Any commercial haircare and skincare product—even if it caters to a particular type of hair or skin—will always satisfy only a handful of users. This was one of the key takeaways for Rohit Chawla when he quit The Man Company, a men’s grooming product brand, in 2018. Along with Sifat Khurana and Vimal Bhola, he set up Bare Anatomy in 2019. “We realized it’s not about making one or two ingredients the hero and marketing them. With Bare Anatomy, we decided to be more scientific in our approach and cater to each customer’s needs,” he says.
Bare Anatomy has built an algorithm that requires customers to answer a questionnaire about their skin and hair types, stress levels, and lifestyles to provide customized hair and skincare products. The company launched its haircare line in 2019, and skincare line in mid-2020. “R&D is at the core of the brand. Each product is formulated individually, depending on the data collected from the questionnaire,” claims Bhola. Unlike a lot of brands that outsource their manufacturing, Bare Anatomy does it in-house at its Gurugram facility.
The startup has raised $1 million from Sauce, the family office of the Patni Group, and other investors. “Since February 2020, we have grown 3.5x in terms of revenue,” says Chawla, despite the lockdowns disrupting the supply chain and manufacturing. Before the pandemic, Bare Anatomy was one of the few startups with an online-only advantage, but now “it’s becoming a lot more competitive since everyone is competing in the same online space”. With a customized product range, scaling up is likely to be a concern. “We have debated if we should launch a mass-market product, but it is against the brand’s ethos,” Khurana adds. The startup is likely to touch ₹1 crore in revenue by the end of January and has recently launched subscription plans.
The personal care market in India is set to touch $20 billion by 2035, driven by increasing disposable incomes and growing aspirations, according to ASSOCHAM. “In the last few years, the Indian market, similar to other parts of the globe, has been seeing unprecedented growth in customer consciousness towards what they are applying on their skin and hair, and how healthy and sustainable it is,” says Abhishek Goenka, head and CIO, RPSG Ventures, a venture capital (VC) fund. Environmentally sustainable personal care brands, in particular, are growing in popularity, as are ‘made in India’ brands. These startups have found a sweet spot in terms of pricing, as they are slightly more expensive than commercial brands but significantly cheaper than luxury Indian brands such as Kama Ayurveda and Forest Essentials.
Delhi-based Arata was launched with a similar approach, with the idea being hatched by two 29-year-olds, Dhruv Madhok and Dhruv Bhasin, in January 2016. “He was wearing a lot of hair gel, and I asked him if he was worried about greying and hair fall,” Madhok recalls. Bhasin had said he used a homemade organic flaxseed gel, not a commercial one. That is when they realized a lot of men might want safe, natural, and effective hair gels, which were clearly missing in the market.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
‘The Middle Class Buys Dreams. The Businessman Sells Unrealistic Ones'
Anand Kumar starts the interview by setting the context. “Let’s get the math right,” says the mathematician.
The Home School of Thought
Concerns over a monotonous, formal education system coupled with edtech’s innovative approaches bolster the homeschooling proposition. But is India ready for it?
The Big Small Question
As Byju’s and Unacademy grow at breakneck speed, what will it take for smaller edtech players to survive?
Beating Bharat's Edtech Blues
On the other side of the billion-dollar edtech boom are children who have been unable to access the most basic forms of online education, and people who have been trying to bridge the digital divide
Handa's New Funda: From Academy to Unacademy
How IITian Ravi Handa scaled up his seven-year-old online venture for MBA preparation, and eventually sold it to an edtech major
Six (and more) Degrees of Fakery
How inaction against the rash of fake universities across the country may be incentivising the mushrooming of more such institutions
Meet The Headmasters
Sequoia Capital has bet big on edtech, with over a dozen investments, including in industry giants Byju’s and Unacademy
A Billion-Dollar Dream For Freshworks
Girish Mathrubootham is taking a cue from the rapid growth of Silicon Valley software startups to reach scale and velocity
Changing How Small-Town India Shops
CityMall founders Angad Kikla and Naisheel Verdhan are building a network of micro-entrepreneurs through their app in smaller cities
Liberal Arts: A Road Less Travelled
Colleges offering these courses in India have begun to gain ground, but for them to truly shine on the global map, they must be cognisant of the country’s culture and challenges