Who says fashion is the domain of women? Certainly not the team at d’Hybrid–India’s first platform dedicated entirely to various aspects of men’s fashion and grooming, launched in May 2021. In an exclusive chat with The Daily Guardian, founder Kapil Batus talks about his innovative app. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey so far?
A. I began in the world of publishing and content creation in early 2000. I was the creative and fashion director for Rolling Stone and Man’s World magazines in India and worked with several global menswear brands, creating content and advertorials for Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci and Calvin Klein, to name a few. In 2016, I started a niche creative studio, helping fashion houses create commercial campaigns. Some of my clients included top Indian fashion retailers like FILA, Selected Homme, Park Avenue, Parx and Pepe Jeans India.
In recent years, I have seen a rapid shift in the digital ecosystem leaning towards content-led social commerce. I noticed a demand for an exclusive platform that could help urban and aspirational consumers in India discover brands under one channel. So, I decided to build a unique consumer-centric short-format platform that would simplify fashion and grooming.
Q. Why did you think of creating an app instead of a simple retail platform?
A. Presently the landscape for the men’s segment is highly under-serviced. Information and consumer awareness are very fragmented. As consumers evolve, there is a disconnect between consumption patterns and new age habits. So, I decided to launch a digital venture called d’hybrid–a content-led fashion-tech platform aiding urban audiences in India to discover more in the field of fashion and grooming.
Q. What is the USP of d’Hybrid?
A. d’hybrid is designed around new-age consumers and their habits of content consumption in an ephemeral format. Our app aims to simplify the discovery of brands and influence consumers’ fashion and grooming habits. An easy-to-navigate app with minimally designed UI/UX, it is contemporary and offers an immersive personalised experience. This new age platform is supported with AI tech for personalising feeds and creating segment-based community clusters. d’hybrid offers informative and engaging content, ranging from a style directory of essentials that every urban and aspirational consumer needs. The app is customised to allow every user a personalised feed and curated content suggestions. We feel that men are receptive and are opening up to some unconventional grooming products that they never thought of consuming earlier.
Q. What is the most popular offering or service on the app?
A. Currently, we are only offering curated fashion and grooming content. This information is free to be bookmarked or can be shared through social sharing options. The d’hybrid team is working continuously to bring in more value for its existing and new customers. There will be a host of features added to the platform within the next quarter.
Q. How frequently do you update what people see on the app?
A. As our name reflects, we live in a new-age hybrid world of consumption. Therefore, d’hybrid offers curated content to its customers that is updated daily. Every piece of content has a shelf life of a few days or weeks, after which it gets archived.
Q. What have been your biggest challenges in recent times? How have you overcome them?
A. d’hybrid, like every startup, is attempting to build a level of confidence within the B2B market and investor community. Fortunately, the product has been widely appreciated and accepted. It’s just a matter of time till we bring the right partners on board to enable the product to reach a wider audience.
Q. Do you work with partner fashion brands?
A. d’hybrid doesn’t have its own merchandise. However, the brand partners with fashion brands for both content and brand activations. A recent activation was d’hybrid Playoffs, which saw brands like Jack & Jones and Selected Homme join as fashion partners, Svami as a lifestyle partner and LetsShave as a grooming partner with d’hybrid.
Q. Do you plan to expand your services?
A. The idea is first to enable content linked commerce and keep engaging with the community to understand their preferences. d’hybrid’s objective is to offer experiential shopping to its consumers. If a physical store or a women’s vertical is something the customers will expect to have, the brand will address that when it comes up.
Q. What are you working on next?
A. The app is free for use anywhere in the country but once we are established here, the plan is to spread in key global markets as well. d’hybrid is currently working on adding more value for consumers and will be adding an e-commerce section soon. This will be supported with a host of other features that focus on convenience and ease of shopping.
The interviewer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.