Self Belief 002: Barber launches Britain’s ‘first black-owned male grooming brand’
An entrepreneurial barber has launched what he says is Britain’s first black-owned male grooming brand after seeing a massive gap in the market.
Aaron Wallace started selling his Shear and Shine range at the start of 2016 and has been overwhelmed by the demand for it with orders already coming from the US.
The 30-year-old from south London, who opened a barber shop of the same name as his range in 2014, said: “Since opening the shop I found clients faced issues with their hair and skin and asked me to recommend products.
“Black hair is different so it was hard to point them to products that would help as there aren’t any companies made by someone like myself understanding those needs.
“When you walk into the big retailers all you see is the same big brands with products not tailored to the needs of black hair and skin.
“From there I started working on different ideas and formulas.”
Mr Wallace started working on the range with his business partner Lina Gadi, who worked with him on their previous project Start Young Global, a resource hub for young entrepreneurs.
That previous success is now on hold while they develop the Shear and Shine range, including peppermint scented Regal Beard Oil (£13) to clear blocked pores and five different aftershaves, which has all been tested on the barber and his friends and family.
Mr Wallace said: “We really didn’t expect such a massive viral response to the products. We are the first to bring these into the UK markets and it shows how many people of colour are facing the same issues.
“The dream is that when a young black guy thinks “my hair is dry” – I want him to think of us for a product to help with that.
“I want to be in the huge retailers right next to L’Oreal etc, serving our community.”
Mr Wallace has been a self-employed entrepreneur since 2012 and did a degree in music, which helped launched a music career.
He also worked with young people at The Prince’s Trust and went to the Houses of Parliament with his Start Young Global work with 26-year-old Ms Gadi.
He used money from his music career to open his barber shop in Croydon after he felt customer service at other businesses was not up to scratch.
He said: “I wanted to create a barber shop where everything was done professionally to a high standard and where everyone takes pride in what they are doing.
“I wanted to focus on the grooming side as well.
“It is very challenging because when you decide to be an entrepreneur it is very daunting because you have not got that safety net of a job. During the early stages you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of things.”
Mr Wallace has achieved a lot in his 30 years and said it was his mum who inspired him to achieve his dreams.
He said: “She always had the philosophy “if you don’t try you don’t know”. She told me to try it because you never know how far you can take it.
A guide to SKINCARE FOR BLACK MEN: https://t.co/OyuTCfL6wq
— Shear & Shine (@ShearAndShine) February 9, 2016
“I am also inspired by my friends and family. The people you keep around you are very important. My friends push me to do better with their successes”. Finally the businessman shared his advice for anyone else who wants to achieve their dreams. He said: “You have to be headstrong and have self-belief in what you want to do. Make sure you are passionate about it.
“Young people have a lot of different talents and a lot of different skills.
“It is hard to give advice because everyone is an individual but just be passionate about what you do and don’t do anything half-heartedly.
“Study your craft, put the time in and learn how things are done.”
Shop Shear and Shine here.