Zlade entered the hair removal and personal care category in 2018 with solutions that were not only innovative and efficient but also affordable for the average Indian consumer. The brand has built a loyal following for its ready shavers, body hair removal and intimate grooming tools, and peripheral personal care products, all of which are superior in quality and honest in prices
An exciting start
In August 2018, Suraj Chaudhari, Mihir Vaidya and Harish Amritkar launched Zlade from a 2BHK in Pune to disrupt the shaving industry with honestly-priced shaving essentials for men. Within the next three years, Zlade not only grew in the shaving segment but also diversified its offerings to deliver a wide range of men’s and women’s grooming essentials under its two new brands, Zlade Ballistic and Summer by Zlade, respectively. Its in-house team has grown tenfold in the last 12 months. “What has kept us going is our steadfast drive to revolutionise the category with pioneering solutions and above all, create awareness and initiate conversations around conventionally uncomfortable topics such as body hair removal, intimate grooming and personal hygiene,” says Mihir Vaidya, Co-CEO and Co-founder, Zlade.
Zlade started as a digital-only brand but has now evolved into an omnichannel brand with a presence on its own website as well as across e-marketplaces, third-party marketplaces, quick commerce platforms, hard core brick-and-mortar retail outlets across 12 states and about 10,000 shops (general trade and modern trade). “The highest point in our journey so far has been an extremely popular celebrity coming on board to endorse our trimmers and shavers. We have just completed shooting a digital campaign with him and are all set to release it around this festive season. We have also partnered with a leading European razor manufacturer, one of the biggest razor manufacturers in the world, to refresh our entire portfolio of razors for men and women,” adds Vaidya.
Along the way
When Zlade began its journey, the razor market was monopolistic, the men’s grooming category was at a nascent stage, and the women’s personal care segment was much diluted. “Before we could tap into the offline or retail space, establishing a powerful online presence was critical to reaching our intended target audience across India. Apart from industry-level challenges, there was the herculean task of generating capital investment and OpEx [operating expenses]—two things without which it was virtually impossible to reach our customer base. But we tackled all the challenges,” says Vaidya.
We are disrupting this category by offering a mix of superior-quality ready shavers, body hair removal and intimate grooming tools, and peripheral personal care products at honest prices,” conveys Vaidya. Zlade has had the first-mover advantage in certain subsets of the category. “Apart from ensuring superior product quality, a streamlined customer buying journey and competitive pricing, we pride ourselves in delivering ‘solutions’ (rather than just ‘products’) that solve specific everyday grooming challenges,” says Vaidya. “We understand that the blades and the product ‘feel’ are two of the most important factors when it comes to shaving razors. Our collaboration with a leading European razor manufacturer gratiť es both of those aspects from a quality and experience perspective. When it comes to our full-body manscaping trimmers, we are the pioneers in bringing the SafeEdge technology to the Indian market,” shares Vaidya.
Looking to the future
So, what does the future hold? “Our focus has always been razor-sharp on razors with Zlade, and intimate grooming with Zlade Ballistic. We plan to challenge the monopoly with effective and affordable offerings while maintaining quality. Currently, we are the only player in the Indian market with an omnichannel presence in the razor subset. We are also the pioneers in introducing intimate grooming to India,” shares Vaidya. Both razors and intimate grooming, he continues, will be the foundation of the business. The plan is also to reach 50,000 retail outlets in 20 states by March 2023 with a new range of razors and trimmers.