NU alum Drishay Menon creates skincare startup for men
February 24, 2021
In the age of Zoom, Drishay Menon (McCormick ’10) said people are paying attention to their skin now more than ever before. But for him, skincare has been a lifelong journey.
Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Menon struggled with cystic acne growing up. He said the experience damaged his confidence, but that there were causes beyond just genetics.
“Men don’t necessarily know how to take care of themselves when it comes to skincare, grooming, and some of the problems that we face,” Menon said. “We haven’t been allowed to talk about it, we’ve not been encouraged to talk about it.”
Through sharing personal experiences with razor burns, dark circles, and acne, Menon and his co-founders Rob McIntosh and Jeffrey Meyers realized there was a gap in the skincare industry. They drew inspiration from their time working at Trunk Club, a Chicago-based company that blends technology with a personalized clothing experience, and in 2018, Bottlecode was born.
The online skincare and personal care retailer is geared primarily toward men building healthy habits. After taking a 15-question quiz, an algorithm matches customers with a set of ingredients that address their individual needs. Then, a list of products is sent to a team of skincare experts and aestheticians, who recommend a regimen.
“They’re able to put their personalized touch on it,” Menon said. “That human touch is kind of the last layer that we put on before it’s sent to our customers.”
Bottlecode hopes to establish itself as a trusted and unbiased partner in the skincare space as it evolves, Menon said. He added that in an industry historically geared towards women, Bottlecode’s focus on men is not an exclusive one.
“This is one opportunity for us to get towards men, but the products and solutions that we solve are for everybody. So we serve men, we serve women, we serve everyone in between,” Menon said.
Menon’s wife, Amelia Chen (Weinberg ‘10) describes Menon as a walking Wikipedia on skincare.
She notes that it takes resilience, grit, and commitment to be successful in the business world, which are facets of Menon’s personality that his family and friends depend on.
“Whenever we turn to him for something, we have full confidence that he’s going to be there, he’s going to give the best that he can, and he’s going to be invested in the problem,” Chen said. “This mission of his to help people in the way that he can, it’s really woven into the fabric of what Bottlecode is. It comes from a very genuine place.”
His brother, Akhil Menon (Weinberg ‘14), describes him as an inherently social person. He said his brother loves to help his friends, whether that’s sharing playlists of music with friends or figuring out a work-from-home setup.
“He just loves recommending solutions and how to live a happier, better life,” Akhil Menon said. “He’s always kind of been obsessed with that, and I’m so crazy proud of him for what he’s doing with Bottlecode.”
Drishay Menon said building Bottlecode required taking a step back and seeing how to pull together data, intuition and experience.
For those hoping to create a startup, Drishay Menon recommends figuring out what excites you early on. Honing your interests, he said, lets you decide what steps to take in your career rather than letting your career decide for you.
“It’s a scary experience to trust and believe in yourself,” Drishay Menon said. “I was able to partner with some incredible founders and incredible individuals that also believed in what we were doing. And we continue today to put one foot in front of the other and try to build something that we believe should exist in the world.”
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