Weâ€™ve grown 75% in FY2023: Bombay Shaving Company Co-Founder Deepak Gupta
In the bustling landscape of the men’s grooming industry, where countless brands vie for attention, one name has emerged as a trailblazer – Bombay Shaving Company. With its diverse product portfolio and a relentless commitment to innovation, this brand has redefined the grooming experience for men across India.
In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Deepak Gupta, Co-Founder, Bombay Shaving Company, delves into the insights, strategies, and accomplishments that have propelled the brand to new heights, the men’s grooming market in India, and more.
What differentiates Bombay Shaving Company from other grooming brands in the market?
At Bombay Shaving Company, we’re reimagining hair removal and grooming for a new generation of Indians. From innovation and micro innovation in products, differentiated marketing strategies to being a first mover in business channel choices, we pride ourselves in bringing a refreshing, relevant and consumer first approach to the category in every possible way. To do so, we’re constantly trying to leverage data, talent and category insights in the most judicious and contemporary way. Now, with a healthy presence across both men’s and women’s hair removal (with the brand Bombae), we’ve become serious contenders as the first brand of choice for young men and women in India.
What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced while establishing and growing Bombay Shaving Company, and how did you overcome them?
We operate in a category dominated by behemoths who have existed in the market for eons and, therefore, enjoy a certain degree of default trust across the value chain and consumers. Sometimes they become the natural choice for newbies in the category too. Our challenge, which has also emerged as an opportunity for us, has been in finding ways to make hair removal and grooming far more meaningful and involved for them. Product and content have been two key drivers to achieve this. We enrich our products with superfoods, introduce new formats like the ‘Hair Removal Spray for Men’, and create more value through products like the aesthetically designed, but very pocket friendly full body groomer – Landscaper.
We find newer ways to involve young consumers through engaging and informative properties like ‘The BarberShop with Shantanu’, ‘always on’ informative grooming content. We also enable them in their most cherished moments with customised gifting.
All of these have helped us to make healthy strides forward in the category – we have grown 75% and our profits have increased by 20% in FY 23, also our team has expanded and our channels have gone up significantly. We have seen growth of 10% in retail book and we have closed the year with Rs 190 crore in net revenue with a run rate of almost Rs 260 crore in net revenue.
In a competitive market, how do you stay innovative and continue to introduce new products that meet the changing needs of your customers?
The evolution of cultural preferences and aspirations of the digitally savvy, self-conscious Indian consumer has driven us to stay innovative – constantly keeping up with the latest trends and technologies in grooming. While we conduct an extensive research to understand the changing needs of our customers and introduce new products that cater to those needs, a quick look at queries across search engines is proof enough. The more we look at data, the more we’re convinced that there’s a totally new Indian man out there, involved and committed to raising their personal hygiene and grooming game. With the recent launch announcement of Hair Removal Spray, we are committed towards creating better hair removal experiences through consumer-focussed innovations. By prioritising innovation, we ensure that our products remain at the forefront of the industry, providing our customers with the best solutions for their grooming needs.
Could you share some examples of strategic partnerships or collaborations that Bombay Shaving Company has undertaken to enhance its brand presence or expand its product offering?
Strategic collaborations across channel sales, supply chain, product development, tech stack, and marketing have always been a delta driver for us. For example, our B2B business is also a great sampling and brand building channel for us.
Recently, Bombay Shaving Company partnered with IPL team Rajasthan Royals and launched a co-branded range of shaving and grooming products. The products are designed with a royal essence of Rajasthan, including customisable razors, engraved trimmers, and a specially formulated face wash. The collection also features a line of fragrances named ‘Jodhpur’. As a brand, we aim to provide a royal grooming experience and engage with young cricket-loving Indians. By associating with the popular Indian Premier League (IPL), we try to leverage the platform to increase brand awareness, drive conversations, and build emotional connections with their target audience.
What role does technology play in the operations and growth of Bombay Shaving Company, and how do you leverage it to improve the customer experience?
Being a digital first company, technology is quite core to our operations. We have state of the art warehouse facilities and adopt best in class supply chain infrastructure – by either developing capabilities within the organization, or partner collaborations. We have consistently augmented and strengthened our tech stack and team to help us make more customer-centric, data driven decisions across various functions – from product marketing to HR. We have always tried to integrate this digital DNA in our consumer experience. For instance, we were one of the first to introduce customised gifting in the industry, which integrates the entire value chain – from website interface to last mile delivery. We have a dedicated, always on, customer delight team to help customers navigate their journey with the brand and our products. You will find this digital first mindset across the BSC ecosystem and value chain. But there is always room to become better in this space.
How do you envision the future of the grooming industry, and what role do you see Bombay Shaving Company playing in that future?
The grooming industry is poised to grow at a CAGR of 8-10% for the next few years. I think a few trends will become more and more apparent. Consumers will become far more discerning and value conscious, and yet demand products that surprise them with form, feel and function. We will see grooming awareness rise and spread significantly beyond the metros making an omnichannel play critical. All in all companies with the DNA to be flexible and pivot at scale to respond to consumer trends will thrive.
Could you share some insights into the company’s product development process and how you ensure the quality and effectiveness of your grooming products?
As a D2C brand, we leverage data judiciously to understand customer needs and preferences. We’re constantly listening to the voice of the consumer. Based on learnings, we move swiftly in tight teams to action consumer insights. We have an in-house lab to prototype products and formulations. We then move to consumer testing and depending on resonance scores proceed with product development at scale.