How to grow a male grooming brand in retail

By Abby Vorster
For too long, the cosmetics industry has been hyper-focused on producing beauty products for women. Whether you think of men’s cosmetics as grooming items or enhancement solutions, there’s a real need for beauty brands to broaden their approach and start catering for the rapidly growing male audience. 

The men’s skin care category is currently valued at $122m. Many industry experts agree that male grooming is the fastest growing category in South Africa and across the globe, although retail shelf space for men’s care products remains limited. This is predicted to increase rapidly in the coming years as more and more men are becoming conscious of their grooming and wellness needs. Bigger brands are also realising that men need more TLC when it comes to relatable beauty care.

One local brand making waves in the category is Legends Barbershop. Focused on relevance, value for money and connection, this men’s hair and skin care brand founded by Sheldon Tatchell has evolved from establishing leading barbershops throughout South Africa and in Gaborone, Botswana to launching a range of men’s care products listed in Dis-Chem stores nationwide.

Salil Dhingra, founder and managing director of GAHC with Sheldon Tatchell, founder and owner of Legends Barbershop and GAHC head of sales, Grant Heynes

A match made in heaven

Tatchell had a vision to not only grow the barbershop sector in South Africa but also to ensure the Legends Barbershop brand reaches every household in the country. In order to realise this dream, he needed support in terms of access to formal retailers and guidance on pricing, positioning, sales, merchandising, packaging compliance, logistics etc. Tatchell found the perfect match in Great Africa Hair Company (GAHC), which has a vision to support and grow local cosmetics and personal care brands. 

“GAHC is committed to supporting smaller South African brands by assisting them in gaining access and shelf space in retailers they otherwise would struggle to achieve independently,” says Salil Dhingra, founder and managing director of GAHC. “With our extensive industry knowledge and expertise in overcoming the complexities of formal retail, GAHC is making a significant difference to support and help grow local personal care brands.” 

Invested in localisation

GAHC was established in 2020 to introduce global best-of-breed expertise in hair care and to further develop this category in Southern Africa. The company is also heavily invested in creating bespoke localised product lines for the African consumer. GAHC manufactures its own set of brands as well as provides contract manufacturing services to brand owners. 

“Our core focus is to support South African brands and sell them in a way that is competitive to international brands. We have in-house product development and regulatory expertise and work with a network of well-respected consultants and industry organisations such as the NRCS and Department of Trade and Industry,” he comments. 

Today GAHC represents over 20 major hair care brands and by the end of 2022 Dhingra says this number will be upward of 25 brands. 

Working with a trusted retail partner

Legends Barbershop is the leading barbershop in South Africa as rated by the African Hair Awards Council. A big part of the Legends brand is ensuring customers have a “legendary” experience outside of just a cut. To do so, the brand has been growing its product range, which includes an assortment of top-rated line items, such as beard oils, a wave brush, double-edged blades and many other products for their customers’ daily regimes. 

The aim of the partnership with GAHC was to place the Legends product assortment within reach of most South African consumers who aspire to use and support this popular South African male grooming brand. As a trusted retail partner in the communities that Legends serves nationally, Dis-Chem is the first major retailer to market Legends Barbershop products in its stores. The retail chain has been incredibly supportive of this locally developed and produced male grooming brand. 

Legends Barbershop is relatable, accessible and on the pulse with the latest pain-points, trends and consumer needs in the male grooming category. This is a perfect example of bold thinking and creativity to meet men’s personal care needs. 

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