Menswear Style Podcast

Kristian Lorenzon, Co-Founder of Heist

November 12, 2020 Menswear Style Episode 95
Menswear Style Podcast
Kristian Lorenzon, Co-Founder of Heist
Chapters
Menswear Style Podcast
Kristian Lorenzon, Co-Founder of Heist
Nov 12, 2020 Episode 95
Menswear Style

Heist is a men's brand that challenges grooming conventions with tailored hair and grooming products for today's man. The idea came from the simple question of 'why were there no hair dryers for men?' Co-Founder Kristian Lorenzon decided it was time to put an end to sheepishly sharing. With no suitable answer on the market, they decided to develop their own. Established in London, they've set out to equip men with hair tools, products and tricks created just for them. They firmly believe that a quality hair dryer is the basis of a great hairstyle. The brand's hair dryer has been designed to give guys the power, control and confidence they need to achieve any hair style. 

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Heist Co-Founder Kristian Lorenzon about how the brand was first thought up with his wife. They were both at Coachella Festival when they realised many guys were using their girlfriends' hairdryers. Using their savings they decided to start up a company aimed at men. The Heist hairdryer, along with a masculine design,  has a longer cord and delivers 80 mph of power enabling the user to dry hair at a lower heat to  protect hair follicles. Our host Peter Brooker and Kristian also talk about gaining market research from barbers, how men use hair dryers differently, using strategic partnerships for growth, how they're working with social media influencers, and future global expansion plans.  

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Show Notes Transcript

Heist is a men's brand that challenges grooming conventions with tailored hair and grooming products for today's man. The idea came from the simple question of 'why were there no hair dryers for men?' Co-Founder Kristian Lorenzon decided it was time to put an end to sheepishly sharing. With no suitable answer on the market, they decided to develop their own. Established in London, they've set out to equip men with hair tools, products and tricks created just for them. They firmly believe that a quality hair dryer is the basis of a great hairstyle. The brand's hair dryer has been designed to give guys the power, control and confidence they need to achieve any hair style. 

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Heist Co-Founder Kristian Lorenzon about how the brand was first thought up with his wife. They were both at Coachella Festival when they realised many guys were using their girlfriends' hairdryers. Using their savings they decided to start up a company aimed at men. The Heist hairdryer, along with a masculine design,  has a longer cord and delivers 80 mph of power enabling the user to dry hair at a lower heat to  protect hair follicles. Our host Peter Brooker and Kristian also talk about gaining market research from barbers, how men use hair dryers differently, using strategic partnerships for growth, how they're working with social media influencers, and future global expansion plans.  

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Unknown:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the mentor style podcast. I'm your host Pete Bricker. On this episode, I'm going to talk to Kristian Lorenzen, co Founder and Managing Director of heist. And I'm going to pull a short clip from the website here which you can find by the way heist of dot London, a men's brand that changes grooming conventions. From highest you get tailored hair and grooming products for today's man. Established in London, we set out to equip men with hair tools, tips and tricks created just for them. We firmly believe that a quality hairdryer is the basis of a great hairstyle. Our highest hairdryer has been designed to give guys the power control and confidence they need to achieve any style. So that interviewer Christian to come. And I really enjoyed it, we get into the minutiae of what makes a great product and how to develop that idea and bring it from concept to market. Plenty of takeaways, and I can't wait to play this interview for you. Before we get to Christian Don't forget to check out the show notes at menswear. style.co.uk and on the social we're at men's wear style. If you want to tell us about your brand and your journey, you can email the show at info at menswear style. co UK Okay. All right, let's get to it. This is a good one. I hope you enjoy it. Here is that interview with Christine Levin's and co Founder and Managing Director of heist. Well, it's my great pleasure to welcome Christian Lorenzo into the podcast co founder and director of heist. How are we doing this morning, Christian morning doing very well. And thanks for having me on the podcast. I'm a big podcast listen to my myself to your own actually and to many others. So it's a real honour to be on here along with some other brands that have in the past as well. We'll treat to have you on my Thank you whatever podcast you listen to, not that we should be giving them plugs at the start of the show. I won't mention any specifics, but you know, I'm really into kind of news, podcast sports, and any kind of lifestyle you know, I think they're just brilliant to use while you're kind of doing some fitness so you got to spare time just to to multitask. Really, it's really great. Yeah, absolutely. I actually listen to the sports ones as best when I when I go to bed at night. So being a Liverpool fan, I can just listen to all the punditry. Yes, have some great dreams. I think my Christian, perhaps you can give us an introduction to who you are and what it is you do. But yeah, so as I said, I'm Christine Lorenzen, the co founder and director of heist. heist is a men's grooming brand, which I co founded with my wife, Rachel, a couple of years ago. And it's a brand that we established to really challenge a really established market in terms of men's grooming, and specifically, men's grooming electronics. And so our core main feature product as a mean a hairdryer kit designed for men. And this came about, you know, for a kind of search for our own to find a similar product. In fact, there's a little kind of story behind it, where my, my myself and my wife are out, it's Coachella A few years ago, with a bunch of friends. And you know, my wife noticed that all of us were just trying to find a hairdryer or we already know girlfriends and things like this at the time. And there was just nothing there for us. So when she went to go find out to actually buy me one for Christmas, she's like, I couldn't find one. And everything out there was positioned at woman, and they all came in and you know, funky coloured boxes, they all had ladies on the front, there was nothing there. That really appealed to a guy or really showed them how to use it either. And then we're like, hey, if there's not one there, let's do it. So we established heist and, and we've been doing it ever since together. And the name itself I think is really intrinsic to what we are heist, the actual word five letter, word equals height and style. So a combination of the kind of two words they're richer, really intrinsics to kind of what the product can deliver. And it's a cool word as well, you know, lots of really good heist films. I think it's got a masculine word. Yeah, exactly. And, and, you know, it's just a really easy word, you know, short five letter words to kind of remember and say, India, we just love that it has these additional kind of connotations. It's amazing that there is a gap in the market for something like this when men's grooming men's grooming has been booming for Such a long time. So can you talk a little bit please about the hair dryer and tell me what it is that it does differently that other hair dryers can't do? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, you know, I agree. I mean, it was a surprise to us as well. And, you know, because there are a lot of established, you know, brands and industry, and that have been doing this for a long time. However, they, as I kind of said, they never really just designed anything that really appealed to guys. And so the hairdryer itself, it's not just about the actual hairdryer. And it's about the kind of full kit that you receive as a customer. So if we start with the hairdryer, and you get a matte finished 2200 watt hairdryer, that's 80 miles per hour for anyone that's interested in kind of power. So it's really powerful in terms of what it can can deliver in terms of drying potential. What that means for the user as well as you don't have to kind of rely on heat, you can actually just rely on the hit the air pressure to help try and direct the here, which is really important when it comes down to kind of protecting your hair health. And what comes in the kit, as well as a high spirited brush. So this particular brush enables you to really style the here and using the both the hair dryer and the brush in tandem, you can really achieve the kind of style that you can only usually achieve kind of go into a barber shop and infer some insights as well. And in terms of what we decided to put into the kit as well, we you know, we've spoke to, you know, different groups of people from the Gup barbering community friends and family and really tried to understand what really guys needed in this type of product. And also, what were the kind of current challenges, you know, hairdressers and Bob is we're having a time, and one of those that come out of that was the length of the cord. And so our hair dryer has a really long 2.5 metre cord now. And so that can be used anywhere around the house while you're travelling or in a barber shop. And people also said it was a real pain to store that. And so we've developed a liver core strap that taps onto the cord that enables you to store it really easily. And then the most exciting of our most recent developments. So we've just launched in the last month, the heist 2.0 his racket. And this comes with our new patented precision grip. Now what this is borne out sort of as an insight that most guys actually hold the hairdryer from the barrel, and they don't actually hold it from the traditional handle. And it's really to get that extra control and move it around the head. And so we developed this grip that enables guys to hold the hairdryer from the barrel, and really be able to get that precision style by moving the hairdryer around the here while they're using the comb and get that style they want. And so that's really just hit the market now about a month ago in time for Christmas. Very cool. And, Christine, do me a favour when you're done with this, can you work on ions? Because my iron has got a length of about half of me and doesn't even reach my ironing board is ridiculous. Why aren't people talking to these guys, we just get why not have about like six or seven metres of cable so that we can iron across the room? Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I mean, I think that's a kind of a key point as well. I mean, who knows where our brand could go. And we really established heist to be a men's lifestyle brand. And not just to focus in on although right now our core feature product as a means hair dryer kits. And this year, we also launched the high slip styling range. And in the future, we do want to expand out some more products that guys are looking for to really improve their grooming routine. Nice. So talk to me a little bit about your background. Please Christian mentioned off mic that you have training in social media and business studies, I guess. So I don't know if it was Business Studies, but definitely social media. How much of that? Did you manage to transfer? What were the skills you managed to put in place from what you studied to what you brought to heist? Yeah, it's been it's been really helpful. I mean, and yeah, I did study business back in New Zealand. And then about just over 10 years ago, moved to London with my wife, we both work in media and advertising. And so we've really had this really focused experience in on digital marketing fmcg and technology as well, which is really helped us from establishing this brand, building it and finding the most effective ways to communicate it. And being a new challenger brands. You know, we don't have the big pockets that the established brands do. So we've had to be real creative with what we do. And my wife in particular specialises And Meteor and partnerships. And this is one of the core leaders we do pull in our marketing strategy is trying to find, you know, really relevant brands that align to our purpose that aligns to the kind of interests of our customers to help get in front of their customers as well and really find these mutually beneficial relationships. And the kind of good example of that is, you know, pre pandemic, we teamed up with frame gyms, and managed to get our highest hair dryers into the men's changing rooms are nice. And not only were the hair dryers in the changing rooms, we were able to put tips on the walls as well to show guys how to really use it properly. And so when they're, you know, done at the gym and had the showers, they can really utilise the tech and to get that style and walk out in the gym feeling fresh every day. Yeah, that's a good show. I bet. It's been a while since I've had to use one. But I imagined. I mean, I see so many guys, when I was going to the gym using the hairdryer. And then there'd be almost a queue. For people that are kind of just jostling around and waiting to use that hairdryer. It's, it's insane. I'm not sure if women really know what goes on in a man's gym, especially in a man's changing room. guys have got all sorts of weird hype and confidence. I mean, I'll give you an example. Christian, I was waiting to go into the toilet in the men's gym. And a guy just walks out completely naked. Obviously, he's had a shower, he's done what he needs to do. And he's just decided now's the time to go to the toilet doesn't realise that? Well, you know, there's a guy waiting to go in and yeah, I just would never have that amount of confidence to just go into a toilet naked and come out. I digress. Sorry. brought back some dark memories as well, you know, I mean, it is multi purpose. I mean, again, I've said, you know, I've seen guys using his rice to dry all sorts of things in and in the gym, little inches the head. But yeah, let's leave that one there. I get it that we have to take our clothes off to get on the weighing scales, I've seen that quite a lot in the gym, you know, cuz you want to shed a few extra pounds, but just doing the whole toilet thing. Moving back to highest. So what kind of collaborations are you looking to do now kind of in the middle of this pandemic, what sort of angles you're looking to approach with social media and perhaps some influences in general? Yeah, and I mean, we're open to talking to anyone about collaborations and, you know, we've seen, you know, such fruitful activity just from having kind of open conversations with, you know, even similar brands, and also kind of brands in other industries to kind of collaborate where we can find areas that are mutually beneficial. And but when we start to talk about specifically social media and influencers, we've really been able to focus on tapping into the barbering community. And it's really brilliant that we're based out of London, UK, where barbering is, you know, it's very much the maker of Barbering in the world, there is such a great pool of talent across the UK. And it's such a great community as well. You just have to go into Instagram to kind of see the range of barbers offering advice, and showcasing their skills. And they're really passionate about the tools they use as well. And so we have a really big network of barbers that we work with. We love to kind of work with them on helping them use our products as well. And then ultimately, and showcase how to use our products. And so it's about kind of content generation, about having conversations with their customers, introducing them to the brand, how to use the products, and it's been very fruitful for us. And beyond the barbering community. And you know, we've been looking into other parallels that appeal to our target audience. And so we think of the kind of industries like fitness and sports where they have big male followings. And we've been able to tap into different influences ambassadors there, and to use our products, and to really start building them into their daily routines. And, you know, we spoke about the gym there earlier. So, you know, when you start to think about the, the infinite number of fitness influencers out there now, and they play an increasingly important role in our social media strategy, because it just becomes, you know, a normal part of their day and a really important one at that because the product itself, we're not forcing in there, they're the ones that are leading and wanting to use it as well. Yeah, I know. I forgot to ask you a question about getting started. And the capital that it uses. You mentioned that you know, you're young company and you don't have the deep pockets like these other brands do. How did you manage to get the ball rolling with the brand? Did you seek angel investment or any Kickstarter campaigns were these options on the table for you when you started? Yeah, we looked at all these options. And we were fortunate enough, well, fortunate, but we, I guess, we took the risk. And we put some savings into it, to get it off the ground. And what we really wanted to do initially was show that it can be done, and that it is possible to take on the these big established companies in the industry, and get something innovative out there without having to invest, you know, six, seven figures in it, or have, you know, venture capitalists kind of taking over your business from the outset. So we, we were able to use our savings initially to get it off the ground. And we were able to find really trusted suppliers, both in the UK, and in Asia to help us do that. And, you know, we've been lucky in some instances. And it's about kind of really putting yourself out there. And, you know, if you do that, you make your own luck. And, you know, we've been able to find, you know, a brilliant partnership, and to make the high sleds range of a company that we work with in Preston in the UK. And so you know, all our products coming out of there, you know, hundred percent, cruelty free parabens, sulphate free and all recyclable made in the UK. And we're just extremely proud of that. But that came out of us just having a number of different conversations with lots of companies, many who turned us down because of our size, and but this one was willing to work with us. And we've been able to grow and establish a business from there. Now we're getting to the point where, you know, we've been able to show that this is a viable model, with showing growth. And we are now starting to look at investment options. And we will be looking for our first series of funding in 2021. Okay, cool, that's really interesting to know, I think, but people don't realise when new brands and new ideas and products come come to the shelf, shall we say, or come online, is the amount of research that it takes to go into something like this, especially like, like something tech or something like hair and product base, you know, the amount of samples and then like you say, the amount of conversations you have to have with barbers and the amount of data that you need to get back and kind of process that and then figure out well, how do we place our product where the data fits, etc? How long was this process, like from the very Germany idea to where we are now? Yeah, we we spent about 18 to 24 months actually, and, you know, from when I spoke about, you know, we had this idea in about 2016 through to being able to properly have an actual products and into 2019. And it took a lot of initial research, as you see it in terms of electrical and technology, there was a whole new learning curve there for us. And, you know, we had to bring on specialists, you know, that really understood the technology, understood how it should be built, how it should be tested, and that we can have a really kind of quality product that meets all the standards, and within the EU and the UK, at the time and to this day. And so there was, you know, at least 18 to 24 months of time where we had to put into this. And and that can be difficult, you know, because, you know, as a startup or an entrepreneur, having talked to your friends and your family for so long about this thing. Yeah. And it gets mentioned at every party, or when's it coming out? You know, how am I getting over this? Oh, god damn it. And, you know, you got to try and stay motivated. But you get to these points, and you just got to really celebrate these wins. And you know, when might be you know, finally getting to deal with that factory finally getting that website online, finally getting that first buy, you've got to really celebrate these first ones. And that's what's really keeps you motivated. And going through that to that next part of the process. Must have been a great feeling to see the product for the first time and have it in your hand. Yeah, it was it was. It was a great feeling. relief, but a huge worry because you have to sell. Yeah. Now it's real each of these moments I quite short lives because then you're on to the next thing. Yeah. I mean, so like as a, as a guy that's follically challenged. Should I say, perhaps one of the next things you could think about Christian as well as the iron with the six metre cable is a shaver that's ergonomically designed for bald men that don't have to use the same shaver for their head that they use for every other body part. So I actually got a, I got an article printed in the metro last year. And it was because of using the same rays of the last 10 years. And this came about because I said to my girlfriend, I said, She goes, isn't it time you got a new one? I said, what's what's the point, this one still works. She goes, Well, you've had it for as long as I've known you I said I've had it for a lot longer than that. I've had this for about 10 years. And but it's always been the multi purpose tool, shall we say it kind of does cover all of the bits. But there must be something that's that can be done out there. That doesn't mean that guys have to hack away with the same razor until it until it just falls apart in our hands. Anywho just throwing some track down in front of you more ideas, you've got a lot to think about Christian when you when you take that went away. So you mentioned that you've got some other things in the pipeline. Are there any other things like perhaps even further down the road that you're casting your mind towards? Or are you just trying to either get through the pandemic, you just trying to get through Christmas? You know, where's your mind at right now? So yeah, obviously, we're right. And as we record this, right, in the midst of getting live for Christmas right now, which is, you know, obviously, the busiest period of the Year for any business like us. But coming into 2021 and 2022. You know, we spoke about trying to grow for investments, which is a kind of big focus for us from a business perspective. And, but when we look at our our areas of growth, we're looking at bringing on well moving into some key bricks and mortar and retail sites. And we were looking at that initially in 2020. However, obviously, that was put on hold because of the pandemic, but we really like to focus on getting into, you know, some really established retailers, and, and really trying to build the experience out. And these means experience zones, which are becoming a focal point on the high street. As you know, as consumer behaviour changes, and it's been really fast forwarded this year, online, a high street is going to start to click on a different role for brands like us, it's a place where people can go and discover new products, they can play with them. And they don't necessarily need to buy them. But it's a really a place where they can learn how to use them. And get that advice from the experts, which you know we spoke about is really instrumental to our brand and to how we want to interact with customers. And so that's the kind of partnerships we're looking for in terms of bricks and mortar. Going beyond that, we're really looking at how we expand globally. And we have plans to move into the US next year. And as we speak, that's probably going to be made a lot easier on recent election results. So we're really excited about that. And outside of the US into Asia Pacific, obviously, our heritage being down in the Australia, New Zealand, we really want to take the product down there as well. And not just to show our friends and family. Because there is a lot of demands. Coming down that way we get regular comments and emails for, you know, asking when we're going to be down in Australia and New Zealand, and even some really important markets you wouldn't think of so in terms of men's grooming. And you know, both skin and hair care. And the Emirates are another huge market where we get a lot of demand for but we're just not distributing there at the moment. Interesting. Well, listen, I wish you all the best of luck with that. It's a it's a great product. I love the packaging. It's not something that I'll be able to try, unfortunately. But I do like I do like a good looking or a new thing that comes along where it hasn't, you know, it's reinventing something or reimagining something. And it's done well. So I do like I do like design. I always say to my girlfriend, if something doesn't work, and I've got it in my hand, I'm like, this needs to do something better than this. You know, I remember going to a Mont Blanc press event once and there was a cigar case that was being sold for like two grand or something ridiculous right? And I was just saying to the designer said look, no offence me But why is this two grand? It's a cigar case, because it's this and he gets the tray out and it clicks into place. Yes, that is pure design. And it was just that, that reassurance that you've got something that's not gonna break. And it's even just a sound of something clicking or the feel of something, doing what it's supposed to do. So, by the looks of things you've got a great product on your hand heist of sorry, heist of London is the website where people can go and the Instagram where you can check out the products as well as heist of London on Instagram. Christine, thanks so much for taking time out on a Sunday night to talk to me. Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure being on here and speak to you soon. Take care. Bye. Oh, how about that. It's one of those things. I'm not missing about the gyms right now as the men's changing rooms. It's the Wild West, and then some. But Enough, enough about naked dudes. Make sure you're supporting the good guys and head over to heist of London. Treat yourself or your loved one. And in the meantime, thanks for tuning in. If you like what you're hearing, do leave us a review. It helps our egos around here and until next time.