Simon May of Dapper Dan hair products has put in many hours of hard work in order to enjoy the success he has today with his brand, and over the years, he has learned some invaluable lessons he would like to share on product development in the barbering industry.
Simon takes up the story. “The hardest part of product development is knowing when to stop! Dapper Dan’s first offering ‘Matt Paste’ took me 10 years and five different cosmetic labs to perfect. But in reality, the time spent agonising over this exceptional product was as much to do with my own inexperience as it was the difficulty in creating such a unique styling product.
“As the Matt paste was my first product, I wanted it to be everything to everyone. And although we achieved as close to this as humanly possible, as time went on and as the Dapper Dan styling range grew, it became easier to focus in on the unique attributes of each product. Tailoring each development to specific requirements, in order to build a balanced and effective range of grooming products for men.
“Cosmetic product development is all about consistency! The process of development is long and difficult, with many obstacles and disappointments. This is why staying consistent with the brief and objectives from the start is paramount.”
Simons top tips for product development.
1. Be confident! Remember that you are a professional in your field, and the chemist or company you commission to produce your products don’t have that same level of practical experience.
2. Trust your gut! If you’re talking to a potential cosmetic company about developing a bespoke range of products, Make sure you feel they are suitable from the start and are listening to your unique requirements.
3. Start Small! We all have two or three favourite products that we work with as barbers. Start by developing one or two of these first. You know these products best and you can keep costs down with development fees.
4. Be original! As the barber industry has grown over the past 10 years, so has the amount of men’s grooming brands along with it. Avoid market saturation by developing products and a brand that offers something new.
5. Have Fun! The road to completing a successful development and taking delivery of your first batch of products can be long and hard. I remember looking forward to the early Dapper Dan samples turning up like it was Christmas day. Then testing the products in my shop with my team and involving clients etc was all very exciting.
Over the past 10 years, Dapper Dan’s global presence has grown exponentially. As has the range of Dapper Dan products.
“Considering we started with just one product, it’s crazy to look at how the brand and range of products has grown and evolved. This is mainly due to Dapper Dan being represented in so many markets around the world. Each one having slightly different hair types and cultural styles.'”