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A Conversation With Manscaped and Cloudinary

At the recent eTail event in sunny Palm Springs, Cloudinary sat down with Rama Annaswamy, the Vice President of Media Technology at Manscaped. With a warm smile and a wealth of experience, Rama dove into the details of Manscaped’s journey with Cloudinary’s image and video API platform, offering a glimpse into the challenges they’ve overcome, the triumphs they’ve celebrated along the way, and his advice for other companies looking to implement Cloudinary.

Before integrating Cloudinary into their workflow, Manscaped faced significant challenges. These included distorted images, localization issues, and cumbersome asset management workflows. They struggled with maintaining image quality while ensuring optimal page loading speeds, which affected the overall customer experience.

“At Manscaped, we’re unabashedly a men’s oriented brand,” shared Rama. “We’re a premium category creator, serving over 10 million men across 40 countries. So we’re international, and we have multiple sites that we work out of. Manscaped is focused on storytelling. We tell a story and bring humor into our products. In the physical world, you can touch the product to understand it. But in a digital medium, you have to convey the message or story through much more detail — which can sometimes be challenging if our digital assets aren’t loading properly.”

“Many of the issues we encountered are not unique to Manscaped,” elaborated Rama. “Back in the day when we had single product lines or one lead flagship product, assets were super easy to manage. And the organic workflows that designers and developers had established worked quite simply. But as our product lines increased, it just became too problematic. We were not able to figure out how those assets were to be handed off, or what the rules or restrictions were. It was just like a lot of conversation and more meetings than trying to get to the actual work. On top of that, we also decided that the quality [of assets] wasn’t great. When I came in, we were sending huge assets like wallpaper-sized assets to mobile devices, which is not optimal. I think a lot of it was a desire for quality; sending large images to small screens obviously makes it much more legible, but then also adds a lot of weight to the page and slows things down so we would get called out on both fronts — both from the quality perspective and from the asset sizes perspective.”

“So what I figured out was that our commerce CDN, which people use to host and send these assets, was overcompressing on mobile, and yet sending large assets,” explained Rama. “So we were finding issues within the tech infrastructure. Meanwhile we still had to tell a story, and the story had new parts: videos, animations, new formats, etc. While our creative machine was churning and turning, our tech was not able to keep up. None of this was scalable as we were transitioning to multiple products each year.”

Rama originally discovered Cloudinary while working for an apparel company called The Children’s Place, which chose to adopt Cloudinary to streamline their asset management, enhance image quality, and optimize page performance. Once at Manscaped, Rama encountered the same challenges and knew he wanted to partner with Cloudinary again.

Since implementing Cloudinary, Manscaped has witnessed significant improvements in their web performance metrics. Faster loading times, improved visual quality, and enhanced user experiences were among the key outcomes achieved through their partnership with Cloudinary.

“From a customer perspective, they see assets much faster,” shared Rama. “For our teams in building these experiences, Cloudinary allows us to continue to work within systems that we’re already familiar with like Asana, Figma, and Strapi. Having the support of the team leads and working with all the teams has been very instrumental in the success of this platform.”

Seeing more optimized images and better image quality across their sites is also a huge win for Manscaped. “That improvement has been the biggest value,” said Rama. “Because we like to tell stories through huge assets. So having those load faster is good. Now, you can see about 90% of the assets in about 7 seconds. Having the consumer see something eye-catching sooner is much more valuable for the designer, the marketer, whoever is trying to get the message across.”

Since Rama has now implemented Cloudinary at two different companies, he offered valuable insights for brands considering similar transformations. He emphasized the importance of choosing the right partners, connecting with the right individuals, and securing investment from all stakeholders to ensure successful implementation.

Choosing the right partners is super important,” Rama shared. “And I feel it’s no longer just about choosing the SaaS partners. It’s also about choosing the SIs in your own team, essentially finding the leads or those who are interested in this area. Personally, I love looking at visual assets and working in the design and technology space. So finding a partner who has that same level of interest is super cool. Then, working with specialists in each of these areas. So once you kind of find this SaaS partner, knowing the product person there or the solution engineer who shares the same concerns or is very interested to solve your question works as well. So getting all these people together in a call usually leads to breakthroughs in how we plan. And then finally making sure that everyone is invested and investment is a term which we need time from both the product teams as well as the partner to come in and invest their time and energy on things that might take time to complete.”

Manscaped’s success story with Cloudinary serves as a testament to the transformative power of innovative solutions in enhancing the customer journey. By leveraging Cloudinary’s capabilities, Manscaped was able to overcome challenges, optimize their workflows, and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers worldwide.

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