We sat down with Andrew Wiseman, founder of Dark Stag to discuss with him the importance of using quality tools, some background on Dark Stag, a bit about his personal shaving routine and more…
How was Dark Stag born?
Having already had a ten plus years history in the hair industry, scissors were something we were already good at making. Being aware of the change in markets and rise of mens grooming seemed a natural fit with our expertise. But the actual moment Dark Stag was conceived was when I was browsing a gentlemans grooming store – they were selling fine cigars, traditional razors, shaving brushes, whisky, luxury shaving creams – that sort of thing. I was inspired by the heritage of it all. I decided that I wanted to offer professional Barbers and the home shaver the best equipment with a style that harked back to when gentleman really was a gentleman.
Why did you decide is it important for Dark Stag to produce quality barbering tools using traditional craftsmanship and methods?
It is our ongoing goal to make barbering life easier by providing superior barbering equipment that makes the working day in the Barbershop a good one. We also offer customers of barbers the chance to take the traditional barbering experience home with them with our select range of tools that are well suited to Barbershop retail.
What is your personal favourite Dark Stag product?
I am very proud of the DS+, our premium barber scissor. It has a very smooth feel, and a simple elegance. We wanted to design the ultimate barber scissor and I think we achieved that.
Why is it important for people to buy high-quality products? What value does quality hold?
In the context of a professional barber, using the right level of quality equipment will not only make the job at hand easier and more enjoyable, but quality tools perform for longer – poorly made tools may often be cheaper but reveal themselves to be a false economy when the barber ends up replacing them quickly. In the context of a home wet shave – a plastic disposable simply doesn’t offer the same luxurious experience or heritage that a good quality straight razor or safety razor can.
Do you see a shift in the market?
Traditional shaving is certainly becoming more popular – alongside the general growth of the male grooming sector. There is a rising return to using traditional products and more attention is paid to maintaining beards and moustaches whether that be a luxurious traditional cut throat shave at the local Barber, a daily wet shave with a safety razor, or a careful trim at home using a beard and moustache scissor.
Dark Stag as a range could be described as stylish but understated. What is it that appeals to you most about this aesthetic?
We looked at the rich history of Barbering when designing all of our products – from our barber scissors and shaving brushes all the way through to our walnut wood beard comb – and drew the conclusion that simple, classic designs are enduring. The use of wood where applicable was important for evoking the traditional barbershop feel. For the premium variations of some of the products we aimed to differentiate the look slightly – for example with the SR+ safety razor, we decided that the type of finish and handle (with gnurled grip) we selected represents the pinnacle of style, but not at the cost of performance.
Running your own business is very demanding and competitive. What keeps you motivated?
The reaction to the Dark Stag has been very inspiring after seeing the range come together through various processes. We are the first to offer tools and equipment specifically aimed at barbers, presented in this way as a well designed range. We also supply Barbershops for retail to their customers. The prime motivation concerning Dark Stag is to make sure all professional barbers know about us, to broaden the range and to continue to push to make our home shaving products available in the biggest retailers globally.
What is your personal shaving routine like?
Typically, when time permits, I enjoy wet shaving and use the SR+ with the Dark Stag shaving brush and Proraso shaving cream. I usually seem to find myself listening to Miles Davis every time I shave. No idea why.