During the peak of COVID-19, female staff members at Bombay Shaving Company, a men’s premium grooming brand, questioned the lack of offerings in the female grooming space.
“The first set of products for women was first launched under Bombay Shaving Company. It was a flagship ritualistic product - with a foam, razor, and aftershave gel - to make [grooming] a fully indulgent process.
“This picked up really well, and we realised that there is a huge, latent, untapped potential of the [female grooming market]. COVID added tailwind to the process. That’s how the [Bombae] brand started,” Siddha Jain, Chief Business Officer of Bombae, recounted to CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
Bombae was later launched in the fourth quarter of 2020, specializing in premium women’s grooming products and services.
Their presence currently spans country-wide in India - both on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa and more; and retail outlets such as department stores, pharmacies, and cosmetics stores.
Since its launch, Bombae currently contributes to 20% of the overall business at Bombay Shaving Company.
Women’s grooming potential
As of 2022, the skin grooming market in Asia-Pacific accounts for 37.5% of the global market share – with East Asia leading at 19.1% and South Asia coming next at 18.4%
Jain explained that demand for face razors has picked up due to raising awareness of Korean skincare routines.
Other trends highlighted include women’s higher purchasing power accounting for their willingness to spend on premium grooming solutions, higher demand among Gen Z and younger consumers for more innovative products, and the growing popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) experiences due to the lockdowns.
Bombae added that women today are also more informed about intimate care. Over the past year, the company has launched a number of campaigns to raise awareness about women’s grooming.
“In our campaign, there are people including women who will go “yuck, I didn't need to see this” and so on, so forth. But our fundamental objective is to celebrate a woman in all her glory. This is by accepting that body hair is a part of us. Whether we choose to remove it or not is secondary, we need to first acknowledge and appreciate it all.
“That is generally our tone and identity. We don't want to show ads where there are no body hair and people shave over that. There are certain things that we hold to, to ourselves and India.” Jain explained.
What appeals to women
A common theme of user-friendliness centres some of Bombae’s best-selling products, namely its biodegradable face razor, 6-in-1 trimmer targeting sensitive areas on the body, and body razor.
Bombae explained that the ergonomics of their products is enabled by the FlexBlade technology which Bombay has the “license to be the unique provider in India”.
Jain explained: “The biggest difference between men and women is that although we [women] have less thick hair, our hair spreads out more, so we take longer strokes. As we go from arm to shoulder and ankle to thigh, we have created a razor that uses the FlexBlade technology.
“The body razor has blades that most razors do not have. Each blade becomes individual and can really swipe through [the skin] without clogging. So, you can shave your entire arm or leg, without needing to constantly wash it under the tap, in an extremely smooth manner.
“There's a lot of innovation that have gone into creating these products, and our body razor is like the flagship of that. And we are still working on further improving that product.”
Given gender differences around hair growth and grooming habits, Jain added that there is a wholly separate team who now works on developing women’s products at Bombae.
Bombae’s grand ambitions
Bombay’s upcoming strategy will focus on new product development to make their products more ergonomic for customers.
It will maintain its focus on India or “certain geographies with Indian diaspora like Middle East or Singapore”.
Jain told us that the latest innovation was the “iPhone of razors”, which will be launched next month. While keeping most of the details under wraps for now, he described it as “a very elevated version” and “one of its kind never seen in India”.
Additionally, Bombae outlined plans of creating “rituals” with complementary grooming products such as hair removal sprays, aftershave creams and gels to revolutionize the grooming experience - from a necessity to a luxury.