Grooming is usually associated with women. And why shouldn’t it be, when it comes to taking care of one’s skin, women have always been concerned about what they apply to their skin. They use thrice the number of products as compared to men. Mostly because men do not care about their skin as much as they should. And as for the men, the products and limited, and almost similar. Shaving is one of the most common and regular things a man does while shaving cream and soap being the two inevitable products they come in touch with every now and then. And they come with side effects like dryness, itching, rash, and sensitivity because of all the chemicals used in producing them.
Pink Woolf aims to fulfill men’s skin needs by providing them with quality essential skincare and grooming products. Based out of Greater Noida, their products are available PAN India. They aim to change the thought process of a man which persuades him into believing that their skin doesn’t need any special care. In fact, Men have larger pores and produce more sebum leading to an oily skin, blocked pores and acne. All of this might sound surprising because no one actually knows much about a male’s skin and neither do any such products exist that focus on solving the above-mentioned problems. However, Pink Woolf creates products which are high in moisturization and differentiated by skin type.
Launching something new in the market where there are brands with established goodwill, and consumers and not well aware is a challenging task. It becomes even more challenging when a product is based on traditional judgment. However, this did not hamper their idea and growth. They have been providing quality products leading them in the direction of success. Here is an exclusive interview Of Subodh Sharma, the man behind the idea of PINK WOOLF.
1. What is the source of inspiration behind the name of your venture, Pink Woolf?
Our brand name is a sort of oxymoron.
The Pink represents a rebel nature, a stereotype that men and pink color cannot be correlated. My daughter says that real men wear pink…and I trust her judgement.
Woolf represents the animal wolf whose packs exhibit a human behavior (or Joint Family) with the Alpha representing the grandfather and everyone else looking at him for direction.
We are an iconoclast in that sense and look to break myths in shaving and skincare for men.
2. Who all are your target audience/clients?
Ultimately, all males who shave from 16 to 65 & beyond. However, we are currently focusing on the age range of 25-40 years audience to use them as ambassadors and expand upstream & downstream
3. Your current operations are located in which regions and Where are you based?
Our head office is in Greater Noida, UP, however, our products are available pan India.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Problem – Men are largely ignorant of their skin needs despite specialist products being available in the market, and don’t engage in a good quality, smooth shave.
Solution -Pink Woolf creates an essential skincare and grooming products for men based on traditional wisdom, practical experience, and researched ingredients. Our products are formulated using essential oils, the finest ingredients, and an experiential approach.
5. Would you like to Share the idea or story behind the foundation of Pink Woolf?
Great Ideas always come out of banter.
It all started with a group of old Friends, some friendly banter and an alien world, “Phitkari” in 2011.
Who would have imagined a usual get together and an unusual word would end up in a venture that will aim at changing the way modern men think. Like everything else, it started with a casual, harmless inquiry.
That evening, one of my friends asked me about the aftershave I used to which I responded, without much thought, “Alum”.
As soon as I said it fingers frantically moved on their keypads, clicking noises filled up the room to quickly seek help from the internet, but like one of those unlikely encounters, the internet did not have much to say, just a few pictures that showed a man whom one would ideally encounter in an ‘akhada’ type setting with the slogan ‘fights razor burn!’
Most of them had never heard of it, much less tried an odd looking soap on their skinand unsure eyes turned towards me.
“It’s also called phitkari that barbers used when we were young.” said I.
After hearing ‘Phitkari’ everyone let out a hearty laugh.
“So you are telling us you’ve been using what even the barbers are over with?”
I told them that it might sound archaic and out of vogue but alum along with a wet traditional shaving method has helped me cure dry, broken, cut skin and even razor burns.
And that “dadajikezamaane” ki shaving is something that we all must go back to and embrace.
“I have been enduring rough skin and razor burns as a part of the deal!
And who knew there’s a “Shaving Method?” said one of them.
He continued saying, “But who’s going to provide us with the necessary equipment to try these methods? Unless we plan to go back in time.”
The room cracked up but, for me, an idea had just been born.
To bring back the traditionally tried and accepted shaving methods to today’s world and make changes in this aspect of lifestyle which we have accepted as a norm,mostly due to lack of options and guidance.
6. Do you face any rivalry and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Yes, we do have competition and that is a broad spectrum. However more important than the competition or rivalry, it is the thought that we are trying to affect.
For shaving, men usually complain:
a. Don’t have time, or
b. I don’t need to take care of myself as I am a man.
We differentiate ourselves by focusing on three aspects:
1. Superior quality products that are high in moisturisation and differentiated by skin type,
2. Superior customer connect & experience, and
3. Providing educational content that is compelling and helps change the thought process
7. How do you identify your co-founder? Would you like to tell us something about them?
My co-founder is my wife, Stuti Sharma. She is the creative, get things done, motivator, and doubt eraser all in one. Her skin glows all the time and almost never uses any cosmetics. She believes (and I can attest to the results) in creating natural solutions at home using Naanikenuskhe and simply drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. So for me it was a no-brainer to get her on board as a co-founder.
8. What is your idea of team formulation? What type of qualities do you search for in your team?
Our future team members should have
1. Unstinted belief in the idea, and
2. Blind passion but pragmatic implementation
9. What are your growth or expansion plans for the next 2 or 5 years?
In 2 to 5 years, we would like to be in:
1. International locations
2. A brick & mortar barber’s shop in India
3. Be present across men’s facial grooming products and skincare categories
10. Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
We would be the go-to brand in themen’s facial grooming products space, nationally and hopefully internationally. We also have some ideas about extending ourselves in other aspects of a gentleman’s well-being, these ideas are in the nascent stage, but we see ourselves achieving them in in the next 10 years.
We would also like to be in a space where we can make a difference to the under-privileged men through our charity work.
11. What are your short term goals?
Increase penetration of the Indian market via online medium and look at another geography.
12. Have you risen any funding yet? Are you looking for the same?
We are boot-strapped and we plan to grow slowly & steadily. However, we do welcome strategic investment that helps grow this niche.
13. Please share your incubation days struggle issues while setting up this venture, and how did you resolve them?
Our main issues revolved around:
1. Getting the desired product quality, especially for the shaving soap and cream. We met several suppliers and ultimately stuck to a few who believe in our idea and are willing to improve their quality for us,
2. Packaging was and continues to be a challenge. Compared to some of the packages I have used in the past, the quality is variable for our products. We had to work hard to standardize our products, so we are able to achieve a high quality packaging and also the MOQ’s.
14. What was or has been the most challenging part of your journey? How do you overcome the same?
Controlling the mind, learning when to worry and when not to.
We overcame these with celebrating every small victory.
15. What is your idea of stress management?
Eliminate all negative energy things, including news and be positive. Go for long, brisk walks or golf and get enough rest & sleep.
16. What do you do to escape the work life in your leisure time?
Long drives to the hills
17. Where would you like to escape to for a holiday?
Hills or Beach
18. Whom do you consider your idol/role model or biggest motivator and why?
I have been influenced by many people – both in personal and professional life and have learnt different things from many of them. All of these people have taught us something that I can draw upon as the situation demands. Even the examples are many hence difficult to list here.
19. What makes entrepreneurs different from service class professionals?
1. Risk ability – Entrepreneurs are more akin to taking risks
2. Creativity to find solutions
3. Perseverance to keep going
20. Which part of your life would you like to rewrite if given a chance to restart with your career today?
I have had several phases in my life where I had an idea but never took it to completion. I would like to rewrite that phase if given a chance.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
It has become interesting as we are meeting new people, finding new things or products that give us new ways & ideas all the time. The flexibility of working from home also allows me to spend more time with the family.
22. Is there anything, you’d like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Have patience, persistence, and eliminate every negative news, person, event from your life. Stay the course.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
Post Graduate from IMT, Ghaziabad. My early years were spent in several countries as my father was in the Government service and then fortunately my job took me to various places for travel. I also worked in the US for several years.
24. What is your USP or biggest strength that makes you stand apart from your competitors?
Unrelenting focus on product quality & customer service.
25. Why do you think start-ups are so vulnerable to the external business environment? What according to you are the threats to their stability?
The early stage of startups is beset with money problems and the startups always have to worry about tax changes, rules & regulations, difficulty of obtaining government loans, although a lot has changed in the last few years with the Government schemes that promote startups and innovation.
The threats are many, e.g. lack of demand, competition, Government regulations, trademark issues. However,the biggest threat to any start-up is always going to be cash flow coupled with digging in deep at times to find the internal motivation and not giving up!
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
From a personal standpoint, yes we are successful. We have an excellent support group in friends & family.
From a startup view, it’s too early. Our brand has just been born and we have to nurture it for the next several years to make it successful.
To us, success means making a difference to people’s lives – whether it’s a paying customer who experiences a top-quality grooming product or through a charity that we can engage with to improve life. One step at a time.
Address – ATS GREENS PARADISO, GREATER NOIDA
Phone – 9821591683
Email – [email protected]
Website – www.Pinkwoolf.com