Hemant Raulo: A Maverick Transforming Men and Women’s Personal Care

UrbanGabru Hemant Raulo Transforming Personal Care | The Enterprise World

Today, both the men’s grooming and women’s beauty and personal care industries are experiencing exciting shifts. Traditionally focused on basic hygiene, the men’s grooming market is exploding with significant growth. Men are embracing advanced skincare, haircare, and even color, breaking free from stereotypical expectations. This expansion is fueled by celebrity influence, self-care trends, and a desire for self-expression. 

Meanwhile, the women’s beauty industry is also witnessing a rise in gender-neutral products, catering to evolving preferences and inclusivity. While this presents a challenge to traditional male-targeted products, it also reflects a move away from strict gendered categorization. Both industries are innovating with natural ingredients, sustainability, and personalization, reflecting changing consumer values.

Hemant Raulo (Founder and CEO of UrbanGabru and Urban Yog) is successfully navigating these dynamic shifts in the industry. The Enterprise World recently had a chance to indulge in a conversation with Hemant Raulo, where he shed light upon his journey and the company’s mission, vision, and offerings. Here are some snippets from the fascinating conversation:

Q1. Brief us about your journey at the company, what inspired you to start the company?

I did B.E in Computer Science from AIT, Pune and started working as a SAP Administrator in Accenture Pvt. Ltd. It did not take me long to realize that my full potential was not coming to the forefront and I wanted to do something of my own. This void in my career ignited the idea of building a brand. So, I started investing more time in reading business and self-help books.

Back in 2017, on researching, I realized that there were a zillion grooming products for women while men had limited and costly options. I decided to fill this gap. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I started this company within the boundaries of my home only to break them one day.

The UrbanGabru which sprouted in a single room in Ahmednagar spread its roots and in a period of just 5 years had more than 100 employees and had already been recognized as the grooming brand. Initially, it was a sole proprietorship firm until it got registered as a private limited company in 2019.

We started with a YouTube channel which was all about men’s grooming under the name, UrbanGabru Men’s LifeStyle. On reaching a subscriber base of around 30 K, we used it as a platform to market and sell our first ever product, UrbanGabru Beard Oil in April, 2017.

It was through YouTube that we gathered customer queries and tried understanding what the customers are actually looking for. We addressed their problems through our solution oriented products. Gradually, we launched a whole range of products and used multiple platforms to promote it.

Neither do I have a degree in digital marketing nor do I belong to any business background but I have managed to establish a UrbanGabru on my own. My passion, deep analysis about the men’s grooming industry, and direct feedback from my customers makes my brand stand strong in the business world.

Q2. What are the initial challenges you faced and what are the reasons behind both company’s long-standing success?

We started marketing our product range to our subscriber base of 30K through our YouTube Channel. Since we had already built a bond of credibility and trust with them, they were ready to try our products. Initially, it was not a challenge but to grow the customer base was definitely one. When our subscribers started using our products and they saw the results coming their way, they started gaining a lot of trust in our brand.

From the beginning, our brand has always focused on creating informative content to educate men on grooming and lifestyle through social media platforms. It has played a major role in building credibility and trust amongst our audience.

Moreover, we always bring innovative products on the table without compromising on the quality. All our products are paraben, sulphate and benzene free. Further, they are dermatologically tested as well. When it comes to our electronics they are made with high ceramic content and anti-scalding design.

Both the brands are standing the test of time due to our trendsetting innovations that have the potential to disrupt the status-quo of the market. Having a cut above the rest, makes their products the best-sellers in the grooming and personal care industry.

Q3. What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?

UrbanGabru is a leading men’s grooming brand while Urban Yog is a beauty and personal care brand for women.

UrbanGabru is on a mission to reach and inspire men to UPGRADE themselves with our innovative product range. Urban Yog inspires bold women of today to bring home our innovative solutions to ease their day to day struggle and start a journey of change beginning from their lifestyle.

We focus on innovative products that have the potential to market themselves. If anyone starts using our products, they voluntarily become an ambassador to our brand.

The USP of both our brands is that we keep competing with ourselves and come up with even more innovative solutions than what we already have. Our products help to ease the lives of men and women by saving their time, money and effort. 

Moreover, we believe in building & dominating an entire category by finding the right problem and solving it in the most innovative way possible.

For instance, our hero product Hair Removal Cream Spray helps to remove unwanted body hair in 6-8 minutes with no pain, cuts or foul smell. Another innovative product, 100% natural Hair Volumizing Powder helps to style hair in minutes and keeps it intact for the entire day.

Q4. How do you decide to take the company a step further?

Our goal is to reach more and more customers. I believe that the number of customers we have achieved till now is still small and there is much more to do. So, we are planning to reach at least 10x more customers this year.

Q5. Being a successful leader, please share your views on current business scenarios across the globe after Covid 19 pandemic?

After Covid 19, a lot of founders were thinking that many people will stop stepping out of their homes and so many applications were built to support customer needs within their homes. It allowed tech companies to receive a lot of funding.

However, post Covid, the opposite started happening. People started moving out a lot. This helped the retail businesses to boom and they will continue to grow. So, as an advice to new businesses, If you want your business to grow then you will have to start focusing on both retail & ecommerce. Only ecommerce businesses will not be able to foster profits in the long run.

Q6. Why is it said that the workforce plays a vital role in every business’s growth? Please tell us about your team.

Everything is done by employees. If there are no employees then the company won’t survive more than a few days.

Especially here at UrbanGabru, our employees are open-minded and believe in sharing their wisdom with others for a wholesome growth. We mutually encourage each other to evolve and grow together.

We don’t work like corporate slaves from 9 to 5 as we understand that human potential remains unmatched compared to machines. We second that and our people give us great outputs. Moreover, we believe in sharing feedback in all directions blurring the barriers of hierarchy.

We don’t consider our employees as resources, they are Gabrus.

Q7. Can you brief us about your professional experience?

Well, I started this company single handedly. I was the first employee. With time, I understood that I can’t do everything on my own so I started building a team. Slowly I built a team to get the work done.

As an individual: When the team began to grow, my learning revolved around understanding different mindsets and getting the work done. I had to wear different hats to motivate and push them to achieve the targets.

As a business: We have been grooming ourselves to upgrade our business model, advertise ourselves and continuously update our skills to maintain our pace in the market and keep the business running.

Q8. What are the key achievements of your business journey?

We have been successful in achieving a run rate of 100 crore as of now with an employee base of 200. Moreover, we are available in 25K offline counters. 

Our plan is to create a mark in the grooming industry making our brand a household name. More than a brand, we want to be a lifestyle.

Q9. ‘Innovation is the key to business growth,’ please share your views.

Innovation is our leading core value. It is due to our innovative products and team that makes us a trendsetter in several grooming categories. Our one-of-a-kind products disrupt the status-quo of the market, setting a benchmark for the rest. We come up with such solutions that not only ease the life of men and women but also stand out in comparison to endless replica products pre-existing in the market.

Q10. Which one is your favorite quote?

‘Upgrade Yourself’

This one quote is something that I have been following to the core. I have always believed in it. Upgrade Yourself is not just my business mantra but has also been my life mantra and that’s why it is also our brand, UrbanGabru’s tagline.

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