There’s a common notion that comes alongside being a man — a macho guy, rough with his looks and tough in his demeanour. This is an image cast in stone, a norm that society has come to accept over time. It is what Hitesh Dhingra looked to change when he launched The Man Company in 2015.
At the time, the market for grooming products was more or less dedicated to what women wanted. There was a clear need for a brand that catered exclusively to men. Yet, there was no such offering until The Man Company stepped in.
Ever since the early days, the idea was to not only curate grooming products and inculcate it as part of a lifestyle, but also shatter the stereotypical image that is associated with men. Today, the founder and CEO of The Man Company believes that the market is finally opening up.
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Besides innovative offerings in grooming, they have been driving their message and building an emotional connect with their target audience through viral content such as The Gentleman Show and online blogs, which continue to address and dispel the various cliches associated with men.
Through their International Men’s Day campaigns featuring actor Ayushmann Khurrana and comedian Bhuvan Bam, they have managed to develop an emotional connect with their audience. Receiving touching personal stories from relative strangers has made them realise that their attempt at starting conversations around the lives of men is gradually bearing fruit.
At the heart of it, they want men to accept who they are and be comfortable in their skin. And they want to continue doing so until they manage to change perceptions and social norms around them.
Dhingra talks to Lounge about donning the role of a mentor, why his meetings don’t last beyond 30 minutes and the importance of saying “no” when needed.
Who do you consider your mentor?
I have been fortunate to have two gentlemen as my mentors, Manish Vij and Sachin Bhatia. They were my senior colleagues and then co-founders at Letsbuy and Trulymadly, respectively.
One major insight you worked on with your mentor's guidance?
I’ve worked towards people management, with an aim to create a highly competitive, yet positive work environment.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
The idea is to just be there whenever your mentee needs you, share your honest feedback and guide them towards their goal.
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What's your morning schedule like?
I start my day at 6.30am with an hour-long workout and meditation for 15 minutes. I then spend some time on Twitter to consume world news along with a cup of coffee.
What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have made your professional and personal life much easier?
That would be delegation of work, avoiding procrastination and saying “no” when it is needed to do so.
What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
I try to restrict the meetings to 30 minutes and end every meeting with actionable items. Restricting time ensures that everyone is well prepared for the meeting and the agenda is very specific.
Any book or podcast you would recommend about mentorship and growth?
Leading by Alex Ferguson.
How do you unwind? Do you pursue any serious hobbies?
I hit the gym and like to spend quality time with family and friends.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.
Shail Desai is a Mumbai-based freelance writer.