A New Vision For Men’s Grooming: Maapilim Scores $4M To Advance Gender-Neutral Products Sold Digitally
Maapilim has picked up $4 million to move forward with its mission of modernizing the version of masculinity propagated in the grooming segment.
Participants in the funding round include Viola Ventures, Kaeden Capital, a joint venture of Keshet International and Dick Clark Productions, and Avishai Avrahami, CEO and co-founder of Wix, as reported first by WWD. Maapilim, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based brand primarily focused on a direct-to-consumer model that’s entered 15 Neiman Marcus doors and three Goop pop-ups, is putting the investment toward increasing marketing efforts and its workforce.
“Coming across VCs and investors who get the D2C world is not an easy task, but we were fortunate to have gained partners who do and who understand the power of this category of men’s wellness consumption online,” Jonathan Keren, founder and CEO of Maapilim, and former music marketing manager at Wix. “Raising this round means we can now offer the value of Maapilim’s products to the U.S. male audience in a broader, scalable way.”
Maapilim’s sales have been doubling monthly on pace to hit $3.5 million to $5 million next year. Its revenue progress comes as the men’s personal care and wellness segment is being reshaped to suit millennial tastes, and surging with fresh concepts and a rush of capital. Men’s wellness startups Hims and Roman have amassed $50 million and $88 million, respectively; and retailers Target and Ulta Beauty have amplified presentations of grooming products.
“Male grooming is literally booming right now and is growing much faster than female [beauty merchandise]. Forecasted to reach $60 billion in 2020, the toiletries subcategory is growing faster than any other,” says Keren. “And it’s no surprise, at least for us. Men have been leaning in when it comes to body care, haircare, and are now also chiming in when it comes to skincare. The wish to feel better, look better is universal, but is making giant leaps in the intent men have these days to actually spend.”
“Men have been leaning in when it comes to body care, haircare, and are now also chiming in when it comes to skincare. The wish to feel better, look better is universal, but is making giant leaps in the intent men have these days to actually spend.”
Although they might be universal, striving to look better and practicing self-care aren’t exactly traditional masculine qualities. With male consumers embracing them, established brands such as Just For Men and Axe are tweaking messages for today’s cultural sensibilities and updated definitions of gender. But emerging DTC brands like Maapilim are building businesses from the ground up that aren’t hemmed in by the strictures of old.
“The notion of men consuming quality online was, for some, a challenging one to grasp, but luckily only at first,” says Keren. “We’re seeing a few key players grow mostly in the practical category of problem-solution oriented products: hair loss, erectile disfunction, razor blades. Looking at our data, it’s clear the trend of premium wellness is not exclusive to women, and we’re happy it’s becoming more apparent.”
Maapilim premiered in 2015 with a beard oil and stripped-down design omitting overt signs of testosterone-fueled masculinity. In 2016, it unveiled an art show called “Flowers Are Manly” featuring images of a dozen men interacting with plants and flowers that was covered by around 250 art blogs. Currently, the brand’s assortment spans 30 shaving, beard, skincare, haircare, skincare and body-care items priced mostly from $10 to $40, and steeped in natural oils and extracts from the Mediterranean region. Maapilim’s bestseller is Hair Paste.
“In the Mediterranean area and also the States, manliness is very much defined by machismo and toughness. We think manliness isn’t just about one thing,” Keren told Beauty Independent during an interview earlier this year. “There is a very broad spectrum and, no matter where you are on that spectrum, it doesn’t mean you are more or less manly.”
“In the Mediterranean area and also the States, manliness is very much defined by machismo and toughness. We think manliness isn’t just about one thing. There is a very broad spectrum and, no matter where you are on that spectrum, it doesn’t mean you are more or less manly.”
While its physical distribution has been mounting, Keren foresees brick-and-mortar retailer as amounting to no greater than “a small fraction” of Maapilim’s sales. The brand is enlarging its DTC presence through partnerships with like-minded companies, paid advertising and storytelling via Instagram. Keren explains Maapilim’s customer is comfortable buying grooming products on digital platforms. Ipsy is an upcoming distribution avenue for the brand.
“It’s the cool cousin, the guy in your circle who you call for hotel or restaurant recommendations, the early adaptor who’s fluent in the D2C world,” he says of the customer. “When it comes to wellness, he’s not a buy-off-the-shelf-simply-because-it’s-the-cheapest kind of guy. He appreciates quality and, if reasonable priced and with an authentic story behind it, will go for it.”
Going forward, Maapilim is planning to expand its haircare, skincare and beard product ranges, and pursue artistic endeavors. In addition, Keren imagines extending the brand to new projects that leverage its positioning and aesthetics. “In five years, I want to have a Maapillim hotel or spa. It seems like something we could do really well, and it would be a lot of fun to do,” he shared previously. “The brand is about lifestyle, slow living and Mediterranean oils, and I feel the hotel we’d do would be a really cool hotel I’d want to go to.”
Feature photo credit: Via Tolila