Harry's knows how men love their hair. And their beards. And even their barbers. The D2C brand has watched as local businesses have struggled to stay afloat amid store closures and home-based hair care.
This week, it's unveiling a new partnership with New York's famed Astor Place Hair. Besides supplying the barber shop with Harry's products, it's also donating 1,000 Harry's Truman Razors to the first 1,000 people who show up for a haircut. Jaime Crespo, Harry's general manager, answered our questions about the initiative via email.
D2C FYI: How did this idea come about? Was it a stretch to make such a local effort as a global brand?
Jaime Crespo: As the new owner of Astor Place Hair, Jonathan Trichter's priority is to maintain the shop's authenticity, respecting the legacy of the original owners who opened it 75 years ago.
Like many other local businesses, the pandemic presented many challenges for Astor Place Hair, and Jonathan had to look for creative ways to help his business stay afloat.
Jonathan approached us. We both feel like our brands were natural partners. While it was a given that we'd supply the barbers and stylists with Harry's products, we also wanted to make sure we were driving customers to the storefront for haircuts.
To further amplify the shop's visibility, and through our partnership with Astor Place Hair, we connected with Nick Heller, better known as @newyorknico, a local creative who works to celebrate the characters and cultures of New York City and a patron of Astor Place since he was a teen. He was also an early supporter of Astor Place's fight to stay afloat.
Nick worked with Astor Place and us to create a series of 60-second Instagram videos showcasing the business and the incredible individuals who make it special.
D2C FYI: COVID-19 was rough on hair. People went for long stretches without haircuts -- and they're going back to salons and barber shops slowly. Any insight about how that's changing people's thoughts about hair and beard care?
Crespo: We always encourage our guys to be their most authentic selves. Throughout the pandemic, we worked to be a resource for our consumers as they navigated the changes that the pandemic brought on.
By tapping experts in the grooming space, we provided our guys with the insights they needed to cut their hair at home, shave their quarantine beards and navigate a skincare routine. While it's difficult to say what 2021 has in store for grooming and hair, we will always be working to make it easy for guys to get what they need to take care of themselves, beard or not.
At the onset of the pandemic, we initially saw guys report shaving less and using fewer grooming products, including beard care and deodorants. But that rebounded to higher than usual levels after a few months via our website, as guys settled into their new normal and started wanting to look like themselves (or newly discovered selves) even in virtual interactions.
D2C FYI: Harry's has had a lot to say about masculinity over the years. Has the pandemic changed your perspective, tone of voice or brand purpose?
Crespo: We pride ourselves on being a brand for guys who think beyond convention and believe that there are many ways where the idea of "masculinity" comes to life.
This past September, we debuted "Not the Same," our largest campaign to date, which recognized how our customers don't accept the status quo. They're independent thinkers who are always evolving and improving.
This "Not the Same" idea will be a constant thread through the Harry's brand as we continue to grow.
With respect to brand purpose, our social mission efforts are wholly dedicated to mental health and have been since 2019. In October 2020, we announced that we'd met our goal of helping over 500,000 men get access to better mental health care and that we had donated a total of $5.5 million to our partner organizations in less than two years.
At the moment, we are not only amidst a global pandemic but also a mental health crisis. We are currently working on setting a new social mission goal for the coming years. Our continued efforts in the space can have a real impact and help provide even more men with access to the mental health care they need.