The Working Man: Luke Williams | Living North

The Working Man: Luke Williams

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Image of Gentlemen’s Chuckaboo Grooming Products
We’ve looked at traditional jobs a lot, but how do millennial men make their dough? If they’re like Luke Williams, they sell moustache wax and beard oil
‘We used to use a saucepan to melt the waxes and lip balms in, before we could afford to buy an actual melting pot’

What is your job title?
I am a founder and director of Gentlemen’s Chuckaboo Grooming Products.

What does that mean?
My friend Tom Sheard (pictured) and I created the company in October 2014 and coordinate just about every aspect of the business. We currently run it out of Tom’s parents’ home (where we are staying at the moment) whilst we work full time in Leeds. 

How did you get the job?
Back in 2014, Tom grew a beard and had looked into purchasing beard oils – he had been persuaded by the promise of improving the condition of his chin bristles – and with that, a well-known brand of beard oil arrived in a jiffy bag. On receipt of this magical concoction, I genuinely believed that we could do a much better job ourselves.

What was your dream job? 
I grew up watching my mum and dad juggle their own businesses, from a clothes store and an upholstery workshop, to a café and sandwich delivery van. I always felt like I wanted to work for myself and be my own boss. I liked the freedom they both had to try out new ideas and I could see how satisfying it was when their ideas succeeded. Tom is an advocate for animal welfare, so growing up he wanted to work as closely with animals as possible. The zoo was his calling. 

What does your working day entail?
We currently work full time in other jobs, however, any free time we have at the gym between sets, on our lunch breaks, after work and on weekends, we are constantly looking for new business opportunities and promoting the business as much as we can! Social media is a huge part of Chuckaboo’s success, so we spend a good amount of time posting through the various platforms we have.

What’s the best part of your job?
It has to be the feedback – it is still impossible to believe that a brand we dreamt up less than three years ago is now selling out in Taiwan!

And the worst?
We have a lot of requests for freebies. Since our box design and bottle design is very unusual and high quality, we can’t replicate it into smaller trial versions, so giving away samples has cost us severely – we hope that any potential stockists understand we are a small company with limited funds.

Have you ever had any disasters?
When designing our natural moisturiser, we had to find a natural alternative for a preservative. It was trial and error for months, as during testing the cream would grow bacteria extremely fast. We had to work extra hard with the manufacturer to create a cream which had the right amount of natural preservative that did not sacrifice the texture we desperately wanted to achieve. I remember when we thought we had the sample spot on and within hours the cream went from creamy and white to green and powdery - we have learnt so much in our short time in the business! 

What was the hardest product to get right? 
We used to make lip balm in our kitchen. It was vanilla and birch tar flavour, which was a hugely difficult scent to get right: a little too much birch tar and you would smell like a bonfire. Also, if we got the measurements slightly out – just slightly too much coconut oil and not enough beeswax – then we would have a curdled mess on our hands! We cooked up many ruined batches, but we learnt from each one. The moustache wax was another product we struggled with. We dried the batches on an aluminium shelf in the kitchen, and on summer evenings the wax took ages to dry and caused little potholes to form on the surface. I guess it just added to the overall ‘handmade’ feel.

Did you ever use any kitchen appliances to put your products together?
We used to use a saucepan to melt the waxes and lip balms in, before we could afford to buy an actual melting pot! We used to use a palette knife to stir the waxes too, and we had a separate cutlery drawer just for our products until we knew the type of utensils we needed. It was all hit or miss at the time, but we just improvised with the instruments we had available! 

Beard oil’s huge now, but what’s the next big trend in men’s grooming?
I would say men’s face masks – trust me, they’re going to be massive! 

What common grooming product ingredients should men avoid?
One ingredient I believe should be avoided in cosmetics is drying alcohol, especially in moisturisers. It’s an irritant, but it’s used commonly in moisturisers to dry the skin out and to remove oiliness. For people with oily skin this is great, but in general, drying alcohols break down the natural composite of the skin, which in the long term will be detrimental. In place of drying alcohols, we use naturally fatty alcohols, which in small quantities are great for dry skin.

What’s the secret to everlasting youth?
I’d love to think there was a pill for everlasting youth, but until that day comes, you just need to preserve yourself to the best of your ability, use a decent factor when you’re in the sun and use grooming products with a conscience. Happiness is also key, if you can smile and find a reason to laugh each day then I think that will definitely keep you younger for longer! 

www.gentlemenschuckaboo.com

Published in: October 2017

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