1. Home Brother
  2. EcoPro Subscription
  3. Better business
  4. Archive
  5. 2022
  6. The eco-pioneer who’s disrupting the men’s grooming market
CD3966 Coffee shop confesion headerspsdManCave

The eco-pioneer who’s disrupting the men’s grooming market

Alex Grogan, co-founder of ManCave, foresaw a massive opportunity in the booming men’s grooming market for ethical, all-natural products.

“In today’s world, there’s no excuse to be unethical if it’s a matter of cost or complexity,” says Alex Grogan, co-founder and chief executive of ManCave. “These things are easily overcome with the right kind of thought and process behind them.”

At a time when consumers are more eco-conscious than ever, ethical products that are natural, vegan-friendly or cruelty-free are now serious business. But luckily for Mr Grogan, he’d already seen the writing on the wall when he set up his company in 2012. “I think we have benefitted by being ahead of the curve and developing our products in this way from day one,” he says. “Now, consumers are fully engaged.”

Despite launching only seven years ago, ManCave has grown to become one of the most popular sustainable grooming brands for men. From body washes and moisturisers, to styling creams and beard oils, each ecological invention has been carefully designed for the booming men’s market, to fulfil a growing need for quality, all-natural products. They’re now stocked in a range of retailers including Tesco, Waitrose and Boots – but, notably, ManCave has achieved all of this with a primarily online presence.

Careful planning

It’s a journey that started with two years of research and development, while Mr Grogan was doing three other jobs – at a digital agency, an estate agent and a bar. A bold move, certainly, but Mr Grogan says that starting from scratch meant he and his co-founder – his father Mark – could look at the men’s grooming market from a clean slate. “When we started, the men’s market was absolutely underserved,” he says. “There were lots of products available that were perhaps over-engineered and didn’t reflect the demand for affordable, natural quality.

“We spent a long time looking at the formulas we wanted to develop, and how they could be different from our competitors; it wasn’t just the performance of the product – we were looking at the ingredients going into them, and the ethics of the suppliers themselves.”

ManCave’s online-first model enabled them to target the right customers and streamline their operations in their early years. “It's enabled us to streamline our processes and join divisions of the business very effectively which has really helped us innovate,” he says. “For example, we gather feedback on our products through social media and review-based technology, and share that instantly with our research and development teams. That's really enabled us to move quickly and give our customers what they want.”

One thing that’s really helped secure a loyal consumer base is ManCave’s online subscription model. “We really thought about it from the customer’s point of view,” he says. “Subscriptions have become very popular for consumer goods. Once we knew we had enough loyalty behind the brand it seemed like the right thing to do, to make it even more convenient for them.”

Online innovation

And the future looks bright for the company. When the business was starting to expand into the United States, South Korea, China and Europe, its online commerce framework was hugely helpful. “We see a big international opportunity for the brand, and through e-commerce you’re able to test a new market without putting too much resource behind it,” Mr Grogan explains. “In turn, you can respond very quickly to their reactions.”

Of course, every nation’s marketplace is different, and Mr Grogan says choosing the right partners overseas is essential. “It never ceases to amaze me how each country operates so differently, and finding people who understand the ins and outs of those markets is really important.”

There’s no doubt that ManCave has seen phenomenal success in an already crowded marketplace, and now that momentum is set to continue. “Launching a business and running a business are two totally different experiences,” he says. “You’ve got to build the right foundations at the beginning so you have a good structure to work with further down the line – but being passionate about your products is so important at every stage.”

To today’s budding entrepreneurs, he says: “Don’t be afraid to be different and take on those big companies. As long as you understand what the customer needs are, and are passionate about that, that’s the core advantage that any start-up can have.”

More from Archive

Related posts

Back to top