Two women pitching a brand that exclusively sells male intimate hygiene products surely sounds peculiar.
But this oddity might have worked in the favour of Ananya and Anushree Maloo, who just won a deal of Rs 25 lakh for 20% equity on Shark Tank India.
The latest pitch on the Indian version of the US reality show saw the Ahmedabad-based sisters’ showcase their business venture Nuutjob, which sells a range of products aimed at male intimate hygiene.
Introducing themselves as ‘the Maloo sisters’, the 26-year-olds have turned quite a few heads with their bold business idea.
To boldly go where…
The Maloo sisters, who are first cousins, were raised together in a close-knit joint family in Ahmedabad. Born just 15 days apart, they have been each other’s best friends since childhood.
While Ananya worked as a marketing professional in the entertainment industry, Anushree, headed business operations for a modular kitchen company.
The idea to start Nuutjob, they say, came from watching the men around them struggle to find a worthy solution to maintain good hygiene. This was also combined with the fact that male hygiene is less talked about, they note.
Ananya says, “Women have a lot of choices when it comes to products for intimate hygiene. This isn’t the case for men, who also don’t openly talk about it. So, we found a market gap there. That’s how the idea came to us.”
Even though they were clear about their business plan, there were certain challenges that they had to tackle while moving ahead. “Our mothers and grandparents were concerned about our business venture, mainly because we both were at a ‘marriageable’ age. They were worried that if we go ahead with such a venture, we might not get marriage proposals,” Anushree explains.
“We had our photos on our website as founders, and there were people asking us ‘Are you sure you wanna put your photos there?’. It is difficult for our society to accept things if someone talks or does something that is considered taboo,” Ananya notes.
But both sisters, who stood firm on their idea, didn’t want to give up on their business for the worry of ‘What would society think?’. They explained their business idea to the family, and eventually convinced them. “In fact, our fathers supported us the most. They were convinced that we are passionate about our business plan and they stood with us throughout,” she adds.
Anushree says that when the products were out, their fathers were the first ones to try them. “They were happy with the results. While we were working on the formula, they gave us their feedback and helped us develop the products,” she says.
‘Shark Tank changed our lives’
The duo, who conceived their business idea during the lockdown in 2020, spent around one year doing extensive research and testing out the products. “We bootstrapped around Rs 5 lakh as an initial investment for the business, and finally brought out our products online in July 2021. Then, after a few months, Shark Tank happened and changed our lives,” says Ananya.
Talking about their experience, she adds, “It was an amazing opportunity. We were so overwhelmed by the response from all the sharks that we ended up crying. They saw potential in us and supported us. The show gave our confidence a boost, and changed our lives for the better.”
“After Shark Tank, our sales have increased and we have been getting such good responses from customers. We get messages from men thanking us for introducing such a line of products,” she adds.
Currently, Nuutjob offers three products — an intimate wash, a deodoriser, and an intimate moisturiser. “The products work towards anti-chafing, preventing irritation due to sweating, preventing bad odour and itching, and helping maintain a good pH balance,” adds Ananya.
“Moving forward, we are planning to educate people on the importance of such hygiene products. But we really want to explore that trajectory by infusing humour in our campaigns,” concludes Ananya.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)