Blackwood For Men

Guys looking to up their shower game have a new brand to consider: Blackwood for Men.

Launched Saturday in Las Vegas during the trade show Cosmoprof North America, the sleek grooming brand is trying to appeal to men seeking sophisticated, natural alternatives to the likes of Axe and Dove Men+Care that won’t cost them a mini-fortune. It’s targeting prestige department stores and select specialty retail accounts for distribution.

“The inspiration came from where exclusive, old gentleman clubs meet the modern-day tech world. It’s for a man who’s very interested in grooming and cares about the ingredients in his products,” said Tonie Shin, Blackwood for Men’s vice president of marketing and former vice president of marketing at Nyx. “We offer products with great ingredients at a great price point. It’s very accessible.”

The assortment features 33 stockkeeping units with an average price of $15 to $20, including moisturizing as well as daily shampoo and conditioner, body wash, facial wash, sculpting gel and hair hydrator, across 11 product categories. The formulations are bursting with in excess of 21 botanicals and Asian-influenced ingredients such as ginseng root.

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One of Shin’s favorite products is a bar soap for the body containing activated charcoal. “There is a lot of activated charcoal on the market, but this soap has clay in it, and it’s all natural. It really digs out the dirt. I’ve had friends that work in construction comment that, when they use it, it really cleanses deeply and has a nice, nourishing finish,” she said.

Blackwood for Men honed in on its core demographic of 25- to 45-year-old men through a digital study of roughly 2,500 male consumers. “We are trying to gear the brand to people who are more interested in grooming, but, because of our price point, every man can be introduced to it, pick it up and try it,” said Shin.

AW Blackwood, a sister company of AWD, operates Blackwood for Men. AWD is a maker of chemical sprays for the industrial, medical and energy sectors, and also owner of the firm AW Distributing. According to Shin, AWD’s net sales total $5.8 billion, assets ring in at $4.8 billion and net income amounts to $180 million. It has around 8,000 employees.

The development process for Blackwood for Men started in late 2014. In the nearly two years since then, a core team of up to 14 people searched for the right ingredients and packaging to carve out a unique position in the men’s personal-care segment. “We did a lot of research, got samples from our connections and played with the formulations, but they weren’t quite right. So, we purchased our own formulations and ingredients to make them to our liking,” recounted Shin, emphasizing the formulations aren’t overloaded with scent or harmful ingredients, and pack a good payoff. The packaging is predominately black and white.

The challenge for Blackwood for Men is to pierce through the clutter in crowded men’s grooming shelves. The brand will rely heavily on social media to spread its message. “There is competition, but there is still room for a new brand,” said Shin. “It’s up to us to differentiate ourselves with the product and the lifestyle we project. Our brand is not just about grooming. It’s very lifestyle-driven.” The plan is to build Blackwood for Men’s skin-care range and expand into apparel.