NEW YORK — The term “bark” is most often associated with a dog or a tree, but the founders of Barc, a new skin care brand for men of color, are using the moniker to mean skin.
Barc, launched six months ago by Chris Hayes, 35, and Robert Brace, 33, markets one product, the 3-oz., $18 Bump Down moisturizing razor-bump relief. The firm plans to launch two more products this year: Cutting Up shaving cream, $14 for 6 oz., is set for next month, and Game Face facial lotion, $18 for 3 oz., is slated for August.
There are three more products scheduled for the first quarter of next year, including All Over body cream, All Over face and body wash and Smack lip moisturizer.
Hayes and Brace contend there’s a dearth of upscale products designed specifically for men of color. “There’s not much out there in prestige for black and Hispanic men,” said Brace, “and men with darker skin pigments.”
So they found a product formulator in South Africa, came up with a business plan and attracted investors. Now, their goal is to reach $1.5 million in retail sales by yearend. The brand is carried in about 75 independent specialty boutiques, and Hayes would like to expand Barc’s distribution base to 200 doors in the next 12 months.
Hayes was most recently chief marketing officer at corporate recruiter Hunt-Scanlon. Brace, a trained ballet dancer and ordained minister, was most recently regional director for the New York City Church of Christ, where he did community outreach and mentoring. The two decided to go into business together after meeting at New York University, where Hayes is an adjunct professor and Brace was a student.
Barc’s market research, which included about 325 respondents from across the country, indicated the most popular skin care brands among men of color were Neutrogena, Gillette, Nivea, Black Opal, Magic Shave and Palmers.
“Eighty percent of men of color use products every single day,” said Brace, for dryness, razor bumps and oily skin. He added, “85 percent of men of color suffer from razor bumps. This is the market we’re targeting.” The brand’s target age group is 18 to 49 years old.
Brace noted items are formulated without alcohol to minimize dryness and without oil to minimize shine. They are also free of fragrance and whitening agents. Chamomile extract is added to soothe the skin and glycolic acid is used for exfoliation.