Hair removal in the nether regions is more common among men than you think.
Between waxing and shaving, many prefer the latter — but they often end up with nicks and cuts, making it a painful affair.
This was what one of the co-founders of Bovem faced when he shaved ‘down there’ with a razor, which sparked the idea to create Asia’s first and only manscaping brand.
“There was simply a lack of the right tools for the job, especially in Asia. With more than 50 per cent of males trimming and grooming regularly, we found an opportunity to solve this gap in the market. At the same time, we wanted to break the taboo of below-the-waist grooming for men and spread awareness of men’s care and hygiene,” said Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem.
No more nicks when you shave ‘down there’
The two 24-year-old founders, Lydon and Norman Teo, are both final-year business students at the Singapore Management University (SMU) and this is their first-ever business venture.
One major pain point that we try to solve is the hassle and sometimes pain, that comes with (below-the-waist) grooming. Our trimmers are anti-nick and cut, which means that you no longer have to scream in the shower while trying to tame the bush.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
He added that their trimmers are also 100 per cent waterproof, which makes it safe for use in the shower.
It took about four months for Bovem to develop their trimmers. The safety of the trimmer was their top priority, so it involved plenty of research, development and testing.
They had many iterations of the trimmer and even after finalising on the detailed specifications, there were still several back-and-forth to ensure that the right materials were used.
After settling on the final engineering and design, the team and their friends gave the products a test run before officially launching it in September 2020 with their first product: the Globe Trimmer.
When they first told their family about starting up Bovem, Lydon said that they received “a few laughs and giggles from (them) due to the quirkiness of the product use”, but maintained that they were all very supportive of their business idea.
On the other hand, a few of their friends were initially skeptical about the idea but were very intrigued by the novelty of their product at the same time.
“After all, it’s a pretty ballsy product that we’re trying to sell in a generally conservative market in Asia,” mused Lydon.
They turned profitable in just a month
Lydon lamented that the most difficult part about starting out was the steep learning curve.
“We had to learn everything ourselves and be quick to pick things up. There are constantly problems waiting to be solved and new things to learn. For two guys with little prior business experience, that was pretty overwhelming,” said Lydon.
One of the key business challenges that the bootstrapped startup faced was promoting an intimate product without coming off as “crude” or “cheap”.
“We approached this (with) a refreshing angle, through humour and subtle advertisements, allowing us to stand out from our competitors. Our campaigns were also blasted through social media to the global market, which worked out relatively well for us,” he added.
Thanks to the playful nature of their product and marketing campaigns, they gained traction quite quickly and caught the eye of several local and global influencers. They ended up receiving tons of distributorship requests from all over the world including Malaysia, Vietnam, and even in Europe.
Their TikTok account has garnered over 19,500 followers in a span of two months, with a few videos going viral — one even exceeded the six million views mark — which helped open the gates to an influx of awareness from the global market.
In just a month, Bovem turned profitable and managed to also hit six-figure revenues in a mere four months.
In Asia, many of the trimmers are meant for scalp hair or the beard in general so marketing and designing it as specifically a below-the-waist trimmer definitely caught the attention of many in the Asian market.
Whereas in Western countries where manscaping brands already exist, we developed our unique selling point through branding, social media and ads, while maintaining a competitive pricing by being one of the most affordable options amongst our competitors so as to munch into some of their market share.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
To remain competitive against more established players, they priced their trimmers slightly below their main competitors in the United States and United Kingdom at only US$49.90.
They also introduced a quarterly subscription model to offer a steadier source of revenue for further planning and investment purposes.
“Similar to a Razor and Blade model, our Refresh Plan generates additional cashflow through the blades, acting as a complement to our trimmers.”
A pioneering player in the manscaping industry
Commenting on the manscaping industry, Lydon said that it is definitely still in the early adoption stage in Singapore.
“We believe that there is still a lot of potential and room for growth in this segment. With the influence of western cultures, more Asians will hopefully be more open to the idea of personal grooming, especially below the waist.”
Sharing future business plans, Norman shared that Bovem is currently focused on expanding their presence in Singapore and strengthening their foothold as the market leader in Asia.
For now, they are exploring more local partnerships to promote and educate the public about hygiene and grooming for men.
Beyond that, they are also looking at introducing new products to build a product ecosystem for men’s grooming and introduce complementary products in the near future.
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Featured Image Credit: Bovem