Sharps Barber and Shop, the men’s grooming brand that was launched at selected New York barbershops in 2003 and subsequently introduced in Europe via a distribution agreement, is planning a Stateside comeback.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s been ill and on the ground,” Rory P. MacParland, Sharps’ majority shareholder and president and chief executive officer of Sharps Inc., said of the brand’s U.S. business. MacParland, 32, who joined the company in fall 2007, distributed the brand in Europe along with some business partners.

Following an April 2008 merger of U.S.-based Sharps Inc. with now-parent Sharps Europe Ltd., the firm is looking to open a long-planned barbershop in New York this fall and to more than triple its wholesale distribution network in the U.S.

After Sharps’ original 2003 launch, distribution of the brand was eventually expanded to upward of 450 doors, including Bloomingdale’s and Space NK, MacParland noted.

But, according to sources, the 2006 creation of a secondary line for Target Corp., called Barber Brigade, took a bit of luster off the original, specialty store-positioned Sharps assortment in the eyes of some retailers. In the meantime, Target ended up removing Barber Brigade from its stores.

Sharps’ wholesale sales volume in the U.S., which was projected to reach as much as $10 million in 2006, stands at less than $1 million today. So, sources added, Sharps is looking to double company revenues from $1.7 million in the fiscal year ended March 11 to $3.4 million in the next year.

To get the ball rolling, Sharps has named Fernando Rodriguez vice president of sales, a U.S.-based post. Rodriguez, who joined Sharps from JA Apparel Corp., where he was brand manager for Joseph Abboud clothing, is tasked with overseeing Sharps’ wholesale business and handling relationships with several international distributors.

MacParland contended Sharps, which is carried at men’s fashion boutiques, apothecaries, hotels and barbershops, has replenished inventory, established a product development calendar and “renewed stores’ confidence.” He added Sharps’ U.S. distribution network could grow from about 168 stores today to about 600 — and could reach 300 international points of sale — by March. Sharps’ e-tail site, set for relaunch late this month, could generate 20 percent of revenues in the next year.

Sharps has two existing barbershops, the first of which was opened on London’s Charlotte Street in November 2007. That was followed by the September opening of a two-chair barbershop at Topman on the second floor of Topshop’s five-story Oxford Street flagship. The firm plans a barbershop opening in Toronto this summer, and a third London location is planned for March.

The Sharps product assortment comprises 22 shave, hair and body care and facial treatment products, ranging in price from $6.50 for a 6.3-oz. bar soap to $24 for the 1.7-oz. Daily Prep Tuning Lotion. Some existing products are being reformulated, such as the Foaming Scrub (4.2 oz. for $20), which is due to be relaunched in June or July.

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