We’ve got a success story to tell; and it starts with a game of squash. In 2018, young entrepreneur Harry Aaronson played a game of the riotous racket sport with his father. And, after the eleventh point was scored, talk turned to the post-workout washing routines of modern gym-going men.
Lamenting the lack of good grooming products, Aaronson decided to realise his vision of a range of well-designed, reasonably priced, male-focused washes, creams and serums. He committed himself to bringing the idea to life by putting a plan into action and creating a fresh, contemporary British brand; one that would appreciate tradition — but not be defined by age.
Developed by experts and formulated specifically for men, every Heath product created today must still meet Aaronson’s exacting standards. But even more effective than the masks and moisturisers is the brand’s image. Dark green of colour and simple of design, Heath has become an icon already — after only three years. So how did Aaronson do it? We sat down with the entrepreneur and asked him; how do you build a successful grooming brand?
When creating a brand, what comes first? The name? The product? The principles and ideals?
There are many different ways to build a successful brand. However, for me, I believe that the last place you actually want to start is the brand. In today’s time, with so many new companies and brands launching, you want to start your journey with the ‘movement’ you wish to own. For example, Heath’s movement is to educate men — and women — about making skincare decisions whilst taking away the complexity of this process.
Once you’ve identified your movement, what comes next?
Next, you must look at the community you wish to serve. For Heath, that was ‘the modern urban man’. Once this is done, you have your brand. A personal interest in your project is a necessity too – you really do need to be passionate in the first place ,as you will spend the majority of your time working on it!
How did you go about raising capital?
I believe what made Heath stand out was our strong identity and aesthetic. In terms of raising capital, I really wanted to test the concept before putting in money, so I launched on a very tight budget. I only ordered a few samples of each product, that I then showed when going door-to-door at barbers and independents.
I still actually have the metal tin that I used to hold these samples — I keep it up on the shelf next to my desk! And then, once I had an indication of how many stores I thought I could sign up, I placed my first order with the factory and went from there.
What about the colour? Why dark green?
Because of the use of natural ingredients. And, also, because it’s my favourite colour! We took inspiration from the racing green of a Jaguar E-type – a timeless yet modern colour and a nod towards classic British design.
How did you identify a gap in the market with Heath?
Mainly by being focused on creating products for our target demographic; the modern urban man. We also worked very hard on providing premium products and fragrances at a thoughtful price.
From our success so far and the retailers who stock and believe in our range, it showed that despite the burgeoning industry, there was definitely nothing quite like Heath on the market.
How did you decide on that initial offering of products?
We had been working on 12 products to begin with, but we only had five we believed were perfect! I wanted to focus on core items to create the foundation of a grooming routine.
"The last place you actually want to start is the 'brand'..."
The range has grown over time. Was it important not to spread yourself too thin initially?
Incredibly important. Having too many products at the start will weigh down the business in terms of cash investment. But also, a huge part of our brand philosophy was to streamline grooming and make it simple. Overcrowding with products just isn’t in-line with our strategy.
We only make products we believe in and can be easily incorporated into a routine. When we do make a new product, it has to live up to that ease of use. For example, our shower mask takes five minutes to use and is activated by steam from your shower. Quick and effective!
How did you raise awareness of the brand as you grew?
Probably the most vital thing was to get our products into people’s hands. We remain confident that, once they try them, they will be converted! We do this in many ways — including product sampling, events, goody bags and social media. We’re always trying new methods to reach different customers – the ‘Heath Club’ being one of them.
How integral has listening to customers been to your success?
Vital. Without listening to your customers, you will not evolve and can lose your way. We have listened to our customers in terms of new products — and our environmental standards, too. We have created the ‘Heath Club’ where our members get to try new product launches and give feedback. We want to create a community, because our customers are our greatest ambassadors.
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