are somewhat dependent on factors like water intake. In contrast, MinStrips are self-dissolvable oral strips. Users simply need to keep it on their tongue, and the process is done, they can have their daily dose of Vitamin with utmost convenience. Additionally, MinStrips come with sleek packaging in a travel-friendly format. The entire concept of effective and easy-to-use makes it an exciting product, especially for our young consumer base.

Furthermore, as per our research, strips have 80% active ingredients compared to gummies (30%), capsules (20%) and tablets (10%). This also makes MinStrips a highly accurate, elevated absorption and quick action product compared to other formats.

Q. Also, these are rapid dissolving tongue vitamin strips, what was the product insight there? You chose not to go with regular vitamin supplements, so what led to this innovation?
We didn't start making MinStrips just now. We have been doing our research since the pandemic was in its initial stage. During our research, we identified some key problems like modern consumers didn't want to take daily capsules, tablets, or powder content. They also want more affordable, hassle-free and convenient Vitamin supplements. So, we decided to launch MINS, a unique Vitamin supplement format accompanied by added benefits.

MinStrips are made with 100% natural ingredients. They are vegan and free from any chemicals, sugar and side effects. One of the USPs of the product is that these are non-habit forming which makes them safe and easy to consume. We have also gained lab certificates from leading laboratories like GMP Laboratories, HACCP, ISO Certification, and FDA to attest to our claim.

Q. How would you spread the word? What is your marketing and distribution strategy?
We have garnered a huge and loyal community in the last six years of The Man Company's journey. Today, we have 0.8M followers across Social Media and a consumer base of 2M. This community comprises progressive and like-minded gentlemen. As our initial marketing and distribution strategy, we will leverage our existing consumers to spread the word through various media and also by sampling.

We will also collaborate with influencers and content creators to spread word of mouth through their individual experiences. Furthermore, in terms of distribution, apart from our robust e-commerce platform and marketplaces, we also have around 2000 offline touchpoints through Modern Trade and Exclusive Brand Outlets. MINS will be ready to avail on all of these platforms.

Q. What is your marketing budget earmarked for this year?
35% of our revenue is to be invested in marketing.

Q. How has the company and brands’ communication evolved over the duration of the pandemic?
During the pandemic, ‘immunity’ became the buzzword and the need of the hour, which made the wellness industry boom. Therefore, we feel this is the right time to enter the market and create a dent. For The Man Company, these last years have turned out to be propitious. We engaged with our customers to practise self-love, which made ‘The Man Company’ a household name among men embarking on their grooming journey. Since salons and parlours were shut down, we introduced DIY products for face, hair, beard and foot care that were easy to follow while working from home.

Q. What does your media strategy look like? Which medium gets your lion's share?
By DNA, we are a digital-first company. We function in full swing on the back of Social Media marketing and content creators. Content creators lead social media, and we believe influencers can be our ambassadors. Moreover, since we are a lifestyle brand, we are very focused on UGCs. We are currently on the lookout for going regional and trying to speak in the way and language that our consumers speak across the country. We believe that we should not merely translate the communication but trans-create it. Simultaneously, we are also gearing up to foray to other novel platforms and formats shortly.

Q. As you build the men's wellness industry in India, what are some of the trends that you are expecting to see? How has consumer behaviour changed after the pandemic in this category?
The pandemic inadvertently forced people to become more aware of their immunity strength and hygiene factors. Given that, consumers, in our case men, started to talk about personal care, hygiene and grooming became an escalating point for the tremendous growth of the wellness industry. During the pandemic hours, since everyone was working from home and salons were closed indefinitely, home-care and DIYs became the need of the hour. To assist our customers, we also came up with easy-to-use products that do not need experts, but consumers can use them in the comfort and safety of their homes. In the post-pandemic era, we believe consumers will continue to pay special attention to their personal care and grooming regime. The trend to use chemical and cruelty-free products will continue to gain strength, and consumers will incline towards affordable and effective product lines.

Q. What are some of the challenges in this category?
The biggest challenge is that consuming nutraceuticals is still considered taboo. More acceptance through education and workshops is required. Most importantly, wellness products should be safe to consume, which is why we have gotten MinStrips certified by several leading laboratories. Considering consumers today are busy with their fast-moving routines, we wanted to make MinStrips-brought wellness a part of the daily schedule. It wasn't easy to come up with an unprecedented idea. Still, we wanted to bring a hassle-free and affordable Vitamin and wellness booster with an 'On the Go' convenience for our customers. And, we are glad to say that we succeeded in our endeavour.

Q. The notion of toxic masculinity has forced men to ignore themselves. It judges men who take care of their health and skin. Do you think that notion is changing in India? Are men more open to this change?
Be it through our products or campaigns, The Man Company believes in bringing out the 'Gentleman In You'. Since inception, we have witnessed a gradual change in the way men perceive themselves. Social media, movies, web series have spoken about this change for quite some time now. We also feel that India has been exponentially evolving in terms of mindset.

Grooming has become an aspiration. It's no more just beard or face that men care about, but modern gentlemen are focusing on holistic grooming and wellness. We have garnered considerable traction from tier-II and tier-III cities, proving that men's grooming is witnessing a notable uptick.

The Man Company has worked as a catalyst to bring in this change through various campaigns like #GentlemanTumhiTohho, #ScentOfAGentleman and Gentleman Kise Kehte hai. We'll continue to assist the journey of 21st-century gentlemen.

Q. Which are your strongest markets? Are you looking at expanding your business further this year?
We cater to all gentlemen irrespective of education, sexuality, religion, job profile, or age, but prominently, we struck chords with millennials and Gen Z clientele. Our target group is every gentleman who is real, modern, authentic, progressive and self-aware.

During our growth journey, we realised that tier-II and tier-III cities have issues related to affordability and awareness related to men's grooming and personal care. So, we decided to start our e-business operations in these cities. Considering that we are launching a sub-brand (MINS) and a new product (MinStrips) in the new year, we are sure this year will end on a high note.

Q. What are some of your focus areas for this year?
From a brand perspective, we are focusing on thought-provoking leadership. We want to create a strong brand presence across the country and make The Man Company a household name even in the most remote locations.

For the coming months, we are gearing up to collaborate with platforms like Cred, Trell, etc. to fortify our sales. We are also working on IPs, such as the Hall of Gentlemen, to celebrate gentlemen bringing selfless change to society.

Apart from this, several other exciting IPs are in the pipeline that resonate with our core communication to bring out the #GentlemanInYou. We don't want to be a brand that does tokenism. Our goal is to become a catalyst in changing the mindset of men everywhere.

Q. You are all set to double your sales to Rs 100 crores by the end of this fiscal. How are you planning on sustaining this growth this year? What are your revenue goals for FY23?

We will be pushing content like never before and expanding our offline presence aggressively. In terms of MT and EBO presence, we'll ensure maximum outreach. We are also launching various interesting categories, starting with MINS and expanding existing categories with exciting and innovative products. In addition, recently, we have also launched our loyalty program called The Man Club for our community.

The Man Company is expecting to touch Rs 225 crore revenue in the coming fiscal.