Lumin Wants Personal Grooming To Be As Important As Working Out For Men

If you ask women about the men in their lives, they’re likely to report they need a ton of guidance. When it comes to personal maintenance, Richard Hong and Darwish Gani agree. The pair established Lumin in summer 2018 as an affordable subscription service that takes the guesswork out of choosing men’s skincare by tailoring the products it sends to customers who fill out online questionnaires.

Now, after year-over-year revenue hikes of 50% to 100% and selling hundreds of thousands of skincare products to guys in over 40 countries, the direct-to-consumer company is extending into body care and hair care to get closer to providing them products to complete their everyday routines. The expansion into shampoo, conditioner, scalp treatment and body wash pushes Lumin’s assortment to 19 stockkeeping units. Products can be bought a la carte or via subscription. On their own, body care and hair care product prices run from $10 to $15, but they can be purchased at a 20% discount on bimonthly replenishment for $8 to $12.

Lumin’s haircare and body care is loaded with natural ingredients such as keratin, tea tree, peppermint, jojoba, ceramides, aloe vera and green tea leaf extract. “While we may not be the only company on the market offering men these ingredients, we’re proud to offer them at prices much fairer than our competitors,” says Gani. “To us, the most exciting part about this release is that we’re satisfying a longstanding demand from our customers. Practically ever since we started Lumin, our guys have been asking us for hair and body products.”

Lumin co-founders Richard Hong and Darwish Gani
Lumin co-founders Richard Hong and Darwish Gani

Gani mentions that 80% of Lumin’s customers start out as subscribers and, even if they cancel their subscriptions, they come back and buy products. “About half of all people that get a free trial become subscribers,” he shares. “Individual or one-time purchasers account for the smallest portion of our customer base.” Lumin’s skincare duo with a Charcoal Cleanser and Moisturizing Balm is its gateway product package.

Lumin discloses it reached an eight-figure sales total last year. Among its investors are the firms Gradient Ventures and Base10 Partners, and the founders of Thrive Market, TicketMonster and BarkBox. Lumin is part of Pangaea Holdings, a company specializing in DTC consumer product goods brands with international bents.

“While we may not be the only company on the market offering men these ingredients, we’re proud to offer them at prices much fairer than our competitors.”

Similar to many beauty and grooming startups, Lumin originated from a particular problem. Hong was dealing with acne and signs of aging, and wasn’t sure where to get products for his issues. He realized other guys could use assistance, too. Lumin’s messaging revolves largely around helping men with experiences akin to Hong’s sort through personal care.

“Sometimes it could just be as simple as a guy using bar soap on his face and not understanding the pros or cons of doing that,” says Gani. “So, actually showing them that, ‘Hey, this is a thing that you are doing, but you could be doing better and here’s why.’” He notes men often don’t ask for the products they want for dark circles, for example, because they don’t know what to ask for. As a result, it’s up to Lumin to direct them to eye cream or a different product right for them. Another approach the company has taken is to talk about skincare as a means of self-improvement. Gani says, “That can be in all facets of life: Going to the gym, eating healthier, meditation, reading or learning, and skincare is kind of just an extension of that general trend.”

DTC specialist Lumin started nearly two years ago with affordable men’s skincare and reached an eight-figure revenue sum last year. Now, it’s branching into haircare and body care with shampoo, conditioner, scalp treatment and body wash.

Lumin has entered the market at an advantageous time. Men are increasingly becoming interested in tending to their exteriors. According to Allied Market Research, the men’s personal care segment is advancing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% and is expected to hit $166 billion in sales by 2022. Lumin is certainly not alone in the segment. Maapilim, Brickell, Caldera + Lab and Bruvy are among the myriad of emerging men’s skincare players.

In its short stint in business, Lumin is encouraged by the relevance of its products to consumers that aren’t coastal elites. “In the beginning, we thought maybe our product would be more of a niche thing for certain kinds of guys, but we quickly realized that the interest in grooming products and skincare was much more broad,” says Gani. “It’s deep in Middle America, it’s deep in urban areas.” Lumin sells on Amazon as well as its website. Once retailers shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic are active again, Gani suggests distributing to them could be an option. He says, “It’s not beginner-friendly to buy online.”

With brick-and-mortar locations currently closed, men not accustomed to shopping online are getting a crash course in it. Lumin’s prowess is suited to the new reality. Still, it’s not an opportune moment to introduce new products. Gani says the company is moving forward with its haircare and body care product launches in a “softer” manner than it would under normal circumstances. It’s not running advertising or social media content specific to the releases and is donating 15% of proceeds from online orders to Global Giving’s COVID-19 Relief fund.