No business is taboo for startups

Harish Bijoor | Updated on March 10, 2018

No business is taboo for startups

Startups are not letting go of any opportunity. They are even entering the terrain of the barber-shop. Will they survive?


Raman, I think I will dignify this space and call it the men’s grooming sector. Startups are entering this field with a vengeance.

I think there is space at the top end of the market for men’s grooming. Currently, each of these entries are niche offerings at the top. They are putting together options that pamper and please at a price. And this price is obscene. This is their route to branding. When I can get a decent haircut in Bengaluru at my barber shop for ₹60, these guys will offer you one at ₹500. And that too after a 20 per cent first-time discount.

As the vanity quotient of a man increases in India, each of these offerings will find traction. The more niche they are, the higher the craving.

In the old days, one went to a barber shop to get a haircut and a shave maybe, if they were particularly lazy to shave at home, that is! Today, the offerings extend beyond all this. Hair-care, skin-care and grooming are the new buzzwords in the man’s vanity kit. As men seek to look different, feel different and stand out from the crowd, they will seek more and more offerings and options.

Again, in the old days, the barber shop was all about location, location and location. It had to be close by, it had to be at walking distance, and it had to be the place where your mother or father took you for the first haircut. Not any longer! Today, these niche offerings need to be a high street, if not within the premises of a five-star hotel, need to showcase pedigree from overseas, and need to be niche sounding as well.

Will they survive? A few surely will. Value, just like water, finds its own level.

Harish Bijoor is a brand strategy expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Mail your queries to

Published on September 22, 2016

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