The common refrain from analysis of millennials is that we are a mercurial generation, perpetually checking our Snaps and ’grams en lieu of buying cars and hotel loyalty cards. Something not often discussed? That the millennial generation, whose most senior members were born in 1982 (give or take), is getting older and that eventually all those mimosa-filled brunches will start hitting like a ton of Sunday afternoon bricks.
While women are deluged with masks, ointments, and treatments to keep their youth intact, men are often left with an obnoxious corner of the drugstore blasting promises that you’ll be “unforsweatable” or some such fast-food-esque marketing patois. Men’s brand hims, though, is here to change things and offer men’s health treatments with a healthy amount of high-design and trendy marketing.
Often the issue with men’s wellness is that men do not want to admit they are unwell. Calloused hands, ashy skin, loss of feeling in one’s extremities? Suck it up. But in these days of direct-to-consumer brands and venture capitalism, the only thing you can count on is that any and everything is ripe for “disruption.” No problem is too big or too small to address via a subscription plan and clever marketing, and with hims, which sells direct-to-consumer packages for hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and skin care (coming to market soon), no problem is too personal.
Although items are offered a la carte, hims boasts monthly subscription plans that will send you medicine, vitamins, and other essential items to keep your libido up and bring your hair back to life. These treatments take time and dedication, so just popping a couple of biotin won’t cut it. Whether you’re ordering the whole hair-loss package — $44 a month — or getting select items piecemeal, the simplicity of hims might keep a guy regimented and, well, well. It doesn’t hurt that the shipping boxes have secret shame in mind and, thus, are neutral colored with words of encouragement blessedly on the inside.
It’s a bold move to try to get the millennial man to admit that his hairline is receding and his boners are lackluster, but CEO Andrew Dudum, a Silicon Valley vet who has taken his first steps into the wellness business with hims, wants to take the anxiety out of dealing with the ravages of time. “hims is intended to really solve all those uncomfortable issues that, statistically, almost all guys face but that they’re not comfortable talking about,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle by phone. And it’s true — most men will find some hair on their pillows and have brushes with impotence in their lifetime. But in a field crowded with ads featuring middle-aged men fixing up an old Ford or silver foxes confidently brushing back newly firm heads of hair, how do you get young men to listen or, even more damningly, admit that they are no longer spring chickens?
“I have a lot of opinionated sisters and cousins who asked ‘why aren’t you taking care of yourself?’ and it was because they loved me and it was blunt and direct,” Dudum says. “That’s how we market.” If you look over the hims website and packaging, a trend-aware minimalist design dominated by soft browns and cheeky images, it is clear that the brand seeks to take out the clinical and intimidating from men’s health. It puts the “fun” back in “erectile dysfunction” and punctuates ads for Minoxidil — the generic equivalent of Rogaine — with emoji handclaps, even providing you with hair-strengthening gummy vitamins. “This is a brand for everybody, it’s not bottom-of-the-barrel humor or swearing, not so elevated and pristine that normal guys are uncomfortable. It’s accessible,” Dudum says.
If anything, hims does what a lot of startups have already figured out — it offers one-stop shopping from home with a pedigree and personality to back it up. hims aims to be a provider of medicines and treatments that you would want to hang out with. “A wellness brand thinks about the whole guy, it’s your mind, body, and intellectual curiosity. There’s content on the website that has nothing to do with medicine. What are great art exhibits? How does sleep influence sexual performance? That’s a big pillar that we invest a lot in. Be there as a resource across the board,” Dudum says. If Blue Apron is the better way to cook, hims is the better way to stay virile.
Telemedicine, which is indeed a word, allows hims to deliver medicine without the need of a doctor’s office visit. Many of its products are already over the counter, but for the prescriptions, all it takes is answering a few online questions and hims keeps board-certified doctors on hand that you can message via its site at any time (it should be noted that online prescribing is not available in all states). All of its products come with anecdotal affirmations and reassurances about the science behind them.
Notably, though youthful in appearance, hims does not limit itself to the young man. Instead of being just a preventative medicine purveyor, it aims to offer health products for every guy from their acne-riddled youth to their high-cholesterol-addled adulthood. It’s a tall order to get guys interested in the same level of self-care that women’s products aim for, but Dudum has the familiar startup optimism and the ambition to make the common man more conscientious of his well being, one product at a time. “It’s not normal to not take care of yourself,” he says.
According to Forbes, millennial men care about their appearance and general health more than older generations, so hims looks to hit the nail on the balding head and get involved with young men as they grow old. Nobody exactly wants to get hair loss or erectile dysfunction products, but if you have to get them — whether you like it or not — you could do worse than just having it shipped right to you, judgment free.
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