Men always know that quality razor blades are costly, but they also didn’t have an option. Men have only two options, cheap, low-quality blades that cut your skin, or overpriced exceptional blades that cost you an arm and a leg. This gave Suraj Chaudhary a reason to figure out something, and also to make shaving more than just a task. Suraj roped in his friend Mihir Vaidya, a computer engineer, and started working on an idea in late 2014 to find a solution. Suraj’s schoolmate, Harish Amritkar, an MBA from SIBM, Pune, joined the founding team in 2017.
Zlade, a Pune-based startup, offers a combination of personal care products and services for men and women. Zlade distinguishes itself by trying to provide the best possible mix of quality and cost. Zlade is a company that manufactures razors, cartridges, aftershave gels, shave gels and shave essential gift boxes. Their products can be acquired from their website as well as from platforms like Amazon. Zlade offers quality shaving products at affordable prices. The startup is recognised by the Government of India and is part of the Startup India programme.
Overcoming the Blocks
The general understanding among the consumers is that a quality razor blade is expensive. In India, the razor blade business is almost engrossing. Zlade wanted to deal with this problem. It came out with two categories of razors — four-blade and six-blade. Moreover, it also offered natural and chemical-free shaving products, such as shaving gels and alcohol-free aftershave. Zlade marks men between the ages of 22 and 55.
The three 31-year olds commenced the business with only Rs 6 lakh from their conservancies. Zlade was self-funded until 2019. Recently, it raised an undisclosed amount of investment from an eminent business family, based out of Pune.
The current distribution of Zlade in online as well as offline channels
The startup’s products are presently sold through marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart and Nykaa, and also through their own DTC (Direct to Consumer) channel. The razors are consistently ranked in the top 10 best-selling Men’s razors on Amazon. Zlade has also recently tied up with one of the leading retailers of the country and will start making its products available on their shelves in select stores in Mumbai and Goa. The razor’s price starts from Rs 199, and customers can get a year’s worth of supply of blades for Rs 599 and Rs 1,200.
“Our Zlade Safe-Edge is one of the first razors in India, specially designed for people with sensitive skin, minimising nicks and cuts, and preventing ingrown hair,” says Suraj.
The packaging is done locally in India at Zlade’s distribution centre in Pune. Zlade ships its products from Pune to different parts of the country. Zlade’s business model is based on the repeat sales of blades and shaves prep. The repeat customer base is of almost 30,000, and based on the startup’s growth, it is projected to add another one lakh, unique customers, by the end of 2020. The shaving gel and aftershave are made in India products. The startup is also working on a subscription model, where customers would be able to sign up for regular shipments and get the products delivered at their doorstep.
Suraj believes that despite the competition, Zlade has a differentiator to offer. Suraj highlighted that they are offering quality shaving supplies at 50 per cent lesser price. Thus, with Zlade, they are making premium world-class razors accessible to our customers.