New York’s beauty industry has had many firsts, but have you ever seen a shop strictly aimed towards men’s skincare? The newly re-branded The Lodge is now Consigliere – a man shop focused on skincare education and beautification of men. A good number of spa boutiques and department stores attempt to reach out to men with their skincare needs, but what they really needed was a shop without all the noise and frills. A shop like this is a first! While we all know a man in need of encouragement from their female partner or skincare savvy friend, New York has always been a city of cosmopolitan men who do enjoy an effective skincare product as much as women.
Consigliere is located in one of the most laid-back and ever-changing neighborhoods. This East Village shopping destination holds well-curated shelves of skincare for all types of routines and some essential accessories. There is a robust selection of natural and Korean beauty, along with hair, shave and beard products. In addition, the owner of Consigliere has formulated an in-house skincare line and it is quite impressive. The beauty industry grows very rapidly and shopping for skincare can be confusing for even the more experienced beauty editor. This shop’s organized minimalism and friendly staff makes skincare exciting and easy to understand. Cultivated stopped in to talk skincare with Consigliere’s owner, Chad Beightol.
You changed the brick and mortar concept of your shop from predominantly men’s leather accessories and some grooming to a grooming and apothecary shop. Was there a pivotal moment when you realized this was a good idea or has this been in the works for some time?
We’ve been in the accessories and gift business for over 5 years and we’ve always offered men’s grooming products since the day we opened. Our customers are mostly men and they tell us their concerns. We also always ask them about what products and brands they’d like to see in our shop. Over time, more and more of those concerns and requests were related to grooming products and as a team, we realized we could be doing a lot more for these guys than we have been. What we know very well is that every person is different – genetics, skin type, hair thickness, sun sensitivity, lifestyle all vary and due to this, no single brand’s products work for everyone. A good regimen for one guy won’t work for another. We realized that guys had very few options IRL to sample, get advice, and figure out what’s right for them – all of the beauty spaces are really designed to appeal to women. So the idea kind of germinated for awhile before we decided to make this our primary focus in our space.
Our remodeled shop is called Consigliere and it really represents our role as advisors. We can tell you what will work for your skin, what won’t work, what a better styling pomade is, and the right cologne for a date.
Do you have a personal fondness for skincare and grooming?. What are your favorite products to use?
My own interest in skincare and grooming has grown immensely over time and I’ve invested a ton of time researching and experimenting. I recently spent time in Korea to understand the innovation happening in beauty and spent time this spring in Bali studying natural skincare with a cosmetic chemist – most of the essential oils used in beauty originate is Southeast Asia, so it was a valuable place to learn. When I was a teenager, I suffered from acne and used Retinol for many years, so I’ve always been aware of its power as a skin clearer and anti-ager. I’m always trying new things to learn about products and ingredients in skincare, in both women’s and men’s.
My regular regimen involves things we offer: Baxter Shampoo & Conditioner, Ursa Major Face Wash, MIP Project Time Return, Anthony Eye Cream, The Man Shop Clay Scrub, Blind Barber Moisturizer, Salt & Stone Sunscreen. I regularly use our masks based on my need at the time. Sometime it’s a Collagen builder, or it’s hydrating Manuka Honey, or our MIP Gold masks, which are these epic anti-aging ones. I also regularly use brands we don’t sell including The Ordinary’s Vitamin C 23%, Resveratrol + Ferulic Acid, and Retinoid 5%, and Coola Sunscreen.
Who is your typical customer?
Everyone. Our brand line-up is really focused on guys and we’re just as honored to help guys who are starting to figure out what they need as we are to advise men who already have a multi-step regimen.
“Our goal is to get every guy in New York City to at the very least wash their face with a face wash, moisturize, and use a daily sunscreen. These three basic steps can make a big difference over the long term in how the face and skin look and feel healthy. ”
From there, we can help guys solve problems or to develop a preventative, anti-aging regimen.
Did you tap into any market studies or invest in gathering consumer opinion before changing the shop and joining the beauty industry?
Since we’ve always offered grooming products, we’ve been able to hear first-hand from our direct customers what their opinions are about brands, products, and their needs. While it’s widely known that Men’s Grooming is a rapidly growing category, I don’t worry about the market size, market share, or the dominance of big CPG firms. What I do think about is that we have guys right here, in our home city, that we can serve with free advise and some matchmaking on getting product that works for them. And if we do our job well by putting these guys needs above anything else, then we are happy with that.
How do you decide which brands to bring to the shop?
We like brands that are the best at what they do and that have great formulas. Each brand we work with has a role in our assortment and we prefer to offer a wide range of a brand’s offer, so long as it works for our guy. Each brand has their specialty – Ursa Major’s focus is naturally-derived ingredients, Anthony’s is high performance skincare laden with Vitamins A, C, E, Japan’s Yu-Be has a legendary history in skin moisturizing – these are just a few examples. Before a brand is brought in as a partner, we spend a lot of time testing samples and asking our customers what they think of them. And I’m always searching for ingredient-led formulas that we might be missing, so that leads some of our brand search. We also get recommendations directly from our customers and that is usually the most valuable endorsement for a product.
What has been your customer reaction so far?
The reaction has been great from both regular customers and new ones who are just discovering us. We’re able to offer the convenience of getting all of these brands in one place and testing the products out in person. I think there’s been a perception for a long time that guys aren’t interested in this stuff and that is completely false. We also know that the change of our storefront can be disappointing for some who really liked our previous space and the product focus. We loved it too and we’ll still offer the majority of those products online.
What is the shop’s main mission and philosophy?
We want guys to feel their best about how they look. We serve as advisors to help men on that journey. Our shop is judgement-free and a safe place to talk about issues that guys don’t often discuss- whether it’s related to adult acne, dry skin, hair loss, patchy beard growth, shiny skin, relationships, whatever they need. We’re here to help.