RRU grad brings skin care to the masculine masses
Patrick Levesque is taking the complex out of men's complexions.
Together with business partner, Jamie Beuthin, the Royal Roads University graduate founded MASC in 2007. The store carries a variety of premium men's skin care products from moisturizers and masks to shaving supplies.
The business was born from a need. It can be really hard to find quality, men-specific products, Levesque said. They aren't often carried in drug stores, leaving men to wander department stores, looking for what they needed in a sea of women's products. The store fills that need by bringing in a wide selection of products in a guy-friendly atmosphere, he said.
There has been a shift toward men's skin care in the last few years as more products came on the market, Beuthin said. A lot of what was featured in magazines and advertising, however, still wasn't available in Canada. Both men had problems locating the products they wanted locally and even nationally, they said.
Clearly they weren't the only ones because the store has seen strong sales increases in the three years since it opened. Overall sales doubled between 2008 and 2010, and the store has a stronger online presence as well. MASC can ship around the world, with the majority of orders coming from Canada at the moment, Levesque said. They use social networking actively with Facebook, Twitter, blog and strong YouTube presence. The pair posts "MASC Minutes" to highlight new products in the store, he said.
"We really develop customer relations that way," he said, noting people are more comfortable with online purchases when there is a human face associated with the retail outlet.
The customer base is varied, with everyone from men who already have their routine down to others just learning how to take care of their skin. They get their share of girlfriends who are tired of the men in their lives using their products too, Levesque added.
"We are welcoming men to come in and they can feel comfortable in this environment," Levesque said. "It's a safe place for them to come and ask questions and try it out. A lot of people only know about Gillette shaving cream from the drug store. When we give them (samples of our brands) there is a whole world of difference."
"We are sample happy here," Beuthin added. "It's very rare that someone who comes in and purchases something that doesn't come back and buy more."
Many people, men and women included, don't put a lot of thought into skin care, Levesque said, but taking care of your skin when you are young can make a world of difference now, and in the future.
"Your face is the first thing that people see when they meet you and your physical appearance does make an impact on how people perceive you," Beuthin said. "(Taking care of your skin now) is an investment in your skin for the future."