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“India’s Personal Hygiene Products Market Is Valued At US $3 Bn” Sarthak Taneja, Co Founder At Skin Elements And Raghav Sood, Co Founder At Skin Elements

Skin Elements always went against the current, while other D2C brands focused on ingredients as the USP, SE focused on creating new categories of functional products and improving underrated existing categories.

1. Brief us about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work (step by step procedure)?

Skin Elements is a DTC startup offering sexual wellness and intimate hygiene products for men and women. Founded in 2017, it was the first of its kind to challenge the personal wellness industry by creating a need for products for personal hygiene, odor management, female hygiene, skincare and sexual intimacy. Skin Elements, headquartered in Parwanoo (Himachal Pradesh), has third-party tie-up with two major manufacturing units in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand producing ‘gentle’ and ‘natural’ quality products. The products are then sold on all the major e-commerce platforms including, Amazon, Nykaa Man, Purplle, Myntra and Flipkart, apart from the brand website.

2. What are the unique key points of your company?

Skin Elements is a category creator & market leader of men’s intimate wash and anti-chaffing cream. Before 2017, the category did not exist on any major e-commerce platforms, nor was there any awareness among the target customers. It was also challenging to enter into an unchartered territory with no competition and launching a functional product range that could have more visibility here than in a crowded market. However, Skin Elements prompted conversations around men’s intimate hygiene and why it was as important as that of a woman. Skin Elements also led the way for other brands to introduce more such products, now that there was a huge untapped market to explore. In 2020 all major e-commerce platforms introduced “Men Intimate Hygiene” as a category which is a big win for Skin Elements.

3. How are you different from the existing competitors?

Skin Elements always went against the current, while other D2C brands focused on ingredients as the USP, SE focused on creating new categories of functional products and improving underrated existing categories. We have always thought through and planned. We are planning to launch an exclusive range of physical intimacy products that will be different, unparalleled, and unique. It’s our research & development as well as a zeal to breakthrough taboos that have kept us apart from the rest.

4.What is the funding status and monetization model?

Skin Elements was started with an initial investment of Rs. 10 lakhs. The brand secured a $102K seed round led by Dheeraj Jain, Redcliffe Capital in 2018.

5. What challenges are you facing in running your business?

Few of the major challenges was to identify the exact market, check for the level of awareness, and find a suitable form of advertising the product. Not many men were comfortable in purchasing these products at the beginning, partially because of the stigma attached and the other reason being, lack of information.

To achieve high level of transparency, we had to invest heavily in the paid advertisements since finding influencers in this segment wasn’t easy. They wanted to be associated with brands that had high engagement and seldom focused on initiating conversations.

6. How has been the people`s response so far?

We have received love from all means of marketing and selling points. Our products are loved and re-purchased over and over on platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa Man, and Myntra. Our overall customer rating is 4.75.

7. What are the traction details (like users, app downloads & other achievements of the company)?

We have a really good repeat purchase percentage of 40%, we were able to breakthrough into daily bathing routine of men and make intimate wash for men a part of their hygiene routine. This has helped us gain steady growth in sales as the market matures.

8. How do you look at expansion?

Moving forward, we are planning to expand our product portfolio and introduce 10 more varieties under the sexual intimacy and intimate hygiene category.

9. What are your marketing plans?

Since intimate hygiene is still a “taboo” in India, we are targeting a 2 way approach, First we are running witty paid advertisements across the social media, since there are a lot of restrictions on how sexual or intimate a ad can be on social media we have to tread that path very cautiously but we have over a period of time developed a great marketing team in house to tackle this problem, second is “information”, We are collaborating with influencers and bloggers to break the stereotype around the intimate hygiene with help of informative videos and blogs.

10. What has been the biggest learning’s so far?

To think of creating a unique identity in the market in one thing, to get done is another. When we first thought of this idea, it seemed fun and exciting. But, over the years we found out how difficult it was to make men realize they needed something as intimate as women do.

11. What is the market size and opportunity?

India’s personal hygiene products market is valued at US $3 Bn and is expected to reach US $5 Bn by 2025, expanding due to introduction of exclusive products male intimate hygiene.

Source: Business World

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