Pierre Entremont, an HEC graduate, was kind enough to spend some time with me to discuss his venture, Dandybox.
Pierre started his career in a cushy finance job, at a Private Equity firm. He described that life as a “Golden Cage”, and said he dreamed of more adventure, freedom, risk and potential reward. In other words, he wanted to be an entrepreneur instead! Even so, he described it as a difficult decision, even though he seem extremely happy with the outcome – his current startup.
He’s hesitant to talk about his time at Rocket Internet, the famous “clone factory” run by the reclusive Samwer brothers, other than to say it’s very well run, very professionally, and a lot of bankers and consultant-types are part of it.
Dandybox, his current startup, is a subscription on a gift box that you receive monthly, and that contains beauty and lifestyle products. Sounds familiar? That’s because JolieBox and GlossyBox do exactly the same! But, as the name suggests, Dandybox does a version for men. That, too is not a complete novelty – JolieBox has a version for men. But Dandybox has a 100% men focus, and as such should be able to execute better.
The first box, that will go out next month, will cost 25 euros, and can be bought separately or part of an ongoing subscription, or can be shipped to a friend as a gift. It will contain about 120 euros worth of merchandise. The exact contents are still a mystery, but wait – 120 euros worth of stuff for 25?? How is that possible?
The secret is that most of the products are given for free by the beauty companies. Why? Because the audience is so insanely targeted, that the l’Oreal’s of the world would bend over backwards to put free stuff in the hands of this audience. And they do. But it’s not limited to that. Other lifestyle stuff, like magazines, books – the sky is the limit. The only requirement is that is that men will like it!
The key to marketing such a product is being written about by the right type of press – beauty related blogs, lifestyle magazines, etc. To “prime the pump”, they started their own lifestyle blog, the Dandyblog! That way, they control one slice of the content machine, and it gives the other press a reference. They are making deals where bloggers can give away free boxes as contests for their readers, to motivate them even more.
The launch just took place on June 13. It resulted in some good press coverage, and 200 initial orders! The first box deliveries are planned for July, and they are busy finishing up the box design, and the content for the first month.
To pull this all off, their team size is 7, and it includes a top-notch creative designer, a photographer, a developer, a PR person, and the two co-founders, Pierre and Charles.
Their funding level is purely love money, and when asked about seeking external capital, to my great surprise, they’re not planning on it! And when you think about it, all their costs are variable, and because the subscriptions and orders are prepaid, and immediately profitable, they are essentially cashflow-positive from day one! It’s one of the rare business where you can make a direct leap to profitability with a reasonable amount of cash and without ever seeking capital.
When asked about institutional investors, he says he likes the idea of not having to be “treated like crap” by them, and it was one of the things that made this business idea appealing to them. Their target is to have 2000 paying subscribers by the end of the year which lead to (do the math!) 500ke of yearly revenue. From there on, international expansion is on the table, and going into other markets.
Dandybox is one of those ideas you wish you had yourself – but don’t kid yourself, it’s still all about executing well. These guys are certainly doing that, and we’re looking forward to seeing the first Dandybox land on our doorstep!
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