From Grain to Grooming0
Every guy wants to look their best. Unfortunately, there hasn’t always been a great selection of natural choices when it comes to men’s grooming products. Luckily, a husband and wife team from Kalamazoo has rectified this issue.
Meet Jarrett Blackmon who, along with his wife Bridget, is a Co-Founder of Damn Handsome Grooming Co. (DHGC). Founded in 2013, DHGC specializes in men’s grooming products that are both eco-friendly and effective.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Michigan University, Blackmon worked in the talent recruitment and marketing fields. This career path took him from Kalamazoo to Portland and back again. When the marketing firm he worked for closed, Blackmon knew he needed to decide what was next for him.
“I was sitting in a brewery and noticed that a lot of spent grain material was going to waste,” he said. “I asked the brew master if I could have that extra waste and they said sure!”
After some research, the Blackmons decided on using the spent grain for soapmaking and the idea for DHGC was born.
“Originally, the business started in our kitchen and everyone thought we were crazy,” Blackmon said about DHGC’s early days. “We launched our products at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market and sold out on our first day.”
Within a year, DHGC products were being sold in 20 stores and was a 2014 finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards. The Blackmon’s quickly realized that they had to change their approach in order to meet the rapidly growing demand.
“We stopped selling our merchandise at the farmers market a few years ago, as we needed to focus our efforts on wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales,” he said. “I would say that our current business model is primarily split between those two methods.”
As a result of this shift in approach, the DHGC brand has graced the shelves of popular retailers like Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic. Blackmon is proud of all that DHGC has been able to accomplish and sees Kalamazoo as a big part of the brand’s success.
“With the support of people in our community, we were able to thrive in Kalamazoo,” he stated. “DHGC wouldn’t be possible without these partnerships. This city has had everything we wanted and needed. It is just the right combination of cool and quirky.”
One might wonder what the future holds for DHGC. If you ask Blackmon, he’ll tell you that the focus is on innovation.
“When we started, this type of industry was nonexistent,” he recalled. “Gillette and Axe were the big brands for men’s care. Now, we are trying to adapt our process so that we stay in demand. Skincare for guys is growing and we want to tap into what customers are expecting before they’re expecting it.”
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Jarrett! We are excited to see what the future holds for Damn Handsome Grooming Co.