The Muslim Youth Council of Entrepreneurs (MYCOE) recently caught up with Azhar Moosa, founder and owner of The Grewm Company to learn more about the idea and vision behind his business and how he is shifting male grooming into the mainstream in South Africa.
MYCOE: Male Grooming is an interesting business to be in Azhar, still in it’s infancy in terms of gaining traction with the male population in SA, but definitely becoming a huge industry worldwide. How did you actually get into it and where did The Grewm Co start?
Azhar Moosa (AM): Yes definitely, it is still growing in SA and makes it an exciting space to be in – especially if we can achieve the same type of saturation as the international markets. The plan to get into male grooming actually started with myself as the first customer – I had just gone for Hajj and started growing my beard. Many men will probably attest to the fact that growing a beard is actually quite hard work – as the length increases, the irritation and itchiness becomes very uncomfortable and sometimes looks untidy. Not willing to stop growing my beard, I went out looking for a product that will make the process easier and help keep my beard hair healthy and soft. I didn’t find any products specifically for beards and realised that there is a definite gap in the market for this product.
MYCOE: And that is how the Grewm Co was born, what, 6 years ago?
AM: Yes it was about 6 years ago, but it actually was not yet The Grewm Co. I started out with another brand called Lihya – which means beard in Arabic – focusing solely on beard products.
MYCOE: Ah, that is interesting. How did you take that brand to market?
AM: Once we got the product to the right standard – which was a beard cream – we launched it at the Eid Shopping Festival in Johannesburg. It was a great learning experience to see how our product, pretty much the first of its kind, would be received by customers. Our stall had a banner up with a caption that said “For the bearded man in your life”. It was quite funny to see how heads turned when people, even females, walked past the stall once, then twice, and eventually built up the curiosity to come and ask exactly what are we selling. From there, the brand and product was launched and it has been an incredible journey driving the business of men’s grooming products in SA.
MYCOE: That’s phenomenal, a great way of getting people’s interest piqued and force them almost to come learn more. That was Lihya, but we are here speaking about The Grewm Co now – how does that fit in?
AM: Lihya was a great product but I realized that it had limited scope due to its narrower focus which led to the creation of The Grewm Co around 8 months ago. The Grewm Co has a much bigger vision and plan.
MYCOE: So what’s different about The Grewm Co?
AM: The Grewm Co is more than just beard care products, the vision is to create a complete men’s grooming brand that aims to offer high quality products at fair prices. It will be easily available from both barbers and mainstream retail stores and provide an exceptional product experience that will keep customers coming back.
MYCOE: That sounds very exciting. At the moment, what products are available?
AM: Currently we produce a Hair, Scalp and Beard Oil in 4 different variants, or scents. The oil nourishes and softens the beard, but is also great to apply to dry scalps or as a leave-in hair oil. It’s actually a very versatile product that has been specially formulated – in a lab – to provide the best results for our customers.
MYCOE: You mentioned it is formulated in a lab – how did that come about?
AM: When producing the product, I went through about 6 different manufacturers of this type of product. Trying my hardest to find the best partner that could give me the best service and quality for my customers. It took about 6 months before I was happy with the end-product which required tons of testing with different ingredient mixes and formulas. Once I got it right, it was a very exciting moment and meant that I could finally launch the brand.
MYCOE: Spectacular – I noticed on the bottle that it says “Made in South Africa”. That is great to see.
AM: Yes that’s correct. Our products are manufactured locally and bottled right here in Johannesburg. It has been great to work with local business people and help create something with true South African roots. Initially it was difficult to actually find the bottles and packaging that I wanted, but once I found the right partners, it was a great process to get exactly what customers would love.
MYCOE: Where do we actually find Grewm Co products?
AM: Currently it is stocked in some of the great barbers that we have in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Places like the Hair Colonel, a chain of men’s grooming stores in the Sandton area, Celebrity Men’s Grooming in Rosebank, i-Cut in Fourways and other similar stores. The plan however is to have the product available through more stores and, in fact, in the spirit of launching entrepreneurs, the Grewm Co will soon be establishing an agent reseller model throughout the country which will make our products a lot easier to find. To get your hands on the product immediately you can purchase online at www.grewm.co.za and we are offering free door to door delivery.
MYCOE: That’s great news – can’t wait to see it at my barbershop as well. Finally, where to next for The Grewm Co and Azhar Moosa?
AM: The focus now is to drive our vision, move into a wider range of men’s grooming products and get them into customer’s hands across the country and beyond. We are hard at work testing new formulations, including a hair pomade and wax, which I am really excited about. The overall philosophy is to keep giving our customers products that they love using and makes a difference to their lives. This requires us to become a High Performance Learning Organisation or HPLO, which is a business or organisation that continues to learn through innovation and taking in feedback from both customers and the environment, and in so doing, drive high performance.
MYCOE: I am really looking forward to see where The Grewm Co goes and to try out the new products you have coming up. Thank you so much for the time Azhar and giving us these great insights. Good luck!
AM: Thank you Zia, I look forward to attending your MYCOE events which I believe is much needed and will serve as a catalyst and game changer in many established businesses and startups.
To get your hands on some of The Grewm Co’s awesome products, go to www.grewm.co.za. Follow them on Instagram. Look out for their products at some of the great barbers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and soon across SA.
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