The realization hit and I thought OOOOOHHHH.
This is it: skin care and grooming are about dignity, not vanity.
I had a closeted interest in skin care for years. It was closeted because my work was about serious things, I considered myself reasonably intelligent, and I did not identify with the fake beauty messages from popular media. Anti-aging cream ads showing underfed models who were not yet 20. Multiple, half-dressed women rubbing the chest of some guy because he shaved with a certain razor. For real?
One night while talking with a friend over drinks on H Street in DC, a camera reel started to roll in the theater of my memory. I saw glimpses of salons across the many places I have been in the world, from chic boutiques in Paris to street barbers in Delhi. I saw women sitting on outdoor mats in a remote village in Congo, braiding each other’s hair while war threatened nearby. I saw people washing their faces in slums in Jakarta. I saw my 95-year-old grandma applying her makeup fast-fast in the morning. I saw the suited executives enjoying a shoe shine and trim at The Grooming Lounge in DC before meeting prospects for happy hour.
With this stream of images, grooming and self-care looked different. The grooming rituals we have are a way we respect ourselves and one another. They are a way we express our dignity as people, whatever our circumstances. They get us ready for the challenges, dreams, hopes and people of the day. They soothe us. These rituals run deep in our psyches. Male. Female. Young. Old. Any skin color. Exceptionally beautiful or average or plain looking. Across the whole world, we do this, not out of vanity but out of dignity.
You know what else is about dignity? Work. It, too, is about making a way for ourselves and our loved ones by using our wits and wiles to get along in the world. I appreciate the work and honest hustle of my customers…their creativity, problem-solving, warmth, and grit. I see those same qualities in the harvesters and processors of our ingredients.
I wanted to build a skin care and grooming company that honors the people I admire, from my customers to the harvesters.