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Harry Rosen Launches Industry-First Men’s Grooming Amid Strategy Shift: Interview with Ian Rosen

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Iconic Canadian retailer Harry Rosen has launched an industry first in men’s luxury grooming with a curated offering of essentials for hair, face and body.

Ian Rosen, EVP Digital & Strategy for Harry Rosen, said the tailored collection is in response to men’s growing interest and investment in personal care.

“Since 1954 when my grandfather started this store we have been helping men set the tone by elevating their personal sense of style and now we’ve grown and established a new offering in grooming and the expanded customized offering is vintage Harry Rosen. It’s highly curated. We’ve partnered with some of the best brands out there and it’s a really exciting evolution for us as we build a deeper relationship with our clients,” he said.

Hairy Rosen Store on Bloor – Photo by Craig Patterson

“Our category expansion was inspired by what our customers told us they want and need. This has historically always been our approach. As a third generation Rosen, I watched my grandfather build a heritage of trust that Canadian men have counted on since 1954. Grooming is now a part of that legacy.”  

Currently, some brands are available through omnichannel, but Rosen said the primary channel is online with instore to come once there’s a sense of normalcy in retail due to the public health restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a new category for us. It’s definitely a first for us to expand outside of clothing. We’ve been in fragrance for a while but we’ve established a much deeper offering in hair, body, face, shave, you name it. We definitely see opportunity in the category and we see that men are investing much differently in personal care,” said Rosen.

“So along with buying the perfect sweat suit to lounge around the house with, they’re also investing in a great face cream, beard oil, special and sustainable hair and body wash. We just wanted to make sure that we were there for our clients as their routines are evolving and changing too.”

The retailer cites statistics showing that 40 per cent of men aged 18-64 grew facial hair since COVID-19 began, with more than half growing a beard they plan to keep. Also men’s hair length and styling searches increased by 25 times, according to Pinterest.

“While working from home, everyone is aware of how they show up on-screen more than ever,” said Rosen. “Being in lockdown doesn’t mean shutting down self-care and we believe grooming can play a big part in maintaining one’s confidence and well-being.

“We’ve only just begun. We welcome other brand partners in the grooming space and plan to expand into more categories including watches, fitness gear and apparel and home.”   

The grooming collection features 400+ products, 25 per cent which are Canadian-proud from Alberta to New Brunswick to Quebec. 

Hairy Rosen Product Line via HarryRosen.com

The company said the new grooming line intentionally includes tools and products for all skin and hair types. It also showcases best-in-class products at a range of price points, with the goal of establishing Harry Rosen as the destination for men’s grooming. With a selection of the finest blades, brushes, beard oils, shaving soaps, skincare and fragrances to suit each unique individual, every man has the opportunity to elevate their grooming routine, said the retailer. 

“I like to think there’s two types of brands. We have the grooming, heritage, legacy, staple brands that you have to have to be in the grooming space. So we have Kent which is an incredible hair brush and beard brush brand. We have Truefitt & Hill which has kind of the shave category on lock. We have Wahl beard trimmers and razors which are barbers’ choices around the world,” said Rosen.

“And we have a bunch of new modern brands that are pushing the envelope on product innovation as well. We’re working with a company called Educated Beards out of New Brunswick which as a beard owner myself I stand behind their stuff. It’s definitely incredible. We are partnering with a company called Wise Men’s Care which has natural, sustainable hair and body wash, face cream, hair and pomade. We’re definitely on two ends of the spectrum. We’re standing by that heritage but we’re also introducing our clients to people who are pushing the envelope.” 

Harry Rosen is now the first and only nationwide men’s luxury retailer in Canada with online dropship capabilities. The grooming line is the company’s first that is available via this technology. Powered by industry disruptor Convictional’s Supplier Enablement Platform, this dropship and marketplace infrastructure lets brands rapidly onboard and integrate, creating a seamless customer experience and accelerating speed to market. Products are accessible directly from a select group of supplier partners who are a good fit with the Harry Rosen brand.  

“We partnered for this launch with industry disruptor Convictional which is a Toronto startup and I think that’s a thing of note because we’re partnering with brands in a much different way and it allowed us to get to market extremely quickly with this,” said Rosen.

“We’re kind of reinforcing the online sales growth that we’ve seen over the past year with more reasons to shop with us and more ways to add value to that shopping experience. So, at the same time as shopping for your summer essentials you can get a great fragrance to partner up with it. So there’s synergies between the shopping experience. We’re already seeing clients also navigate to the how-to’s and the content we’ve put up behind the grooming launch because people have a lot of questions and we want to be there to answer them.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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