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Rashi Goel

Do difficult things right: Traya

Do difficult things right: Traya
Reading Time: 6 minutes

You know those annoying problems that bug us every day? Problems for which the solution comes in many parts? And most companies tackle just one part and call it a day?

Then there are those rare gems who solve every piece of the puzzle and create something totally unique.

That’s Traya health. They’re taking on the big bad wolf of hair loss made worse thanks to Covid. They have bolted together Ayurveda, Dermatology, Expert Advice, and Nutrition into one whole, and that’s how they are a Category of One business.

I’m totally in awe of their approach, and I’m breaking it down into three key points:

  1. Their product and experience are top-notch.
  2. Their price tag decides who their consumers are. And how big they can go.
  3. Their communication and 10x growth game – I think they might be missing a trick here.

1. Their product and experience are top-notch.

Preventing hair loss and getting those luscious locks back requires a whole bunch of good habits all at once – diet and lifestyle, and using products regularly. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Keeping up with good habits can be a real pain. Traya, though? They make it look easy.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of their product journey.

Their diagnostics are straightforward.

Right after diagnostics, they share the root cause and treatment plan (not shared as screenshots).

The whole process is smooth sailing – you can book a chat with their experts anytime.

Testimonials are just a click away.

After the treatment plan, they share what success will look like over the next few months.

The treatment involves using as many as four to five products in a single day, over three to nine months.

And let’s not forget their products. They’re little packages of confidence – ayurvedic recipes and slick packaging that gives pharma-vibes.

Sticking to this protocol is tough. That’s why they’ve turned using their products into a game. The more you stick to the routine, the bigger the discount on your next purchase.

And you know the icing on this cake? They have a 5-month money-back policy – if a user has followed the recommended treatment for 5 months and has not seen improvement, they can get their money back.

Their product screams credibility and will get them the win.

2. Their price tag decides who their consumers are. And how big they can go.

Traya’s stuff doesn’t come cheap. It starts at around Rs.1,800 a month. That’s definitely on the higher end for India.

Their target market? The 26-60 million folks in India who’ve got cash to spare.1

Here’s some back-of-the-envelope math. Even if they serve just 1 million affluent Indians who pay them Rs.1,800 for 5 months, they will hit a topline of Rs.9 billion. That’s $104 million and some change. It’s a unicorn just waiting to happen.

The beauty of high-ticket size businesses is that they don’t need to burn a lot of money to reach the ‘masses.’

Thus far, they have reached about 150k consumers. They need to 10x this. But the playbook needs to be nontraditional and credible – just like their product.

That’s why they need to stop wasting time making traditional TV ads. Let’s talk about their communication game.

3. Their communication and 10x growth game – I think they might be missing a trick here.

They had a smart launch playbook that packed a strong one-two punch – awareness and urgency. They conducted a study on the state of hair loss across 500,000 men and then published the results. These articles also mentioned the importance of tackling hair loss before hair follicles are permanently damaged.

They kicked things off with cold, hard data. And guess what? They keep that data-driven conversation going strong.

“Of more than 1,00,000 cases Traya has handled last year, 76% had digestion issues, 78% had dandruff issues, 52% had anemia, 36% had IBS, 22% had thyroid, and 16% had PCOS.”

Altaf Saiyed, cofounder at Traya

With a jaw-dropping 93% success rate with 150,000 customers, they’re not just talking the talk. They’re walking the walk.

The hair loss game has left users dissatisfied with the rank aftertaste of promises left unfulfilled. People have tried all sorts of stuff – shampoos, hair masks, oils – but nothing seems to stick. Enter Traya. Their superpower? Proven, data-backed credibility.

This rings true when I read about the founders, they are like toddlers eyeing that cookie jar – committed to getting their hands on the best hair loss solution that science has to offer. When they raised $2.2 million in 2022, they wanted to double down on R&D, beef up the personalized hair growth journey, and hire the right talent.

Now, let’s talk communication. The traditional ad agency cookie-cutter formula – cute storytelling sandwiched between a celebrity endorsement – has run its course.

Unfortunately, Traya seems to have been ill-advised here. They’ve roped in Rajkumar Rao and pumped out some decent ad films. But truth be told, it’s the wrong play altogether.

The essence of the Traya brand lies in the pact between Traya and the user – it’s all about sharing the load. Traya will do the heavy lifting, but the user will also have to step up and stick to the routine.

The Traya user journey is personalized and high-touch. The product delivers. But signing up is complex. And success hinges on forming solid habits. That’s why the role of communication is to demonstrate and demystify.

  • First, showcase and explain how the product works.
  • Two, demystify the sign-up process and each product.
  • Third, build confidence through glowing testimonials a la Sensodyne

Traya does not need to go ‘mass’. It needs to get razor-focused on affluent Indians. That’s why the growth flywheel will be powered by word of mouth, affiliate, and referral fees.

Generous referral fees should incentivize current users to get more users in, to get that discount on their next month’s purchase.

Here’s a channel they need to consider – where do we go for hair care? Salons. Who do we turn to when hair loss becomes a nightmare? Salon experts. And let’s not forget how L’Oreal built its hair color business in the 90s – through salons. Who better to champion and spread the word about Traya than salon professionals?

Salon professionals will help Traya target only high-end neighborhoods and avoid burning cash. Plus, they will bring a personal touch to an otherwise faceless journey. This is going to be key to winning the next 850,000 users.

A Category of One business comes from strategic clarity. For Traya, that clarity was to offer a holistic solution to a difficult problem. Once there is an early product-market fit, it’s time to crank up the growth funnel and make the message razor-sharp.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. if you liked this breakdown, read my newsletter on Phool, another Category of one business that’s recycling temple flowers.


1 The Goldman Sachs report on affluent Indians estimates that there are 60 million with an income greater than $10,000/per year. As per the same report, 40 million invest in Mutual Funds or take at least one flight a year. Goldman Sachs uses Euromonitor data, which I have found to have small sample sizes. Call me a pessimist, but I think 60 million is high. So I will go with 40 million mutual fund investors, which can be validated from BSE/NSE – if you can invest, you can pay for hair loss treatment for 5-9 months.

In an earlier post, One India Four Markets, I took 2016 survey data from ICE360 and 2012-13 GDP rates to arrive at 13 million affluent Indians. The sample size and source is robust but dated. Even if it is off by 100%, one can safely assume there could be 26 million affluent Indians.

That’s how I think the audience range for Traya is between 26-40 million.