Male cosmetics is hot on the tongue of the press right now. We sat down with Alex Doyle, the founder of Altr for Men, to discuss the success of Altr so far, and how he envisages the male cosmetic industry turning mainstream over the next 5 years.
Could you tell us a bit more about the aims of Altr?
Altr is a male grooming company aiming to revolutionise the notion of cosmetics for men. Our goal is to merge traditional male skincare, with what we term ‘soft cosmetics’, the likes of concealer, BB cream, and bronzer. The eventual aim is that soft cosmetics become a part of every man’s morning routine, whether it’s to conceal a nasty spot that’s popped up, dark circles after a bad night's sleep, or just to help brighten and even out appearance. We have a unique marketing approach, aimed at 16-35 year old guys that care about looking good.
What inspired you to start Altr?
I started the company straight after graduating from Warwick University. I grew up with acne and skin problems, but despite it damaging my self-confidence, I had never even considered using cosmetics due to the stigma around the field.
A female friend of mine recommended a concealer product to me during my final year of university, and while I thought it was great for covering spots, the formula didn’t sit quite right on my skin, and the application was troublesome. After trying, and failing, to find an innovative company which sold cosmetics to men and appealed to me as a 22 year old guy, I decided to create one myself!
What’s Altr achieved since launch?
Since launching in September 2017 with just 4 products, we’ve come a long way. We’ve released an additional 8 products, acquired over 20,000 UK customers, established a monthly turnover of just under £50,000, and achieved angel investment of over £100,000. We’ve also developed a vendor relationship with Amazon in the UK and abroad, meaning that due to our success selling on the platform, Amazon now purchases from us on a supplier basis. We aim to achieve even more over the next 18 months.
How do you plan to grow the business with the £150,000 investment?
There are so many opportunities that we’ve not been able to take advantage of so far, which I’m really excited to get started on. This investment round will be used primarily for expansion and scaling the company, in terms of product range, global reach, and marketing.
The launch of our new blemish balm in November saw our average order value increase by £2.70 (£14.48 to £17.12), and our conversion rate increase by 1.6% (2.21% to 3.83%.) We’re looking to release a bronzing gel this summer, and a beard kit in the winter which will help us further increase our total revenue, and, hopefully, our profitability long term.
Nearly all of our current sales come from the UK. Trials in the US, however, suggest that it would be a highly profitable market for us to move into. Despite only having two shades of our Face Fix product available, and only selling via Amazon, we achieved over $9,000 worth of revenue in our first month of US sales in January. An inability to invest in sufficient stock is currently holding us back, but I am currently in conversations with distributors so that we can move quickly to gain a proper presence following completion of this crowdfunding round.
Finally, we'd like to increase our investment in content marketing. Social media advertising is currently the key driver of sales for our business, so it’s crucial to be able to invest sufficiently in new, relevant content, which will bring down our marketing cost per acquisition. Consequently, I'd like to increase our budget on content marketing from the current level of £4,000 a month, to £10,000 a month. I’d also like to expand our marketing to include new and exciting initiatives such as pop-ups across London and Manchester to drive a physical presence to complement our online site.
How do you see Altr developing in the future?
When I came up with the concept of the business my aim was to make concealer an everyday, every guy, product. The growth we’ve seen in the industry already is incredible. Our survey with One Poll last summer showed 1/5 men now wear cosmetics, and a further 1/5 has considered doing so. This is up from just 1/10 six years ago, and I predict that within the next five years this figure will be over 1/2. I want to help grow the male cosmetics industry and make Altr synonymous with that growth.
You can find out more and invest in Altr for Men by visiting their pitch page.
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