Every week we interview some of Britain's brightest independent businesses to hear how they have adapted and thrived through lockdown and beyond.
This week we met Keval Dattani, co-founder of Mo Bro's.
Hi Keval, can you tell us a bit about Mo Bro's?
Mo Bro's is a leading men's grooming brand based in Leicester.
The business started in 2014 with a little bit of friendly sibling rivalry! My brothers, Kunal, Savan and I decided to compete and grow beards to raise some money for charity. However, it wasn't long before all three of us were facing different problems with our beards - from unruly growth to terrible beard itch.
We started researching the market, but there was nothing out there. So, we decided to create our own remedies.
Fast forward to today, and Mo Bro's has sold more than 500,000 grooming products, helping bearded bros solve their bearded problems in 78 countries worldwide.
Who is your business aimed at?
Our customer is the modern gentleman. Typically, they are aged between 25-35 years old with varied interests. Each has the desire to find and buy products that will improve how they look and feel.
Can you talk us through some of your biggest milestones to date?
We have had significant milestones every year since starting in 2014!
In the beginning, it was us giving up our day jobs as an electrician, accountant, and lawyer to focus on the business full time.
Then, as the brand grew, it was amazing to become available throughout all marketplaces online, where PayPal became our biggest income provider.
In our second year, our products were listed with 11 airlines and cruise liners. Our beard care kit was unique to the market and perfect for gifting, so that was a completely new market for us to be able to expand the business.
Then came our appearance on Dragon's Den where we received the largest offer for investment from Peter Jones & Tej Lalvani!
Since then, we have had several fantastic milestones - a string of awards and mentoring followed by our products being sold in stores including Next, Debenhams and Menkind. Mo Bro's products were even chosen to feature on Paddington 2!
How has PayPal helped you reach these milestones?
PayPal has supported Mo Bro's in several ways since 2014.
Firstly, being able to accept payments with PayPal has been critical to us selling online through marketplaces and internationally. PayPal is a universal payment provider which means that consumers trust the product and do not think twice about purchasing through it.
We also enrolled in the PayPal Global Sellers Programme, which has helped us sell more internationally, translating our webpages for us, presenting browsing customers with the right currency and language.
The analytics and heatmaps that PayPal provides have also been incredibly insightful, telling us where our hotspots are for selling and allowing us to focus in the right areas.
Was your business impacted when the UK went into lockdown?
We have always aspired to give back and thought this is the time to stand up and contribute towards our country.
So, we started using our 3D printers and equipment to produce PPE for the NHS, which was sent directly to our local hospital.
PayPal saw our story and shared this in its newsletter to 10,000,000 subscribers. For us as a brand that is huge as it helps us get our name out there. Off the back of this, we saw a significant rise in email sign-ups which was a massive win for us.
In terms of business performance, when lockdown arrived, we did have an initial wobble. But then, as barbershops closed, we saw a 500% hike in sales from customers looking to keep their lockdown manes in check.
Did you make any changes to continue trading during this time?
Our online selling remained the same, and we ran our PPE programme alongside this.
How did PayPal support you?
During lockdown, we had access to PayPal Working Capital. Fortunately, we didn't need it, but it was reassuring to know it was there if needed.
We also continued to sell our products through PayPal's checkout, which meant we were able to sell online throughout.
What does the future look like for Mo Bro's?
We set a goal in 2018 to serve a million beards by 2020, and we are still aiming to hit this!
The accelerated sales we have recently experienced means financially we can invest more into Mo Bro's product development, so we are looking forward to pivoting from men's grooming to also offering hair, skincare and apparel.
Additionally, we are looking to launch a subscription-based service with PayPal as our preferred payment provider.
So, there is lots in the pipeline for us, and we are excited as our journey continues.
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