NEW YORK — Upstart men’s grooming brand Sharps Barber and Shop is venturing into the skin care business.

Next week, the 18-month-old firm will launch a scrub, toner, moisturizer and lip balm — a quartet dubbed “Daily Prep” — in an effort to further round out its assortment of shave and hair and body care items. In addition to the skin care initiative, Sharps plans to expand its distribution network from 90 doors now to roughly 200 doors in the next 12 months.

The two strategies are expected to drive Sharps LLC’s wholesale revenues past the $1.5 million mark this year, according to industry estimates.

After forming the company in October 2002 — then launching their first product, a shave gel, nearly a year ago — Sharps co-founders Oliver Sweatman and Larry Paul wanted to establish a core line for “head-to-toe” grooming concerns of men. The result was the brand’s six existing items.

“The goal now,” noted Sweatman, “is to bump it up a notch on all levels and [to present] more sophisticated and technology-based products.” Moreover, Sweatman and Paul believe that, as more in-depth grooming practices proliferate among men, there’s room in the marketplace to develop Sharps. “Men’s grooming is a high-growth category,” said Sweatman. “As guys become more interested, they want a brand that reflects their lifestyle.” The Lip Balm, priced at $7 for 0.15 oz., is called “No More Stiff Upper Lip.” The $19, 4.2-oz. foaming scrub is dubbed “True Grit,” while the $17, 8.5-oz. toner is named “Skin Flash.” The brand’s highest ticket item is the $29, 1.7-oz. moisturizer, called “The Works.”

Ingredients in the skin care line include numerous botanical extracts. The moisturizer features seaweed extract and vitamins to nourish and protect, and the lip balm contains aloe leaf extract for soothing. Also, the scrub features marble powder to exfoliate.

In terms of current distribution, Sharps’ wholesale network consists primarily of U.S.-based locations such as Barneys New York, independent specialty boutiques, men’s fashion stores, barber shops and “guy-friendly” salons, Sweatman said. The brand recently signed with Sephora USA. Sharps is carried in stores in Switzerland, France and Canada.This week, Sharps launched at six Space NK doors in the U.K. There are plans to eventually roll out the brand to all 35 doors in that chain.

— Matthew W. Evans

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