“Nobody wanted to get into this market, and none of the big brands wanted to venture into this space, so it was a great thing for us, as we got the first mover advantage,” Singh said.
“Whenever I hear Sikh stats, there are 30 million plus Sikhs worldwide, I smile, and reword it as, there are 30 million kings and queens.”
Singh believes that Sikhs are blessed to have a global identity that centres around a crisply tied turban and a flowing beard, and his company’s goal is to respect this identity and maintain its presence.
Singh Styled’s e-commerce platform currently ships its products to 133 countries, which include Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Far and Middle East and Africa.
By 2024, the company intends to have a physical presence in the UK and US.
Solving pain points
Singh Styled started out as a hobby for Singh, but it soon experienced an upward trajectory. In Mumbai, back in 2014, there were only two stores that catered to Sikh men for their grooming needs and Singh knew there was an opportunity to address these challenges in the community.
“By 2024, we want to be like a paint store, where you can just name the colour of your turban, and we’ll make it to order,” he explained.
Singh’s research and development teams are now working overtime to create new product variants for markets like Singapore and New York.
Customers in these marketplaces want beard and hair care formulations that are right for their softer beards, which is quite a departure from the traditional formulations for the Indian market.
Interestingly, the company has also recently inked a deal with Aramex, a logistics company, that has made shipping from India to UK almost 60 per cent cheaper than before.
By 2024, Singh hopes to have a distribution network in the UK which will be able to deliver across the country within 24 to 48 hours.
Singh Styled launched in Singapore during the pandemic, working very closely with the gurdwara community to ensure its commercial success was able to translate into neighbouring countries. A gurdwara is a place of worship for the Sikh community.
This cultural association has led to the company’s popularity spreading by word-of-mouth, and once the movement restrictions were lifted in these Asian countries, demand for the brand’s products skyrocketed.
“Once the gates were opened up, as in the movement restrictions by the governments, we started getting orders from Malaysia, Thailand and even Australia. We are now seeing a lot of traction from these countries,” revealed Singh.
Singh Styled sources at least 90 per cent of its ingredients for its hair care and beard products as well as materials for the turbans from India.
The company buys its supplies in bulk, as the recent supply chain issues and inflationary cost pressures has made it progressively difficult to rein in costs.
“We are focusing on keeping costs low, but at the same time we are also focusing on opening up more bricks-and-mortar stores to accelerate sales growth,” said Singh.
According to Singh, only around 10 to 15 per cent of Indians are transacting online in the country, and he is aware of the importance of brands having their own physical stores to bring in sales.
“For us, customers need to come in and touch and feel the materials, inspect the different colours, and so on. So for us it’s a huge priority to open up more stores especially in the New Delhi area,” he concluded.
A personal touch
Singh Styled typically handles around 60 to 70 orders per day via its Singapore based e-commerce platform. This allows the team to have a high level of interaction with its customer base.
“We are just starting to build our business in the Singapore market, and we are interacting with our customers in a very personal way, and are quickly figuring out their needs and wants,” Singh said.
Singh shared an interesting story about one of his long time customers, Mr. A.S. Malik, a 70-year old man used to always buy dark coloured turbans. But after some prodding from Singh, Mr Malik has since ventured into vibrant colours – and has not looked back.
“He has a direct line to my operations team, and he is now one of our best repeat customers, and I would say this is one distinct example that shows how we have brought about huge changes among our customer base.”
New verticals for the future
The main focus is still on turbans and beard care, but Singh hopes the business will branch out into more accessories by 2024 or 2025.
“We want to build a whole host of verticals, right from your shoes to your bedding, for example,” he said.
The company is hard at work to begin offering products for the younger generation, specifically for children aged nine to 15. Singh feels that even this demographic is a good avenue for the brand’s offerings.
Singh’s vision for the brand is to ultimately become a style advisor for Sikh men. He is aiming to carry more products that can allow its customers to mix and match accessories while retaining their unique identity and swagger.