WATER-BASED MATTE PASTE
WATER-BASED MATTE PASTE
““By turning your own ideas into something tangible, you have in essence created your own reality. There is no greater accomplishment.”
Steve Lockhart: When did you realize that Nostalgic Grooming was more than just a hobby and that it could blossom into such a successful business?
Dave Leslie: The realization hit pretty quickly after our first launch in April 2016. We thought we would sell a small amount, but everything sold out fast and we started getting wholesale requests almost immediately. We really went out of our way to bring a unique scent profile and look with our pomades and it paid off right away. We were nervous that launching with cereal and soda scented pomades could be a total flop, but luckily it set us apart well enough to establish our own reputation to build on beyond the novelty scents and labels.
Steve: What moment would YOU consider your pivotal breakthrough moment?
Dave: Our opening launch and the following product feedback was overwhelming and surprising to us, but we definitely felt the biggest shift with the release of the Super Water Based and then the Clay.
Steve: Can you discuss some of the challenges you’ve faced growing your business? Especially since you’re such a family-oriented business, what challenges does that bring?
Dave: New product development can be especially tricky. Making test batch after test batch and ordering hundreds of scents to find the perfect blend is a real strain on time and costs. Sometimes the formula or fragrance blend is quick and easy, other times it takes months of development. When you have a busy business and family life, those extra steps can really drain your inspiration and drive. As for family, balancing time with our children when we have a busy launch is definitely the hardest aspect. They do enjoy helping with small things, but they are just children who have activities and needs beyond the evenings and weekends we set aside for family time. Also, summer … that’s a special kind of balancing act.
Steve: You’ve got a bunch of winning products, I’m especially fond of your Moon Paste. You’ve hit a few road blocks along the way though, can we discuss those?
Dave: When we first released our firmer products, the scoop and breakdown was sometimes questioned. We do use a lot of natural and nourishing ingredients, and to get more hold – we had to give up a little ease of use. While our fan base grew to love them, it didn’t feel good to be known as the brand that was great *except*for the hard scoop. We also felt limited in our ability to work with local barbershops and retail spaces where our customer was not a well-versed pomade fan who was able to look past this difficulty. With that, we started working on a different emulsification system. We made every effort to retain the same properties while fixing the scoop and received an overall positive response, but some customers just really loved what we had. Product performance is so individual, and it’s hard to please every customer.
Steve: For people dealing with similar frustrations, do you have any words of wisdom to help them get past these obstacles in their lives?
Dave: It helps to approach your business with the highest focus on integrity, and do your best to balance out the rest as best you can. There will always be customers on extreme ends and you just can’t make everyone happy.
Steve: How did you personally push yourself through your own struggles? (perhaps discuss a specific struggle and how you made your way through it)
Dave: Working in a team, Janelle and I are able to push each other through the lulls as needed. Reformulating was time consuming, costly, and exhausting. Janelle's approach to all things is that we will always find a way, and she put in the extra time required whenever I needed a break.
Steve: This brings us to The Magician! Can you tell us about your experience with The Magician?
Dave: When we were first approached for the project, we instantly knew The Magician would be our card. I had the nickname “Magic Hands” from my reviewing days for the method I used to break down tougher pomades. Also, we felt it was the most playful card that matched our brand identity.
Steve: Can you tell us all about your creation?
Dave: Our Moon Paste has been a popular product since the release so we worked from that inspiration. We took some of the properties of our well-loved Medium Moon Paste and incorporated new ingredients and ratios inspired by our Summer Water Based. Pastes are generally more about texture and less about slick hold, so we worked to make a paste with a little more grip than our Moon Paste while still retaining the ease of use. The scent is a blend of leather, tobacco, bay leaf, and oakmoss. We felt this fragrance was clean enough to match our regular type of scent blends with a darker edge to match the theme of the pomade.
There are 78 cards in a tarot deck.
Each card signifies a different moment in someone’s life.
I’ve always had a strong interest in the occult,
and the stories behind artisan products.
I wanted to find a way to tie that all together.
And this is the year that we’re gonna do that.