DALLAS — Tom Granese believes that men’s grooming should be a passion instead of an afterthought.

This summer, he decided to prove his theory at retail with Regimens, a men’s shaving, skin care, hair care and fragrance store located in the trendy and culturally diverse Oak Lawn neighborhood near downtown Dallas.

Granese claims that Regimens is the first store of its kind in the U.S. — an upscale men’s grooming supply store not in a salon or spa environment.

The 650-square-foot store, which is projecting first-year sales of nearly $200,000, specializes in upscale lines that aren’t widely distributed, such as Maxwell’s Apothecary, Jack Black, Min, eShave, Nickel, Mont Source, Gendarme, California North, Woody’s Grooming and Baxter of California.

“Men’s grooming is a $4.5 billion industry that’s also one of the fastest-growing segments of the beauty industry. It deserves a place in the retail spotlight — not relegated to a back case or side corner in a department store,” said Granese, a former supply-chain logistics executive with a Fortune 500 firm. “Men shouldn’t have to limit their grooming selection to the products they find at the grocery store or wade through a sea of women’s products to find a better alternative.”

The store’s sleek minimalist decor and open-sell merchandising complements its proactive outreach to shoppers, which includes personalized consultations and in-store grooming seminars.

Thanks to its prime location in the West Village open-air shopping center here, near the popular Magnolia art-film theater and Vespa scooter store, Regimens attracts lots of walk-in traffic in addition to its growing word-of-mouth business. The Oak Lawn neighborhood is home to lots of young, single men, including a large gay population.

Granese opened Regimens in June after first finding success e-tailing men’s grooming products at his two-year-old Web site regimens.com.

“By first operating online, we established key relationships with prestigious men’s grooming manufacturers. And the Web site continues to give us invaluable insight into what products men want — simple, streamlined and effective regimes. Price isn’t the first determinant,” he explained.

“A typical purchase online or at the store includes three to five products: a shaving cream or gel, face wash or scrub, moisturizer, eye cream and hair and body wash. An average purchase is at least $50 but can go much higher, especially for men who travel a lot and want to stock up on their favorite items.”Best-selling items include Mont Source’s Unique Shave Solution, $14; Maxwell’s Apothecary Razor Relief After-Shave Balm, $24; Baxter of California Skin Toner Facial Scrub, $12; Min Wash, a shampoo that helps prevent hair loss, $14; Jack Black’s Face Buff Energizing Scrub, $16, and Nickel’s Morning After Rescue Gel, $40.

Granese’s long-term business plan calls for opening a chain of Regimens stores across the U.S., after he fine-tunes his retail strategy in Dallas.

“I can see expansion opportunities across the U.S. and Canada. A men’s grooming store is something that should be made available to all men. They deserve it.”

— Rusty Williamson

Paris Fights Animal Ban

France is taking legal action aimed at stymieing a European Union ban on animal-tested cosmetics, according to court documents recently made available. The EU measure, which would apply to all states in the European Community, is set to come into effect in 2009. Lobbied by the French Cosmetics Industry Association, Paris has filed a case at the European court of justice in Luxembourg seeking to freeze the ban. It contends that outlawing animal testing would have an “extremely limited” impact on animal welfare while resulting in the sale of products that could pose “important risks” to human health. Many of the world’s most important beauty firms, including L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, are members of the French Cosmetics Industry Association. The European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients, which represents some 70 companies that produce ingredients for those firms in Europe, has also lobbied for the ban of the EU initiative.

— Robert Murphy

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