LONDON — Beast, the multibrand British retailer, is determined to change the way men look at beauty and grooming, and now its voice is about to get louder with a plan to roll out across the U.K.
Beast offers products organized around categories — body, hair, shave, face and fragrance — and serves up in-depth advice to men who are often uncomfortable discussing acne, dandruff, or skin problems.
It also specializes in niche labels and believes that men should be shopping across brands — and a variety of price points — rather than relying on one to solve all of their skin and hair-care needs. Prices range from about 5 pounds for some of the moisturizers to 200 pounds for a shaving set.
The company sells around 50 labels through the Beast web site, and until recently had a shop in Covent Garden, which has closed to make way for a series of branded spaces at 20 Fraser and Flannels stores in big cities across the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland.
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The dedicated Beast spaces will be on the ground floor of the Flannels and Fraser stores, adjacent to the women’s beauty offer.
The retail chains Frasers and Flannels are owned by the Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley, who has begun transforming a clutch of House of Fraser units into luxury stores under the Frasers banner. The first five Frasers stores are set to open in 2020.
Later this year, Beast will begin taking 25 of its labels into stores in places such as London, Manchester, Newcastle and York. It will also set up shop at stores in Glasgow and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Products on offer will include skin-care labels Sa.al & Co. and Patricks, and Marram shaving products.
Shop assistants will be trained to give a range of personalized advice across all product categories, and will encourage men with skin or hair problems to think holistically about how their diets and lifestyles may be affecting their bodies.
Spencer Wallace, cofounder of Beast, said the retailer wants men to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with women when it comes to shopping for beauty products. He believes they should have as much choice as well as an excellent service proposition. He also wants men to think of buying face cream or a shaving bowl as a fun experience, rather than a chore.
“Guys are changing the way they’re looking after themselves. This is another revolution we’re seeing. In the past, they may have looked and found a shower gel, or an SPF cream, but would they have found a deodorant, fragrance, toothbrush or toothpaste sold together in a place more elevated than a supermarket?”
High-end department stores do offer men’s products, but they are often sold through branded counters, “and, in beauty, there is less brand loyalty from men than from women,” Wallace said.
He is particularly eager to encourage experiential shopping. “People want experiences in beauty. They want to smell the deodorant, the body wash and shampoo. They want to have fun, to go on that journey, to have an adventure,” he said.
“Beauty sits at the very core of our business and an expansion into men’s beauty is a natural and exciting step for us,” said Ruth Newman, director of buying for beauty and home at House of Fraser. “Beast is a robust and modern brand which enhances our already well-respected and established offer in the market.”
True to its democratic ethos, Beast has begun to cater to a younger demographic, too.
In December, as a result of multiple customer requests, the retailer will begin selling The Beast Teenage Starter Kit, which contains a moisturizer, face wash, lip balm, and toothpaste. The kit costs 30 pounds, with five pounds from every sale going to the U.K. charity Missing People, which helps track down people of all ages who have run away or disappeared and offers support to their families.