Exclusive Interview with Karan Gupta, Founder Of “Qraamen” (Celebrities’ Favourite Brand) -Which Offers Men’s Grooming Products for Sexier You
Skin blemishes bother us all. Compared with men, women have a wide variety of skincare products in the market. But skincare is not limited to women, men also need skincare. In 2017, Mr. Karan Gupta introduced Qraamen under the ambit of R. G. Biocosmetics. Qraamen is the topmost solution for men’s grooming.
Qraamen is India’s leading men’s grooming natural cosmetic brand, which is into the manufacturing and supply of natural and organic men’s grooming and cosmetic products. The company finds its inspiration from the age-old ancient traditions of Ayurveda. It boasts of the best and naturally fortified ingredients for ranges like skin, hair, beard, and body care for men.
Qraamen caters to everything in the men’s grooming category from – beard, hair, body to skincare. Over the years, its best-selling product has been the charcoal face wash, which is effective for all kinds of skin problems related to the face. De-Tan scrubs and cleansers, hair care serums, beard oils, etc. are products of top-notch quality to choose from.
The best part of this company is it uses herbal ingredients instead of chemical-based, synthetic, and cruel animal-tested cosmetics.
In doing so, qraamen professes a no-tolerance policy towards animal cruelty and condemns the act whole-heartedly. The company sources all of its ingredients naturally and locally. For greater assurance, it also has the ISO 9001 (2000) certification for Good Manufacturing Practices. Each of the company’s products contains a combination of extracts of various precious herbs to protect, heal, and enhance the face, body, beard and hair.
Another unique factor about the company is that the products are economical and bode well for the general public.
In fact, it is one of the most popular brands. Even celebrities like Pearl V Puri, Vinrana, Shivin, Karan Wahi use this brand.
Moreover, Mr. Karan Gupta is a visionary working so that men would no longer settle for subpar synthetic products. Upon his accession, he led the company to a digital rush, opening the floodgates and adding thousands of more consumers to the company’s ever-growing list of satisfied consumers.
Owing to Mr. Gupta’s endeavors, the company has a significant presence in major E-commerce platforms and commands a website of its own. Apart from Amazon and Flipkart, the company has made it extremely easy to buy products from their website.
Fostering a well-managed and knowledgeable research and development team, the company works tirelessly to bring about new solutions in the organic skincare market to solve unique personal care issues of men.
Let’s dive into the interview we had with Karan Gupta, founder of “Qraamen”, to know more details about him and his company.
Inventiva: What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Karan: The name of my venture is ‘Qraamen’. The parent organization of my company is called Qraa Herbals, which falls under R. G. Biocosmetics. Since my venture is a men’s grooming and personal care offshoot, my team decided to add the word ‘Men’ to it. We retained Qraa in the name as we wanted to incorporate a mysterious, playful, and unique vibe with the brand. Our logo depicts the devil’s horns over the letter ‘Q’, which is a fun way to symbolize that our customers stand out from the crowd.
Inventiva: Who is your target Audience/clients?
Karan: The target audience of Qraamen is the metrosexual man of over 16 years of age, especially in the millennial and Gen Z categories. My company crafts an exclusive range of innovative, cruelty-free, and purely herbal skin, hair, beard, and body care products for men that are priced competitively.
Inventiva: Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Karan: My company is based in New Delhi, which is situated in north India. While at the beginning of Qraamen we only delivered to the national capital and some nearby states, we have now started channeling the power of e-commerce. As a result, we have no specific target geographical areas as we are delivering our products across the country.
Inventiva: What problems do your venture resolve? What are your products or services?Karan: A few years ago, I noticed a big flaw in the Indian beauty and skincare industry. Not only there was still a lot of stigma surrounding men’s grooming and personal care, but also there were not many companies offering natural and environment-friendly products for men. I made my idea of Qraamen a reality in the year 2017 when I established it as a label under my dad’s parent company, R.G. Biocosmetics. At the moment, my company offers entirely natural and cruelty-free products for various segments of men’s grooming and personal care such as skin, hair, beard, and body care.
Inventiva: Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come into existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Karan: A few years ago, I ventured to find some high-quality but affordable products that would suit my skin, beard, and hair. I was appalled to find out that the Indian market either had ridiculously overpriced, chemically-loaded products or subpar quality natural products with a dubious ingredient list for men. In my discussion with other male friends and family members, I found that I was not alone in this struggle. When I miserably failed to curate a perfect collection for my personal care, I started to scratch the surface of this problem.
During the research, I found that men’s grooming and personal care sector is one of the fastest-growing segments of the Indian beauty and skincare industry. I come from an entrepreneur family, where my dad Mr. Raj Gupta has over 25 years of experience in the beauty and skincare industry. Therefore, I was naturally motivated to chase this business idea. In 2017, I decided to expand my idea of a company that would combine the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda with the reliability of modern science to bring out products that are purely herbal, highly effective, and completely cruelty-free for men.
Inventiva: Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Karan: The biggest competitors of my company are Beardo, The Man Company, Ustraa, and MensXP. While we appreciate the good work that they are doing, our quality and affordability set us apart from them. Our products are great for the body, great for the environment, address specific personal care problems unique to men, and are easy on the pocket. We deliver quality in a way more and more people can enjoy its benefits.
Inventiva: How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
Karan: My company does not have any co-founders. My father is the managing director and I am the founder of the company. As I mentioned earlier, he is a highly experienced and knowledgeable entrepreneur who has been a great source of learning for me. His life-lessons and guidance have always been helpful in all of my ventures, including Qraa Men. There are no other partners or co-founders, so to speak.
Inventiva: How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Karan: When I had the business set up in a few months, I knew that I needed people who would help me drive the digital growth of the company. I could not do all that on my own. That is when I decided to interview people based on their ideas and skills to be a part of Qraamen’s team. Ideation has got to be the primary skill that I value in a person.
I know that if one has a practical and executable idea, they somehow find a way to bring that idea to life. Apart from ideation, I definitely look at how good a person is at their job. I have a small team made of people who are brimming with ideas, skills, and ambition to achieve a new milestone every day. No matter how much my team grows, these would be the core talents that I look forward to in my members.
Inventiva: What expansion plans are you looking for in the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Karan: In the next 2 to 5 years, I have so many plans for Qraamen. My team routinely conducts market research to understand the pulse of the industry. That helps us identify market gaps and create solutions to fill those gaps. We are looking forward to bring a range of purely botanical and innovative products for men such as gold oils, keratin-infused oils, hydra boost moisturizer, onion oil to name a few. We currently have a Gross Merchant Value (GMV) of INR 50 crores.
By March 2023, we have the aim to reach a market valuation of INR 200 crores. In the long run, Qraa Men would also like to diversify its audience. While right now only metrosexual men are the focus of our company, we would like to target urban and semi-urban population as well. Our innovations team is regularly coming up with new ideas and products that can address the needs of that particular user group. Thus, we aim to create more, reach more, and please more in the near future.
Inventiva: Where do you want to see yourself in the next 10 years?
Karan: In the next 10 years, I want to see myself heading one of the most successful men’s grooming and personal care brands in all of India. By then, I would also wish to add completely plant-based and edible supplements to diversify a little in the health segment of personal care.
This is a kind of project that I am already doing for one of my brands with a different target audience. These are just my plans as I like thinking ahead. But I will just keep doing my duties and let time take care of the rest.
Inventiva: What are your immediate goals over the next 1, 3, 6, and 12 months?
Karan: My goal for the next year is to find out the kind of products that my target audience fancies and work to bring them to the market as soon as possible. With an efficient manufacturing unit, my company would be able to work swiftly on the ideas we finalize to bring the products quickly to the buyer’s attention. We will also be working on our salon outreach program to make it better and more efficient. In the next year, I aim to create a unique product range for Qraamen and grow its profits significantly.
Inventiva: Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Karan: No, I have started Qraa Men with my own savings and have not raised any funding. I am currently not planning to raise funds, but the doors to investment are not closed. We are always open to the possibility.
Inventiva: What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?Karan: The starting days were relatively smoother for me as my father knows all the nooks and crannies of this industry and has trained me well. The main problem arose after setting up the business. We were struggling to place our products in the market and grow our userbase. I resolved all those problems with ‘influencer marketing’, where my brand connected with leading influencers, celebrities, and opinion-makers of the men’s grooming industry. They used and promoted Qraa Men’s products on their social media, which helped to create brand awareness and also place our products in the minds of the consumer. In my humble opinion, engaging influencers work much better than traditional advertising in this day and age.
Inventiva: What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Karan: The most challenging part of my journey was, frankly, to make a mark in a crowded market. In a country where there is still a lot of stigma surrounding men’s grooming and personal care, it is difficult to convince men to curate their own self-care kit. That is why I knew that to get the best value for my products, I had to take a step towards breaking the stereotyping.
My innovative and digitally savvy team really helped a lot in overcoming this challenge. They created many smart and engaging social media campaigns to normalize men’s grooming and personal care. We wanted to put it out there that taking care of yourself is not unmanly. Once we succeeded in breaking that barrier, things glided on.
Inventiva: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Karan: I love going out with my friends or family members to enjoy a nice meal or go see a monument or just have fun with my near and dear ones. When I cannot socialize due to any reason, I love watching movies, seeing what is trending on social media, read business news or non-fiction books related to business, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and marketing in my non-work time.
Inventiva: Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Karan: My father is without a doubt my biggest motivator and idol. He has made a life for himself from scratch in the Indian beauty and skincare industry back when there was no technology available to play smart. I really respect his achievements and have learned a lot from him. He always pushes me forward to do better and provides precious guidance for all my ventures that I cannot find in all the books of the world.
Inventiva: How this Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the way you look at the world? How it has impacted your business and what steps you had taken to overcome the hurdles?
Karan: The COVID-19 pandemic taught me so many things. I understood that things do not always happen the way you plan. Even the most reliable statistics, market research, and predictions can turn to garbage in the face of unforeseen situations. It also taught me that the more digital a business process is today, the safer it is.
At first, my company was also impacted like all companies in the world. Demand fell badly and we took a huge hit. But I decided to stay patient and waited for things to improve. As people made their peace with the crisis and we invested in crisis communication with our target audience, demand started to steadily rise again. I thank my stars that I established Qraa Men as a digital-first venture, which played a big role in overcoming many hurdles the pandemic threw my way.
Inventiva: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Karan: To be honest, I would not do anything differently. I believe that everything that I ever did has been responsible to lead me where I am today. I am thankful for not only all the right decisions I made but all the wrong ones as well. The mistakes have helped me learn and grow into a more mature human being and entrepreneur. I always wanted to run my own company, so there is really nothing to redo. If I have to do this all over again, I would still start my venture under the guidance and care of my father, learn daily, and contribute to the consistent growth of my company.
Inventiva: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Karan: Not a lot. A notable difference is that earlier I had a lot of spare time to go out with friends and family to enjoy. But now I do not enjoy that luxury. Even though I love to socialize, I have to make time for my venture as entrepreneurship is like a full-time job with so many more responsibilities and duties.
Sometimes I have to spend well more than nine hours working without complaining about it. But after making all those necessary sacrifices, I believe it to be a rewarding life. In my spare time, however, I always find a chance to socialize with my loved ones first before indulging in any other hobby.
Inventiva: Anything you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Karan: If you are thinking of starting your own venture, be prepared for all the challenges that come with it. The idea of establishing a business from an outside point of view might even look glamorous, but from inside the story, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and a great many sacrifices to establish a flourishing business. So, start out only after doing proper market research, collecting resources that you might need, personal savings, financial blueprint, and action plan for at least one year.
Also, never consider your company as a ‘set in stone’. Even the companies that can be considered as world leaders are working hard each day to improve, adapt, and evolve. Never consider your journey as finished at any time you are managing a business. Keep chasing growth as there is always, always room for improvement.
Inventiva: Tell us something about your education & family background.
Karan: I have done a bachelor’s in Computer Science Honours and Masters in International Business. As I mentioned, my father is a veteran in the Indian personal care and grooming segment with more than 25 years of experience. He understands the pulse of the industry, which is something that helped me a lot. I used to notice him while working and meeting as a teenager and slowly started learning the trade as well. When he noticed my interest, he motivated me and gave me all the support he could. This motivation is what gave me my dream and my career.
Inventiva: What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
Karan: I have a deep reverence for the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda. I also respect nature as I believe we owe her for giving us her bountiful gifts. That is the core sentiment over which the USP of Qraa Men is based. We provide personal care and men’s grooming products that are natural, organic, cruelty-free, and highly effective.
We are trying to embrace the digital aspects of marketing for our brand, while most other startups in the genre are still struggling to accept it as the future. Another aspect that sets my company apart is that we are not just trying to sell products but also break stereotypes to make lives easier and bring equality to personal care.
Inventiva: What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Karan: I have seen many startups and businesses crumble due to lack of proper planning. If you do not have an action plan or a list of deliverables that you demand from your business in at least the next year, you are going to fail terribly. I like to consider all possibilities, which is the thought process that saved my business from taking a major hit in the post-COVID-19 period.
Another fatal flaw in small businesses and start-ups today is that they employ team members they know just because they would charge less, even though they would not do a great job. When you are starting out with a venture, you need a team of experienced, talented, and driven people who would understand and relate to your ideas & put in the work necessary to attain it.
Inventiva: Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Karan: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do consider myself successful. Not only I am satisfied and extremely happy with what I do, but I also find myself getting better at it with every passing day. If that is not a success, then I don’t know what is. I do not consider success as just a measurable statistic. Success for me is working hard to achieve your dreams every day while learning precious lessons each day and meeting a variety of people. I make it a point to learn something from each person I know. This helps me enhance my personality and get in touch with things that help me create more avenues for my business.
Inventiva: Please share the complete name of your company, its founder, email id, and website of your company.
Company Name: Qraamen
Founder: Mr. Karan Gupta
Email Id: [email protected]