Coffee & Conversation with Chris Beastall of Niven & Joshua
With the male grooming industry growing and men become more interested in our internal and external appearance, brands have taken notice too and we now have an ever expanding range of products. I’ve noticed the rise of natural based brands too, as well as the might of the big conglomerates introducing specialist products. It’s not only about how you dress, but how one looks and feels. The choice is now available for men to navigate what suits us and our lifestyle best.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with the talented gentleman that is Chris Beastall, who set up one of the UK’s leading grooming sites Niven & Joshua several years ago and had seen at first hand the buying trends of men. While also overseeing the introduction of various new brands to the market. I’ve managed to take a moment with him and chat about his involvement in mens grooming in the UK as well as his opinions of where things are heading.
The Nomadic Gentleman: What’s your background and how did you get into the world of grooming?
Chris Beastall: My background is in business management, with a degree in Business Studies and experience in in industry. My entry into the men’s grooming market was really born out of two things; a desire to educate the market, and the realisation that no one was catering for the discerning gentleman looking for skincare products well.
TNG: What was the state of mens grooming when N&J started and how have you seen it grow and evolve into what it is today?
CB: Back in 2007 when we founded N&J, there was next to no retailers online. Supermarkets and chemists sold generic brands but nothing of note. Today, bricks & mortar stores continue to expand their offering and more and more online retailers arrive. Also welcome is the rise of the blogger, hands on experience and reviews are invaluable for consumers when forming a rounded opinion of a product they are considering purchasing.
TNG: What do you think has helping trigger men’s interest in grooming?
CB: Education; press (in various guises) telling men what better quality products can do for their appearance. A necessity, for example if you suffer with oily skin- you can now choose from a whole host of solutions, whereas in the past there were none. And ever so slightly, the recession- men are doing everything they can to get an edge in their industry.
TNG: Do you think that men are taking more interest in their appearance along with health and well-being or is it a fashion thing? I think looking and feeling good should also be more internal rather than just superficial, such as a healthy diet and lifestyle. What would you encourage for men to find that balance.
CB: Absolutely, and this is a great point. We have always tried to promote a healthy lifestyle, being better on the inside, reflects on the outside. Sure there’s some vanity involved but it’s about being healthy, and subsequently looking healthy and feeling confident.
TNG: What’s involved in your daily grooming routine?
CB: I try to keep it simple, despite the temptations. I wash my face twice a day (with a non-stripping/ drying) face wash, scrub twice weekly, moisturiser. A have a beard trimmer, to keep my facial hair in check, so don’t shave. And of course, style my hair.
TNG: What are your top recommended grooming products that you believe men shouldn’t be without?
CB: My #1 for sure, is an SPF moisturiser- not only does it hydrate but it protects the skin from burning and ageing, both caused by the sun. I don’t see a reason not to wear it daily, even if you live in the UK- the sun does penetrate those clouds. Malin+Goetz do a superb SPF 30 Face Moisturizer, which is great for my sensitive skin.
TNG: There have been various people mentioning it’s the end of the beard etc – what do you think?
CB: No. It’s marketing spin created by the razor and blade companies. The beard looks good, and is a fashion accessory nowadays. I can’t see it going out of fashion anytime soon.
TNG: And so what do you think is next for mens grooming?
CB: I hope to see more brands producing products men really want to use. Again, back to Malin+Goetz, their range is so considered (and so well made)- there’s a solution for real concerns, such as ingrown hairs. Bringing out a brand with the basics, is all well and good but be original.
TNG: If you could share a little bit of advice for men who are looking to expand on their grooming regimes, what would you suggest to them when looking to invest in quality products.
CB: Do your research, don’t be fooled by big brands and their vast marketing budgets. We use Grooming Guru- Lee Kynaston for our editorial, he’s very experienced and delivers some fine advice. See what he has to say, and the rest of the internet- particularly bloggers, as they’re like to have actually used the product they review, and not been paid for pure advertising. Summed up, at N&J we don’t want to sell you a product you don’t use, we want to treat your concerns, and for you to be delighted with the results.