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Ernest Supplies Seeks Wider Distribution

The men’s grooming brand is hoping to reach more customers through department store partnerships.

Ernest Supplies wants to appeal to a broader audience.

The men’s skin-care line, which was founded by John Cafarelli about four years ago, is stocked in retailers including Barneys New York, Mohawk General Store and Fred Segal, but Cafarelli, a former banker who invested in brands such as Intermix and Skull Candy, is making an effort to target department store distribution and a female customer.

“Our distribution is a part of our marketing strategy. We’ve wanted to build our brand and establish who we are and who we want to be in the marketplace. That’s been the focus to date,” said Cafarelli. “But the strategy is adjusting. There will be more focus on our web business, but there’s also a huge opportunity to penetrate larger retailers. I’m bullish on the opportunity to connect to customers via brick and mortar retail.”

Cafarelli started Ernest Supplies after formulating his own travel-friendly moisturizers that friends started to request. He launched with Steven Alan and got a bigger break by partnering with Birchbox. The assortment includes a dual-enzyme face polish, a soap-free gel face wash, eye serum, shaving sets and charcoal toothbrushes. Cafarelli gained a following with packaging, specifically the travel-sized pouches that are big hits on Instagram. Cafarelli has also won over an older audience with his larger, bathroom-sized products. The line retails from $7 to $60.

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“Our packages connect with the younger Millennial set,” said Cafarelli. “People love to buy something that’s cool or different and speaks to their value system, and it’s very important for that audience. But since adding the bottles to the line, what we’ve seen is our customer demographics have skewed upward to the 35-to-44 age range.”

Cafarelli is also starting to gain a female following that he said appreciates Ernest Supplies’ aesthetic and doesn’t connect with the more traditional, pink-washed women’s products.

“We are selling into a lifestyle as opposed to selling into women and men,” said Cafarelli. “We are looking to deliver the message throughout the community and utilize our store base to create experiences for customers who appreciate an active and healthy lifestyle.”