Before Drishay Menon helped start Bottlecode, he struggled with acne as a kid — an experience that that impacted his confidence and his ability to feel happy in high school. He turned to his mom for help, and she did what any and all good moms would do: “She helped me the best that she could,” Menon told PYMNTS in an interview. But the assistance resulted in over-the-top skin peel treatments and light therapy that made him feel even more insecure about his skin.
Menon ended up struggling with skincare from his time as a teenager through to his late 20s. Then, when he and his co-founders (Rob McIntosh as well as Jeffrey Meyers) were working at Trunk Club in Chicago, they all realized that they faced a common problem. “We all actually struggled with different types of skincare and personal grooming [challenges],” Menon said. But there wasn’t a place to find the “simple solutions and the products that we wanted.”
Department stores didn’t help, and the internet was a confusing place — shoppers might research products only to have 20 to 30 brands claim to have the right products for them. As a result, they started Bottlecode, which helps men create a personalized skincare regimen from curated solutions. With Bottlecode, Menon says, “we’ve developed a very simple onboarding platform,” along with a not-so-simple algorithm underpinning it.
The Product Curation
The eCommerce company found that many men don’t know their skin types or how various health, as well as environmental factors, impact their skin — and how they should take care of themselves. To help these customers find the right products, Bottlecode created a 13-question survey that asks consumers about everything from their lifestyles to their skin types, and some of the challenges they struggle with, among other factors. The algorithm then takes over, based on a method that brings together a problem, an ingredient and a solution.
The idea is to identify all of the problems — i.e., razor bumps, redness and dryness, wrinkles, blemishes and pimples — and map them to specific ingredients. The company then takes all of those ingredients and matches them to particular products or solutions it wants to suggest to the customer. It then searches its catalog for available products, while also ranking and rating the products. The company then makes suggestions to its customers.
Bottlecode doesn’t have its own branded products — instead, it works with the best brands in the industry, Menon says, because they have already done incredible research and development to make excellent formulations. And, beyond providing the right product, the company aims to educate consumers on what is important — and what is not essential — when it comes to a skincare regimen.
The Content and Market Fit
Bottlecode provides a variety of content from lightweight Instagram and social media posts to slightly more involved content, which it refers to as Skin Care 101. As the name suggests, Menon said, it provides “simple, easy to consume pieces of content” covering topics on, say, how to wash your face, or apply an eye cream. The company’s target market, for its part, is an individual who might be interested in skincare and has already tried to take care of himself.
That individual might have gone to GQ, Esquire and lifestyle blogs, but he hasn’t yet found great solutions and wants something that works. Menon also says two triggers make men start thinking about skincare. One is individuals who started paying attention to their skin a bit younger in their lives due to challenges with acne. Menon falls into that bucket, and he started taking care of his skin through his late 20s and late 30s.
The other individual is someone who is starting to see some age spots and is becoming frustrated with the fact that they are beginning to get a little older and don’t necessarily want to show a lot of those signs. In terms of age, the company’s customer is in the late 20s up through the late 40s. As is stands, the company’s customers have to purchase skincare items at one place, their body care products at another place, and their hair care products at another place.
But, in the future, the eCommerce company aims to be a one-stop-shop from education, community and product perspective that customers can turn to for all of their grooming, health and wellness needs.