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A Candid Conversation with Stefan Vincent of the Holy Black: Taking Modern Day Grooming Back to the Old School

A Candid Conversation with Stefan Vincent of the Holy Black: Taking Modern Day Grooming Back to the Old School

Right now, men are just starting to realize that it's OK to use grooming products. I think the men's grooming market is the fastest growing market in America. Before, men would just use a bar of soap and that's it. Now men aren't afraid to look good, smell good and use products that were traditionally thought of for women. So I think we're appealing to those guys that normally didn't think about this type of stuff. And really it's just me and my brother doing what we like. So we're kind of appealing to people who have the same interests as us - blue collar/real guys who are into Hot Rods and tattoos and punk rock music - all the stuff that we're into. Traditionally, those guys never even thought about what they put in their hair or what they shaved with; they just used whatever their wife or girlfriend put in the cabinet for them. And because they're a really small niche market, nobody is really marketing to them.

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We don't pander to people, like when you hear about 6-bladed razors and "grooming technology." I just read "clean rinse technology" on a bottle of body wash the other day, I'm like "Yea, that's called Soap! It's SOAP technology!" Our soap is like four ingredients - water, oil, lye and fragrance. Nowadays all other stuff out there smells the same and everything is blue. Why is everything blue? Honestly, anything you can buy in a CVS or a big box store or whatever, it's all the same stuff. Especially when you buy a bar of soap - if you buy a bar of soap it's not even soap anymore. It's a detergent made out of soap noodles that came from China that they add fragrance to and then grind up and press. It's very hard to mass produce real soap.There's a couple people doing it but not many because its not as scalable.

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We're entering a new heyday of barbershops because all these businesses are being taken out by Amazon and online retailers. The barbershop is the one place that you're always going to need. You can't buy a haircut on the internet - you know what I'm saying? Back in the 1800's they were the most important people in town and now they are becoming ubiquitous again because of how the landscape is changing with brick and mortar shops. The 1800's were the glory days of barbers because that’s when your barber was your dentist; he was your surgeon and your doctor because he was the only person in town who knew how to properly hone a straight razor. During the Gold Rush era everyone was spreading across the country and there had to be a barber there. Watch any old west movie and you'll see there's always a saloon, a casino, a barbershop and an undertaker. Those were pretty much the most important things in an Old West town. Still to this day, the barbershop is one of the few businesses that never goes under.

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I love to see small artisan markets pop up. And Long Island's been doing the artisanal thing the whole time; we're just not wearing flannels when we're doing it. There are actually artisans here; it's not people who are learning how to be artisans so they can open up a place in Brooklyn and make pickles (haha). It's ridiculous. Go out East and there are actual farms. We're not putting farms on the roofs of buildings. We got space. You want to open up a farm? You want to do something interesting?? Then come out to Long Island.