What started as a solution for painless below-the-waist hair removal has now evolved beyond the waist, and now serves the “up-there” grooming niche, widely catering to the men’s grooming landscape.
Since its inception, homegrown startup Bovem has grown beyond providing manscaping tools for the nether regions, to two new product launches catering for other parts of the body — the Align Razor, a facial safety razor, as well as the Orbit Trimmer, a nose and ear hair trimmer.
Moving beyond-the-waist and serving the “up-there” grooming niche seemed like a natural progression for [Bovem]. We identified multiple opportunities and gaps in the “up-there” grooming niches and decided to go “balls up”.– Lydon Ong and Norman Teo, co-founders of Bovem
A ‘balls up’ strategy
According to Lydon Ong and Norman Teo, the co-founders of Bovem, the company started out with the insight that a large proportion of men were using improper grooming tools to groom below the waist.
In the first six months of its inception, the brand was dedicated to solving that problem exclusively. Since then, Bovem identified more importance in uncovering opportunities from the grooming status quo.
This has inspired a “balls up” strategy to take on different niches within men’s grooming — beyond just the waist — to offer precision-grade products from the beard to the nose. If we’re good enough down under, we’re good enough anywhere else.– Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem
The Align Razor and the Orbit Trimmer present a safer, more environmentally friendly and precise grooming experience.
The Align Razor in particular, is a single-blade safety razor which presents a better alternative to facial grooming, according to Bovem. The precision-grade razors are also electroplated to prevent rusting from contact with water.
Our customers have experienced much closer and smoother shaves, without the occasional shaving bumps, irritations and ingrown hair as compared to multi-blade razors.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
Meanwhile, the Orbit Trimmer provides a safer experience to trim off unwanted nose hair as opposed to using scissors or plucking. Its rotary blade is protected by a stainless-steel cone tip which will greatly reduce nicks and cuts in your nose, while effectively removing unwanted hair from any angle.
We’re a lean team at this stage and see a benefit in staying close and understanding every function of the business which affects customers including our products. We’re conscious about the price and accessibility of premium men’s grooming and hope that men across all geodemographic will take better care of themselves with our products.– Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem
Projected to hit seven-figure revenue by end 2022
The launch of Bovem’s facial razor saw great success and it has become one of Bovem’s top-rated products in its grooming line.
The main customer group we see are men making the switch to a single-blade razor away from multi-blades razors that they’re acquainted with using for most of their lives.
Many of our customers loved the aesthetic and look of the razor, as well as the clean, close shave that comes with using it.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
However, Bovem’s Globe Trimmer still hasn’t lost its hype. First launched in 2020, it remains its most popular product to date. This does not come as a surprise as Bovem still invests the most into developing and marketing its body and groin trimmer.
For these two new products, the founders declined to reveal how much they spent in producing them, but shared that it took around five to six months to develop from their initial conception to the launch.
Since Bovem’s previous interview with Vulcan Post last year, it has now groomed tens of thousands of happy, fresh balls around the world. According to the founders, Bovem is projected to hit a seven-figure in revenue by the end of 2022.
Scrapping its subscription model for sustainability
With issues surrounding global warming on the rise, Bovem realised that more people seek to support brands that champion for causes which resonates with what they stand for.
Aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable, Bovem has launched a couple of initiatives with their customers in mind.
When Bovem first launched its Globe Trimmer, it offered a quarterly subscription model for its replacement blade. However, due to climate concerns, the subscription model was abolished.
Every e-commerce delivery has a carbon footprint, with carbon dioxide being the biggest driver of climate change. Presently, we’re unable to deliver such small items in an environmentally sound manner and offset the carbon output sustainably for free.– Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem
Other than scrapping its subscription model, Bovem has also partnered with the likes of One Tree Planted, where it invites its customers to plant trees through their purchase.
Since June 2021, Bovem has planted more than 24,000 square metres of trees across Southeast Asia, which is home to one of the world’s heaviest deforestation hotspots.
Last year, Bovem also chose to deliver with Shippit, which offers businesses an easy way to ship carbon-neutral by offsetting 100 per cent of the carbon emissions with Carbon Neutral Group.
Moving forward, we continue to endeavour delivering in reasonably sustainable methods, to ensure that sending parcels does not cost the Earth.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
Singapore’s growing men’s grooming landscape
When asked about the men’s grooming landscape in Singapore, the founders believe that there is still room to grow within the nascent category.
Bovem sees a pivotal shift in how the modern-day man is taking a keen interest not just to look better, but also feel better.
Historically, there lies a certain gender norm within this topic, with men’s grooming being predominantly within the boundaries of a haircut.
This context has certainly evolved through the years, creating more need in the men’s consumer market, as well as opened the doors to a wave of interesting products catered to different niches in the men’s grooming industry.– Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem
On the contrary, this can also prove to be a threat to Bovem’s business as more legacy brands with deeper pockets and more extensive retail distribution capabilities are also entering the men’s grooming market.
Furthermore, global brands who have seen huge success in other markets are now entering the Asian market for a slice of the pie.
To compete with emerging brands and to capture the market share, Bovem decided to launch as a digitally native brand, allowing it to test and adapt with a modest marketing budget since it’s not backed by any investors or venture capital firms.
We’re forced to learn how to speak to, attract, and acquire our Singapore cohort profitably. Our strategy comprised a mix of organic and paid social, as well as creator partnerships to engage with our customers.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
With the consumer market in Singapore becoming more open to conversations surrounding men’s grooming, Bovem wants to connect with and educate its audience on grooming through their social platforms.
Partnering with local content creators on social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, Bovem believes in using humour and education to kickstart conversations about personal care for men in a friendly manner.
Bovem has worked with dozens of influencers on TikTok, both locally and overseas. Its TikTok account has garnered over 70 million views across its videos, amassing a total of 7.5 million likes and building a community of more than 110,000 followers so far.
Bovem is also present in US and Canada
Although Bovem has seen tremendous growth, its business hasn’t always been smooth-sailing. The two biggest challenges Bovem faced throughout its business journey were logistical and advertising issues.
Bovem currently operates across the Asian markets and has a brand presence in the US and Canada too.
Across 90 per cent of the markets that we operate, logistics services are generally reliable and highly efficient. Our main issue working with different logistics service providers in different regions comes with its varying reliability and high costs.
[To address this], we looked at past customer data and engaged various third-party logistics in regions to offer much faster shipping time and reduce last-mile delivery costs.– Lydon Ong, co-founder of Bovem
As Bovem looks to expand into different regions, the company also faced issues when it came to understanding the culture and demographic of consumers in different areas.
Certain ad messaging did not work well in certain regions due to cultural differences — what would work in Singapore may not necessarily blend well with westernised lifestyle.– Norman Teo, co-founder of Bovem
In order to familiarise themselves with the demographics of a new market, the team at Bovem immerse themselves into the habits and values of consumers in the market in an attempt to understand their spending patterns. This additional step helps Bovem refine their advertising messages.
Despite these challenges and in the face of rising inflation and the economic downturn, the founders expressed that their product will continue to be in demand because hair still continues to grow.
As a testament, Bovem has not seen a decrease in consumer spending. However, the company is plagued with other economic challenges that comes with the inflation, such as rising advertising and customer acquisition costs.
Currently, Bovem is focused on expanding its brand presence globally, mainly in the US and Canada. These two markets pose great opportunities for Bovem, given that personal grooming is more openly discussed and adopted there.
Other than expanding its brand presence, Bovem also aims to continue catering to and double down in the men’s grooming niche. This could extend to other innovative verticals and complementary products being offered in the near future.
Featured Image Credit: Bovem