Priyank Shah, Co-founder
Start Small to Go Big is one magic mantra that every other new age entrepreneur believes for reaping success. There's no magic pill that effortlessly launches one out of their cubicle confinement and into the free world of entrepreneurship. For some, the dream to be their own boss grows for a long time, even years, before it finally comes to fruition. Even the tiniest ideas when executed to perfection, can reward one with great success.
One such small yet powerful idea turned into a successful brand, a brand that completely transformed the Men’s Grooming market. The brand idea Beardo, the brainchild of Priyank Shah & Ashutosh Valani was born out of the lack of options available for the discerning urban male and the need to address the gap that existed when it came to men’s grooming products. “Back in 2012, we used to import low-cost products from various countries as a part of our previous venture, aajkiitem.com. We were the biggest vendors for some of the major eCommerce websites in the country such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Shopclues. By 2015, we were selling more than 500 SKUs every day across 12 categories and became one of the most reliable vendors in terms of low-cost products for eCommerce merchants as well. Among these categories were personal care and grooming for women, which were very popular categories in India. By then, analyzing market trends had become a habit, and it was one such time while we were importing products from China when we realized that the Indian men’s grooming sector had a growing demand, but no dedicated brand to cater to it. The trend of growing a beard and moustache was already in, but there were no brands to help men with the grooming and maintenance,” explicates Priyank.
Once the growing concernwas recognized, there was no second thought. “There was certainly a stigma in the market at the time about men’s grooming products. Not even the biggest brands were focusing on products that were specifically curated for men. We realized that the gap needed bridging and if no other brand was willing to do that, we would execute it. That is how we started with the introduction of beard oil and a beard wash as our first two products,” says Ashutosh.
It has been around three years now since Beardo started off with the goal of addressing the needs and demands of the men’s grooming industry in India. While men did not have many choices to experiment with their grooming back then, now they do. There are more companies that have ventured in this space, however, the challenges still persist. “While we have been able to create a lot of awareness related to grooming among men, we still have a long way to go,” he adds. Team Beardo’s in-depth market research and their willingness to educate their customers and then sell products to them, is all that makes the difference!
A Wide range of Products
Beardo started with offering beard range products that cater to beard growth and grooming needs of customers. Eventually, they zeroed in, on creating several other men’s grooming ranges curated to address specific grooming needs of men. Since then, it has expanded its range of beard oils to include oils that cater to specific concerns and skin types as well as fragrance oils. Beardo’s beard-care range consisting of products includes various beard washes, beard waxes and balms. It also offers a hair care range consisting of shampoos, hair growth oils and hair waxes. “We have introduced exclusive styling tools to complement our products. Apart from this, we have diversified into skin care and body care recently as well with 15 more products such as the Dirty Charcoal range which consists of Charocal Face Wash, Scrub, Body Wash & Peel-off Mask, Vitamin C Face Serum, Ultraglow men’s lotion and Choco Mint lip balm. We have five other products including our styling tools and the Swag Mug, the design of which has been patented by us. We are constantly working on introducing even more products to address any and every grooming need that our customers might have” he further adds.
Known to use the choicest ingredients and quality-controlled manufacturing processes, all of Beardo’s products ensure that his face mane is pampered, soft, shiny, and smells impeccable. One of its products, the Beardo Vitamin C Serum was first of its kind curated for men in India which were followed by products like the Lip Balm and Charcoal Peel off
"Beardo started off with a 10-lac investment and have now become a brand that is valued at 200-crores. Seeing a growth so magnificent and realizing that no brand in the past two decades has been able to achieve this feat, was one of our major recent milestones."
Team Beardo is passionate, driven and the right bit of crazy, which lets them stay focused and succeed in the startup ecosystem. The company designs specific campaigns for offline and online branding. With online campaigns such as #SuchABeardo, #WhyFEARDOTheresBEARDO, it has been able to connect to different kinds of men in the country, which no other brand has. “Such bold decisions have always earned us a lot of appreciation and our SuchABeardo campaign has won several awards in the digital marketing space. We have always been clear about curating marketing campaigns that communicate our beliefs and thoughts to our customers and these two Beard anthems reflected just that, earning us a lot of online traction,” informs Priyank.
Other than this, the company does its best in organizing events such as Beardothon and Beard & Moustache competitions across the country. Such events help Beardo to interact with the customers directly and raise awareness on a greater scale. “We have a separate professional range that we distribute across our partner salons in various cities across the country. We also have a dedicated product launch process where we ensure complete training of the salon experts who are going to use or sell our products,” he adds.
Beardo as a Start-up
Beardo is a small yet dynamic team of 20-25 people working at the head office and around 60 + team members working on sales across the country. “While we follow the necessary corporate policies, all of us at Beardo are so like-minded that we behave like a family,” he says.
Beardo cultures and values are ingrained in its people mainly because of how simple and relatable they are. In a way, the core values and beliefs have shaped team Beardo to be unstoppable and extremely passionate about what they do. “The passion with which the team takes up every challenge is incredible. We have a “Never say No to Challenges” policy driving us to fearlessly take up and new learn things,”states Priyank.
The company staunchly believes in the philosophy of Work Hard and Party Harder. The entire team takes a trip together every six months which serves as an event of celebration and relaxation. “This year we are even planning an international trip for the entire team, considering our recent growth tangent,” Priyank adds.
The Future is yet in Power
The journey of Beardo so far has been surreal and exciting. Over the course of its journey, Beardo has had several investors, mentors and believers who have acted as the catalysts in making it a popular brand today. “We understand the responsibility Beardo holds as the pioneer of a new category which is why we plan to keep learning and growing. Bigger the brand gets, more cautious and deliberate we would get with our products, communication strategies and quality offered,” Ashutosh states. One such strategy was introducing Shahid Kapoor, a popular actor especially among the youth, as the current face of Beardo.
In the initial stages, Suneil Shetty, the veteran Bollywood actor came on board as the face of Beardo helping the company make a strong impression on its target audience.
He further says, “We believe that his conviction in the brand was one of our first major feats, followed by our initial funding by Venture Catalysts. It gave us the wings we needed, to launch ourselves with full throttle into the industry. There was no looking back after that, with Marico, one of the largest FMCG companies in India, coming on board as investors in only a few months after the initial funding.”
In this unstoppable trajectory of growth that the brand is currently experiencing, team Beardo is geared up to take new opportunities, products and markets. The company is proactively working on introducing new and interesting formulations and products for its customers. Till date, it has been very successful in tapping into the Western and Northern regions of India. While the brand is working on increasing the brand visibility in Eastern and
Besides that, Beardo is also working on taking its standards a notch higher to enable itself to cater to international markets.“We already have a UAE website, which caters to our customers in GCC countries. With the increasing demand in the US, we are also working on launching our website for the US, very soon,” he concludes with enthusiasm.
Ashutosh Valani, Co-founder
Being a hustler as he describes himself, Ashutosh Valani firmly believes that constantly working on what you want to achieve is the only way to go about it. A Masters of International Business graduate from Brunel University, London, Ashutosh put his expertise to use first with his venture aajkiitem.com, which went on to become one of the biggest vendors for major e-Commerce websites like Shopclues.com, Snapdeal.com, amongst others. Ashutosh currently manages the online operations and branding for Beardo and under his mentorship and vision, Beardo has won the Best Men’s Grooming Brand award by Flipkart two years in a row. Even with a plethora of achievements behind him, Ashutosh still believes,‘It is better to rule the hell than serve the heaven’.
Ashutosh has always considered branding as a strength, and takes care of the online business as well as Marketing & Branding strategies for Beardo. His innovative ideas when it comes to expanding the digital presence of Beardo has helped the business in becoming one of the biggest Men’s Grooming brand online of India, in the Non-shaving category.
Priyank Shah, Co-founder
For a strong brand such as Beardo to grow and be sustainable, there is always a need for this one headstrong leader who stops at nothing and believes that there is no limit to what can be achieved. A businessman by blood and brains, Priyank is that person for the brand. With financial independence ingrained through his life experiences, Priyank always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Currently, Priyank handles the offline operations for Beardo, wherein the brand has partnered with more than 10,000 premium salons and outlets across the country. Priyank considers the team of Beardo as the greatest asset that the brand possesses and wants to make it the best environment to work in.
Message from Team Beardo
To readers, we would like to say that it is the right time to be brave and experiment with your looks and persona. It is simple really; if you want her to notice you just the way you notice her, you have to put that extra bit of effort.
To business partners and investors, we would say Bravo! It is a brave new age where customers rely on their choices and preferences, and Beardo being the men’s grooming experts would always be the customers’ first choice. We are going to make sure of that.
CSR Focus and Approach
Beardo has always been a firm believer in education and raising awareness, before selling. Being the leading men’s grooming brand, we feel responsible for raising awareness about important issues that our customers might be the face or might face in the future. We organize Beardathon in multiple cities across the country every year to raise awareness about men’s health and wellness. This year marked the second edition of Beardathon which took place in 6 cities and witnessed more than 10,000 participants across the country, running for raising awareness about men’s health. We would definitely be looking at new initiatives that would address and raise awareness about such issues, through our constant efforts.
Message from the Co-Founder
“We have always focused on putting both of our strengths to use in building this brand. In that sense, we are both very different from each other in terms of business acumen but we end up acting complementarily. This is because we have been clear about what we wanted to achieve from this brand since Day 1. We knew that profitability had to be a major goal and that we could not cut ourselves any slack for being just a startup. We might be playing multiple different roles in the company yet our decisions are collaborative,” says Ashutosh.