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Companies & industry

Brazilian cosmetics industry hops into moustache and beard craze

Following a boom in barbershops around the country, the number of brands aimed towards facial hair care show considerate growth.

Lumbersexual. The term might not yet be rolling around Brazilian tongues, but the concept nonetheless has been revolutionizing the male beauty industry over the last few years. More and more Brazilian men have recently adopted the lumberjack style – bushy beard, scruffy hair, flannel shirt – despite it being seemingly out of place in a tropical country, and entrepreneurs are already responding accordingly.

Sobrebarba's co-founder Samuel Tonin - Photo: André Bittencourt

Sobrebarba’s co-founder Samuel Tonin - Photo: André Bittencourt

First there came the barbershops. Male-only salons that had been all but forgotten for decades are spreading like wildfire throughout the country. According to Sebrae, a non-profit private organization that promotes small business development, since 2010 the number of barbershops has increased fivefold.

Simultaneously, the Brazilian male grooming market continues to grow towards the top of the global ranking, according to data from Euromonitor International. With an average 7.1% YOY growth rate, it should surpass the US by 2019, to become a US$ 6.7 billion industry – a figure companies working with beard and moustache products should take at face value.

Samuel Tonin, an adman who has been sporting a beard for the last 10 years, used to have a hard time finding products to tend to his face fur. He had to resort to imported products, which were rather expensive and would take too long to arrive. He soon realized he was not alone, but part of a community of facial hair enthusiasts. So he put two and two together and created Sobrebarba, Brazil’s first beard care brand.

In 2013, Tonin joined forces with another ad person, Fernanda Kawazoe, and ran a research on social networks to discover the habits and behaviors of the elusive bearded men. Over 20,000 followers gave their inputs on how the products should look and feel, from packaging to fragrance. “The research was fundamental to bringing Sobrebarba together,” says Tonin.

Released in 2015 with a R$ 260,000 investment, the brand offers shampoo, moisturizing balm and beard oil, as well as moustache wax and a collection of handcrafted wooden combs. “Bearded men have always been around, but up until now they never had a range of products aimed specifically at them,” he says.

Sobrebarba's product line

Sobrebarba’s product line

Trailing Sobrebarba’s effort, other brands started springing in the Brazilian market, such as Don Alcides, Barber Shop and Barba Urbana. “We are looking at a promising niche with a shortage of affordable domestic brands. So we set off with quality products, highly competitive prices and fast shipping,” says Barba Urbana’s co-founder Ana Kascher.

Today, Barba Urbana has 70 points of sale in 11 Brazilian states, including barbershops and menswear stores, not to mention their e-commerce platform. Kascher believes introducing the products on mainstream retail chains is the next step, but she is cautious: “Right now we can’t go large-scale and commit to stock 30-store chains. The logistics would make the operation infeasible.

Sobrebara, which currently sells online and ships to selected barbershops and salons, aims at claiming its space in supermarket and drugstore shelves in the near future. “We’ve had some talks about it,” says Tonin.

Questioned whether beards might be just another short-lived fad, both entrepreneurs demonstrate firm resolve. “I don’t believe beards will just come and go. It’s not a passing fling,” says Tonin. “Enterprising always entails risk, but beards have shown an impressive resilience so far. I believe they’re here to stay,” says Kascher. “I’m used to saying that beards are part of man’s nature. They just haven’t had the means to grow them with the proper care. Now they do.

Renata Martins

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© 2016 - Brazil Beauty News - www.brazilbeautynews.com

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