Clean break for men’s grooming

Nicky Kinnaird

As Watson reminds us, ‘Men weren’t taken to one side by their fathers and told how to exfoliate. So that’s what we try to do with the design of our packs. Women are miles ahead of men in terms of skincare. So we use the packaging design to underline what the product can do for you.’

Further upmarket, where premium brands operate and products have a cachet of their own, the assumption reigns that the customer knows what he is buying, and the packaging becomes less explanatory and more nakedly stylish.

The experience of G-Room on Carnaby Street demonstrates the fact that men who have warmed to the notion are inclined to be increasingly adventurous, provided the environment is a comfortable one.

‘Everyone realises male grooming is a big thing now, but there are not many places men can go that are actually focused on them,’ says Michael Pike, a founder of design consultancy Pikefell. ‘In the past, they have had to go to female-driven environments like beauty halls.’

Like Space NK Men, G-Room aims to create a shopping experience in which men are not the odd ones out, and where grooming is justified by the same consumer logic as male fashion. In-keeping with this philosophy, earlier this month G-Room extended its brand into 15 other independent menswear stores with the G-Pod, a concession containing G-Room’s own line of grooming products, along with CDs, shaving kits and other lifestyle items.

As Watson points out, such adventurous touches – he also cites the increasingly stylish, monochrome ads for Gillette, as well as a celebrity of Beckham’s stature endorsing its products – are signs that the market is moving forward. ‘It is interesting how they are changing direction and tack,’ he says. ‘And it is good, because it shows the market is starting to mature.’

Spending on male grooming products

According to Datamonitor, men in the UK spend £920m a year on personal hygiene products, £278m a year on haircare products, £88m on fragrances and £65m on skincare products.

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