One female founder is taking on a male-dominated industry by getting under its skin. She's developed a line of men's personal care products with "edgy design and personality." Helix founder Sindhya Valloppillil Kalghatgi says its mission "is to provide affordable luxury grooming for professional men."
Watch Kalghatgi pitch her start-up to angel investor Nisa Amoils, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder Charlie O'Donnell and television personality and fashion designer Carson Kressley. Watch the video to find out if the CNBC "Power Pitch" panelists were in or out.
Products with personality
According to Kalghatgi, "Most men's grooming brands are extensions of women's brands, or they lack a complete product offering, unique design and product and global appeal." So she teamed up with Todd Smith to create a line of products using masculine names and edgy descriptions. For instance, candles, hand and body washes fall under the "Game Collection," which consists of three different scents: "The Pointman," "The Wingman" and "The Closer." Kalghatgi said the idea for these names were derived from the military.
Currently, these items, along with lip balm, are only available for presale. Kalghatgi told CNBC that Helix plans to roll out hair care, skincare and fragrance products next.
This isn't the pair's first run at building a brand. Previously, they worked in various roles at major skin care companies including Zirh, which specializes in men's grooming and shaving products.
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Helix is entering a crowded, but thriving market, according to a report by market research company Canadean. The report found that the U.S. male grooming market hit $4.74 billion in revenue in 2014. That number is expected to grow 6.3 percent every year for the next five years, surpassing $6 billion by 2019. This reflects sales of aftershave, cologne, razors and preshave products. Top performers in this space include razor giants Gillette and Schick.
During the "Power Pitch" segment, Amoils asked Kalghatgi about sampling and distribution.
She said her company is in talks with two major retailers, including a global brand. "It's one of the best acquisition channels for brands," Kalghati said. "In addition to that, we're going to use brand ambassadors. We will be primarily focused on direct to consumer, though, online."
Kressley then asked how Helix separates itself from other e-commerce sites with the same name.
Kalghatgi said the other brands are not mainstream, emphasizing that the current Helix site is just a soft launch.
Helix is self-funded and headquartered in New York City with four employees. A portion of the company's profits go to "Ball Support," the male equivalent to the Pink Ribbon Foundation.