We all like a groomed brother, don’t we ladies. That fresh trim, the beard that connects, the smell of aftershave. OK let me simmer down. I managed to get a hold of a Mr Aaron Wallace. Founder of The UK’s first Black owned grooming brand, Shear & Shine. When I found out that they were only based in East Croydon, I had to get in contact.
Shear & Shine, not only have their own barber shop, but provide a brand of affordable products that are specifically designed for the black man. Beard oils, shampoos, conditioners and even fragrances.
*As a black owned business; our aim is to cater to black men in all things related to beard, skin and Afro Caribbean hair care. Our aim is to continue developing, designing and testing products and services specifically tailored to our community’s needs and delivering on the promise of great customer service with a simple shopping experience.*
That sounds pretty good to me. A company that knows what they are talking about, because they cater for people that they can identify with . Simple as that.
Looking after yourself and self grooming is sometimes only targeted towards women, which is all good, but the fellas need some TLC too. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look after yourself and maintaining your hair. It’s actually nice to see a King know what he’s doing and helping other Kings.
Anyway, let me stop and let’s see what the man himself had to say.
What is the story behind Shear & Shine, how did it get started?
When I was working with Start Young Global, a resource hub I launched in 2013 with my business partner Lina Gadi, I noticed the lack of emphasis being placed on Customer Service in a lot of the Afro-Caribbean barbershops and I wanted to change this.
I opened the Shear & Shine barbershop in 2014 with the ambition of developing a male grooming brand dedicated to Afro hair and skin that would put customer service and quality at the centre of its ethos.
In 2016, we launched the Shear & Shine grooming range as part of this long term vision.
What is the end goal for Shear & Shine and what is next?
The end goal is to have developed a brand that focuses on solving the everyday grooming problems faced by men of colour and to make those solutions accessible, high in quality and customer focused.
I would like for us to be able to walk down the aisle in a shop on the high street and be able to pick up products that work on our hair, just as easily as you can pick up any other hair/skin care product.
Who or what is your inspiration?
I would say my biggest inspiration is my mum and my daughter, my aim is to give both of them the quality of life they deserve.
What is your favourite product made so far?
I actually have two that I use every day and am a big fan of, the Hair & Body Shower Gel smells amazing and actually feels refreshing after a shower so I use it daily. My second favourite product is our Regal Beard Oil, which I use as part of my beard care routine.
I used to have trouble growing a thick beard, a problem I know others are facing too, but after I started using our Beard Oil, I genuinely noticed a difference and so have others.
I am not just saying this to plug, obviously I am a fan of our products, I wouldn’t be selling them otherwise but even if you ask our existing customers, they will tell you the same. Many have come back to us with stories of others noticing a difference in their hair and beards.
One piece of advice for black men.
Take care of your hair! It’s a simple thing to do that requires a little bit of reading to understand your hair type and a routine that includes shampooing, conditioning and moisturising your hair at least once a week. It makes a huge difference to your hair cut too. Healthier hair, cuts better and looks fresher after a trip to the barbers.
A few facts behind the mind/minds of Shear & Shine
Lina Gadi: “I have a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communication, I speak three languages fluently and I absolutely love travelling.”
Aaron Wallace: “I have a musical and business background, I love reading and self development, and I am also a bit of a nerd, I love all things Marvel, DC, Anime etc!”
What’s one thing you think black people need to start doing?
Strengthen our community bond. We need to start feeling a sense of obligation towards one another. When I say obligation, I mean educating, developing, investing, supporting and nurturing each other’s development and progression. Each one teach one.
Have you found that black people have been supportive of the business? (Friends, family, customers)
Yes. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the sheer volume we have received so far from the black community in the UK and worldwide. From media outlets who are happily writing about us, to those who proudly share our story, to paying customers. Everyone has been very supportive in our journey so far and I am extremely grateful.
And finally. One piece of advice for anyone who is planning to open their own business.
Do you research, understand your business and market inside and out. Commit to self development and constantly strive to learn. I spend a lot of time reading and learning about different business practices/strategies, valuable skills, the industry etc.
So there you have it, a black owned business in London, that caters to our Black Kings.
I wish them the best success.
Go check them out. http://www.shearandshinegrooming.co.uk