Experience Sarasota: Simply The Very Best for Men
Chris Wagner is at the forefront of a global marketing campaign that aims to take on the behemoths of the men’s grooming industry with Simply the Best for Men grooming products.
Transition has been a part of Chris Wagner’s life since he was a young boy, but barbering has always been his mainstay.
Originally from Akron, OH, Wagner was cutting his friends’ hair from the age of 11 simply because, “I was always considered the ‘artistic’ one among my friends.”
Now he finds himself – along with his colleague Joe Contorno, owner of the renowned Southside Village Barbershop – at the forefront of a global marketing campaign that aims to take on the behemoths of the men’s grooming industry with Simply the Best for Men grooming products.
“We hope to distribute the concept of SVB for Men to barbershops and salons nationally and then on a worldwide basis,” explains Wagner. “I’m already told that some companies in London are interested.”
He goes on to mention Truefitt and Hill (which, according to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” holds the record as the oldest barbershop in existence), as one of those companies voicing an interest. “That excites me,” Wagner says, “because London’s cultural scene is a major influence on men’s style and grooming.”
During Wagner’s time at the University of Akron, even academia couldn’t keep him away from what would become his profession. “I ended up moving to the campus and I had a house with about six other guys,” he remembers. “Now those houses have big porches. I was cutting hair on the porch one day, and they asked me what was I gonna do as far as picking a major. They said, ‘Chris, you have so many different skills, we’re just wondering what direction are you going in? Only there’s a barber college three exits down the freeway from here, and we’ve heard it’s pretty good. Go check it out.’”
That short drive to Akron Barber College set Wagner on a career path he previously hadn’t considered. “But I graduated in 2005,” he says, “and now, after 10 years, I’m transitioning to another side of the industry.”
And while the market for men’s aftershave and other grooming products is an overly crowded one, Wagner believes that SVB for Men will offer more than a humdrum conformity. “SVB for Men not only takes care of hair and face issues,” he says, “the line also has supplements to promote cardiovascular, prostate, and eyesight health. Basically it addresses all areas of a man’s lifestyle.”
A report published by Euromonitor International earlier this year backs up Wagner’s confidence in SVB for Men’s future potential, noting that, “The 3 percent increase in men’s grooming in 2014 to $6.3 billion was supported by subcategories; men’s shaving grew by 2 percent to $2.9 billion, while men’s toiletries saw even more success, growing by 4 percent to $3.4 billion.”
According to the report, when it comes to men's grooming the share of toiletry sales was 54 percent in 2014 (compared to was 46 percent in 2004), indicating that, “the proportion of men that care about their grooming rituals beyond the traditional shaving experience is increasing…shaving remains an important part of the grooming routine, but it is becoming just one step in many for lots of men.”
Wagner believes that growing interest will serve his products well. “I’ve worked hard to successfully launch SVB for Men,” he concludes. “It’s a hero product for professional barbers and our customers. I’ve been a barber for a long time; I know what makes a good grooming product for men.”
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