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Matrix-backed menswear startup aims to triple next year




For a long time, women dominated the clothing segment.

But men are finally making sense, as more and more companies focus on men’s care and clothing needs. According to the research firm Statistical, the men’s clothing industry is expected to grow by around Rs 3,268.69 billion in 2028 against Rs 1,564.96 in 2018.

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Anurag Saboo loved to shop online, but often struggled to find what he wanted.

As an online shopper I would be drawn to the fashion markets for their discounts. But I realized that I would end up getting things that I often didn’t use, even after spending a lot of time. I thought why not start a men’s clothing store where you go to buy quality items, which would in fact be used often, Anurag says. Your story.

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Anurag has partnered with Gaurav Pushkar, his teammate and friend at IIT-Delhi for more than a decade, to start DaMENSCH, a men’s clothing startup based in Bengaluru.

The co-founders were previously e-commerce platform colleagues Snapdeal and beauty giant Nykaa. Working in these internet businesses gave them the confidence to start on their own.

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Credit: YourStory Design

Founded in 2018 under Damensch Apparel Pvt. Ltd., the clothing company started out selling men’s underwear, with five storage units (SKUs), as the category hadn’t changed much from an innovation standpoint. Currently, the brand sells 18 items of interior clothing and casual clothing.

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Damensch launched odorless soft fabric underwear, cotton boxers and vests made from sustainable bamboo fabric.

We wanted to give the men something comfortable to wear all day long without any discomfort. We estimated that most brands in India cater to a non-Indian customer base, Anurag says.

The company took the digital approach first and started selling through its own website and markets, including Flipkart, Amazon and Myntra. Damensch, which started with 50 orders per day in 2018, now makes 5,000 deliveries per day.

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Anurag claims its customer retention rate is around 40% and attributes social digital marketing to good quality products as a driver of growth.

Men are also a much more loyal clientele. If they like a product from a brand, they generally tend to be customers for a lot longer, he says.

Focus on D2C

The lockdowns caused by the pandemic, which has forced most people to stay at home, have also contributed to the discovery of many digital brands. The lockdowns have also made online shopping a necessity rather than a choice, forcing investors to hunt direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands.

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While the cosmetics start-up MyGlamm became a unicorn and converted into The Good Glam Group through multiple acquisitions, Mamaearth and SUGAR Cosmetics continued to lift bigger laps at higher valuations.

Damensch, which now employs 150 people, raised Rs 50 crore in November 2020, led by Matrix Partners India, after raising Rs 137.5 million in their two rounds, according to data from Crunchbase. The business also claims to be profitable and grew 3 times after the lockdown.

The challenges include too good quality, so getting frequent orders from the same customer could become a challenge as people might only need new underwear once a year. That’s why Damensch plans to focus on expanding its products into the casual and athleisure categories for the coming year.

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Currently, Damensch competes with Page Industries Jockey, Van Heusen and XYXX Apparels, backed by DSG Consumer, an omnichannel brand focused on men’s indoor and casual wear.

The D2C startup aims to grow by 3 over the next 12 months to reach Rs 300 crore ARR by October of next year.

For now, our goal is to expand our product offering and increase our turnover rate, Anurag explains.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai




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