Glossybox launches its men’s box

Glossybox is a fascinating concept. You register, pay your subscription and each month you get a box full of fairly generously sized samples of the latest products and can even write about them to earn a free box. It’s a great way for people to try new stuff, relatively inexpensively, and companies get their products into the hands of potential customers. With plenty of beauty junkies out there you can see why it’s a popular idea and why many of my female pals rave about it

The question is, will men buy into it too? Just launched, Glossybox For Men (there’s a joke there somewhere but I’m too polite to make it) lands on your doorstep four times a year for £15 (plus £2.95 P&P) a pop and contains ‘a selection of products from high-end, on-trend and specialist niche brands’. The first box, above, contains two samples of existing YSL fragrances, an ingrown hair treatment from Shaveworks, a Clarifying Face Mask from Murad, two body products from Vitru and a shampoo and a hair gel from Goldwell.

Clearly, as someone who works in the industry and who gets to sample a lot of products already, the box isn’t aimed at me but the Shaveworks product is one I haven’t come across before so I guess in that sense it hit the spot. The fact that, like a lot of men, I’m folically-challenged didn’t exactly endear me to the styling gel and including two YSL fragrances seems a bit lazy but it contains a fairly interesting range of products and the packaging is superb.

So will Glossybox be a huge hit with men? My instincts (and of course I may be wrong) is that it won’t. And to remove my industry bias I asked a few of my male friends what they thought. They all loved the concept but all said the same thing: why would I pay for samples? One guy, who buys most of his grooming gear online, said he often gets free samples with his purchases anyway and though he was always keen to try new stuff he wasn’t that keen. Another likened it to buying a compilation album – a bit indiscriminate.

The problem is, men are very different consumers than women. I think we tend to be hard nosed and cynical about samples, we’re hard to please and judgemental. There are men out there who like to keep up with the latest trends and discover the coolest niche brands, of course, but comparatively, they’re the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg that is the male grooming market.

Having worked with several online retailers over the years I know how much men do love to try new stuff but also how much they love getting that stuff for free. What’s more, even though I’m a man I can understand a woman getting excited about trying out a Daniel Sandler mascara for free but will men experience the same excitement and anticipation about trying out a hair gel?

Of course, I suspect as it grows and develops it’ll refine and improve its content. In the meantime, if you’re curious, give it a go.

insider interview: chris beastall, co-founder Niven & Joshua

As well as being one of  the nicest guys in the industry Chris Beastall has managed to make online grooming retailer Niven & Joshua, which he co-founded back in 2008, one of the coolest destinations for men seeking cutting-edge skincare, cult, quirky brands and a first-class service.

Catering for a discerning skincare customer it stocks cult brands like Anthony Logistics, Korres and Cowshed alongside exclusive ones like Japanese brand retaW. With a progressive nod to the future of male grooming you can also find acclaimed Australian brand Eyre, which focusses on organic ingredients, and (one of my fave brands) Bulldog Natural Grooming – one the the best ‘natural’ skincare brands out there.

I caught up with Chris recently to discover his views on male grooming, where the industry is heading and also get a glimpse into his own grooming routine…

GG: What do you think is the attraction to men of buying their grooming gear online?

CB: Prior to Niven & Joshua’s birth we considered opening male grooming salons in a selection of the UK’s most cosmopolitan cities. However, after much research from many sources, we learned that online was the way to go. The primary reason was anonymity, all the data pointed to the majority of men preferring to buy online and not have to face the intimidating, ill-informed sales assistants of department stores with their ailments and concerns.

The emergence of great blogs like The Grooming Guru and grooming guides such as those on Niven & Joshua means men can sit comfortably at their computer, learn, make an informed decision and then buy with the benefit of quick delivery from most e-retailers.

GG: Based on sales, what’s men’s biggest skincare issue would you say?

CB: The biggest skincare issue we see in terms of sales patterns are shaving related. Brands such as Taylor of Old Bond Street are extremely popular. Nearly every man shaves at some point in their life and most are shaving daily. The harsh effects of literally gliding a blade over your skin can easily be countered if you prepare with the right products.

GG: Favourite product you stock and why?

CB: My favourite product(s) would have to be any of the retaW Body Shampoos (shower gels). retaW is a Japanese brand we were absolutely blown away by when sampling it. The ingredients are all organic, highly concentrated and the scents, well, they must be tried to be truly appreciated.

GG: Best skincare tip you’ve come across?

CB: My best skincare tip would be to self-educate. Don’t fall for clever marketing, educate yourself in terms of your skin type and from there learn which products will work for you. We only take on brands we have tested, know work and would be happy to use ourselves.

GG: Desert Island grooming product?

CB: My recommended desert island grooming product would have to be a good quality moisturiser with SPF. It’s important to keep skin hydrated for many reasons and the added SPF is a bonus for warding of premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer.

GG: Who do you think is the ultimate grooming role model for men and why?

CB: I would have to say every man’s father. His toiletry selection was probably limited when you were growing up but he set the ball rolling in terms of intrigue and trial. It’s a cliche but I remember my father showing me how to shave for the first time, and sneaking in to his bathroom to spray on his green and gold bottled Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance.

GG: What are your favourite fragrances and why?

CB: There’s a small perfumery in Belgravia, London called Les Senteurs who offer a niche collection of the finest fragrances the world has to offer. In particular I am a big fan of Editions de Parfums by Frédéric Malle. The pick of the bunch would have to be Carnal Flower or Noir Epices, they are seemingly expensive for the size but one spray is all you need and the lasting scent is magnificent.

GG: How do you think the internet changed male grooming in the last few years?

CB: The internet has been a genuine blessing for the male grooming industry. Previously there was only a limited offering of basic male grooming products in supermarkets and chemists, agreeably there was more on offer at larger, higher-end stores but these being located in major cities made them inaccessible to most. Global accessibility is a major plus point of the internet, as well as anonymity when buying but also the plethora of information available on male grooming e-retailing sites and blogs means men can make informed decision before buying. Ultimately the aim is to look good to feel good, it’s not about vanity just taking care of yourself, being healthy and feeling confident within yourself – every man deserves that.

To check out Niven & Joshua go to www.nivenandjoshua.com

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