Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Laurence. Could you first of all tell us when The Gentleman’s Grooming & Lifestyle Show launched, and who co-founded it?
Great to speak with you! The idea for The Gentleman’s Grooming & Lifestyle Show was conceived in early 2016 with the debut show, taking place in December of that year. It was co-founded with my business partner Kevin (Doherty) and our friend Matt (Haynes) who is involved in the show on a consultancy basis.
What is your career background?
Probably not what you would expect – my career started as an accountant but I’ve always had a passion for men’s grooming, fashion and lifestyle so it was my long-term goal to work in the industry. Kevin has always worked in events and has great experience so our skill-sets compliment each other well.
What inspired you to launch the show? Why Tobacco Dock?
We noticed the massive growth in men’s grooming in recent years and felt there was a place for an event that specifically caters for the growing industry. When launching the show we had visions of a gentlemanly ambience and wanted our venue to reflect this. Tobacco dock has a great feel to it with the exposed brick archways that frame the event space and we knew it would work well for our show. We have tried to continue this on-going theme by doing things such as offering our attendees a complimentary whisky and shoeshine on entry.
We’ve seen such a resurgence in men taking an interest in their appearance. What do you think kick-started this movement?
I think it’s a multitude of factors. Part can be accredited to icons such as David Beckham who, by showing an interest themselves, made it acceptable; cool even for guys to take a greater interest in their appearance. I think in general though men are starting to realise that everyone likes to look and feel their best and there is nothing wrong with that. When you feel confident in yourself it can benefit you in all areas of your life.
Following the success of the debut show, what changes can we expect from the December edition?
Last year was a fantastic show but we have definitely fine-tuned it so that December’s show is even bigger and better. Firstly we have taken more space at the venue to allow for more exhibitors to participate. There will also be more interactive elements to the show and some exciting additional food and drink offerings.
How many brands are currently set to exhibit? Are you able to give some key signings?
There will be around 75 brands showcasing on the day covering a wide range of categories including, skin care, hair care, shaving and beard care, as well as a few dovetailing industries such as watches, shoes and accessories. One of the great things about the show is that we have such a wide range of exhibitors and household names will be along side start-ups and boutique brands.
Just to give an idea for those who didn’t attend the last edition, how is the show set out? Are there interactive elements?
Absolutely, a lot of the stands themselves will have interactive elements including some of the UK’s top barbers will be on hand to offer hair-cuts and hot towel shaves. Aside from the main exhibition area we have a dedicated stage and workshop space and attendees can go along and hear from industry experts about topics such as ‘How to achieve the perfect shave at home’ and ‘How to get the haircut you want from your barber’ as well as stylists demonstration and panel Q&A’s.
Obviously the show is consumer led but is there chance for retailers to attend to discover new labels to potentially stock?
Absolutely, the show is open to all retailers and MWB subscribers can register for a complimentary ticket using the code MWBVIP. There are some really exciting new brands exhibiting from all over the world so it really is a great place for retailers to discover new brands.
What’s next for the show? What can we expect for 2018?
Our plan for the show is to continue the momentum we have built up, each year striving to get even bigger and better. In April 2018 we will also be launching our second city location in the amazing city of Newcastle, which we are really excited for.
The Gentleman’s Grooming & Lifestyle Show takes place on 3rd December at Tobacco Dock, London. For further information and to register for a complimentary ticket with the code MWBVIP, visit the website here.