July 19, 2023
Financial Review: Could ground diamonds be a man's best friend?
Electrician turned purveyor of luxury haircare for blokes, Patrick Kidd is out to rewrite the rules on male skincare.
Patrick Kidd is possibly the least likely man on the planet to run a global men’s grooming empire. He’s a former electrician, for starters. He spends the first 10 minutes of our interview chatting about Mötley Crüe’s new documentary (“Like Entourage but real … and worse”). And he thinks that most men’s grooming products are “pretty ordinary”.
And yet run an empire he does. Kidd is the founder and owner of Patricks, a luxury haircare line for men. He launched the company in 2015 in frustration over the state of men's hair products.
The owner of a hair salon, Kidd had a feeling he could do better. His line of products – stocked at Selfridges, Harrolds, David Jones and the online retailer Mr Porter (among others) – has won a slew of awards and consistently sells well. In 2018, Patricks was a top-five bestselling brand on Mr Porter and winner of GQ’s hair product of the year. Not bad for a self-described "bloke from Bondi".
Now the brand is heading into skincare. “I was on holiday when I got the idea,” says Kidd. “This guy got into the sauna with me – completely naked. We were having a bit of a laugh about the weirdness of it all and I said, ‘Did you see that Ferrari 599 out the front?’ He said, ‘Yeah, it’s mine. I’m one of the first 10 people in the States to have one.’ I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’.
"This guy” turned out to be Matthew During, professor of neurosurgery at Yale, Cornell and, most recently, Ohio State University with completed fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School. Soon they were talking about skincare.
Kidd had wanted to launch into the field but found the financial barriers to entry too high; During had never found the right commercial partner. As they chatted, they realised they could go into business together with a premium men’s skincare line.“We were in the sauna for a world record amount of time,” Kidd recalls. “My wife thought I’d died in there.”
The challenge was to acquire pharmaceutical-grade medicine and develop it for cosmeceutical needs.
When the two began working together, challenges arose. “He was used to working with the best ingredients; I didn’t know if we could afford the lab to test and develop them. It’s all big pharma ingredients; it’s not bullshit seaweed and rice.”
Eventually they found Bentley Labs in New Jersey, which manufactures for brands such as Perricone MD, Glossier and Kate Somerville. Unable to find contact details for the vice-president of new business development, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Kidd tried every iteration of her email he could think of and rang her phone line “nearly every day”. His persistence paid off: “She told me it was a great idea – if I could be in New York within a week, she’d make time for me.”
The trip was was worth it: not only did Bentley Labs agree to manufacture the products, Fitzpatrick and Bentley's president, Greg Torchiana, wanted to invest.
The money was a boon. “It meant they actually give a shit,” says Kidd.
The challenge then was to acquire pharmaceutical-grade medicine and develop it for cosmeceutical needs. It took almost four years. “But we needed to keep going; if you go to a doctor with a wound, they’re not going to put La Mer on it, they’re going to use medical-grade drugs that will actually help cure you,” says Kidd. “That’s what we wanted to do.”
The proof will be in the pudding come early May, when the six-product line launches globally.
“We wanted to rethink the skincare process for men,” Kidd says. “One of the top-selling products across men’s skincare is eye cream, but whenever I bought it, there’d be a woman telling me to dab it on gently with my pinkie. Guys just aren’t going to do that." Kidd’s version of eye cream is more like a lip balm, with heavy-duty ingredients that stay on the skin longer and sink in more slowly.
Another rethink was the exfoliant. Many on the market have large particles that scratch the skin but do little to remove dead skin cells, he says. “I’m an electrician by trade, I know how sandpapers work! When you want something really smooth, you use a fine-grit paper.” Kidd looked for a super-small particle to exfoliate and found it in crushed diamonds: hugely expensive, but they did the trick better than anything else.
Kidd looked for a super-small particle to exfoliate and found it in crushed diamonds.
The men’s skincare market is estimated to be worth $US57.7 billion ($80 billion). By 2023, it's expected to be $US78.6 billion. "We're definitely seeing a rise in the men's beauty category," says Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis from retail consulting group Retail Doctor. The trend is global, she says, "and Australia is no exception.
"It's small fry compared with the women's skincare market, tipped to reach $US190 billion by 2023, but that's beside the point. “Look, it’ll probably never get to what the women’s market is worth,” says Kidd, “but it's growing, and we want to have a stake in that.
”Kidd started his company with about $175,000 raised from his customer base. Today, revenue sits around $1 million a year.
On April 25, Kidd will present his haircare and skincare lines at Los Angeles’ Beauty & Money Summit, where he hopes to gain further investment or a potential buyer. Representatives from Estée Lauder, L’Oreal and Revlon will be in attendance.
Beauty & Money selects just 12 brands to present each year, and every brand has only three minutes to pitch. Patricks is the only men’s brand invited to the event, and the only Australian participant.
Kidd has brought on a screenwriter from Los Angeles to help hone his speech. “As you can tell, I talk a lot,” he jokes. “So I need a bit of help with that bit.”
You can read the article here: https://www.afr.com/life-and-luxury/fashion-and-style/could-ground-diamonds-be-a-man-s-best-friend-20190412-p51dj6