How One Haircut Launched Wise's Eco-Friendly Men's Grooming Line
By: Casha Doemland
All-natural, organic, eco-friendly and sustainable are terms that are frequently thrown around on products you'd find in the personal care section of any store. And yet, a majority of those products are still packaged in plastic and oftentimes include the kind of super-secret ingredients grown in an evil scientist’s laboratory.
And that’s why Wise's line of men's grooming products stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Founded by André Barsalou, Simon Chercuitte and Abraham Gusman in August 2017, the company prides themselves on using ingredients sourced from the wilds of Canada and then selling their goods in sustainable yet chic packaging.
As a barber, Simon had successfully launched four salons and one truck, yet still had aspirations of creating a line of products. One day, Barsalou hopped in his chair, and the two discussed their entrepreneurial ambitions and observations around the lack of engaging, design-oriented and high-quality natural products for men.
"It started as a discussion based on products Simon would suggest to Gusman and me with what he had available in his shop," says Barsalou. "Jokingly, we decided we should start a company together, and eventually things got serious, and we started having meetings one week after the next. Soon, Simon's chair became the breeding ground for Wise, and we were able to create our company."
Prior to the launch, the trio immersed themselves in research, spending a year testing out prototypes for the packaging.
"The process consisted of analyzing the market and figuring out what needed to be communicated with the design," begins Barsalou. "One of our priorities was to communicate the natural side alongside the urbane, hence the sleek minimalistic design of glass packaging matched with a wood top."
On top of that, the founders wanted to integrate an eco-friendly aspect via refills and recycled cardboard for the packaging. All of which is not only functional but visually appealing.
"The design element was very important to us," starts Gusman. "We wanted to create something innovative that the market hasn't seen."
To do so, Wise brought on Gabriel Lefebvre as the lead in-house designer and shareholder. Lefebvre experience spans across great brands like Adidas and Surf Grooming Kit, which sprouted the initial attraction to have him be a part of the team.
Throughout their partnership, the founders of Wise and Lefebvre produced dual packaging for each of their products. The refillable glass and wooden containers, stylish enough to be decor for your bathroom, as well as the cardboard containers for the more rustic type. Even the cardboard variety can be used as a refill for the glass containers, creating yet another use for the design.
The ingredients, however, are the real star of the show. Glacier Clay Pomade is made with glacial marine clay from northern British Columbia. "We wanted this product to be more in line with the earthiness of the clay," says Barsalou. "The glacial marine clay had a little lighter finish, which dictated the necessity to use a secondary clay to keep the matteness and then beeswax to have a natural hold."
Glacier Clay is great for all hair types and supplies a medium hold. It, alongside Wise’s other wonderful products, can be found in Montreal at Monthly, Simon’s barber shop, Hills of Kerrisdale in Vancouver, Welcome Stranger in SF as well as 200 other locations worldwide.
Everyone deserves to look their best, whether it's bar hopping with friends around the city, attending a meeting for work or meeting your girlfriend's mom, you've got to make sure your hair is looking fresh, or at least well groomed.
And if you can do it sustainably, even better.
LA-based and Georgia-bred, Casha Doemland spends her days crafting poetry and freelance writing. Over the last two years, she’s been published in a variety of publications and zines around the world. When she’s not nerding out with words, you can catch her watching a classic film, trekking around the globe or hanging out with a four-pound Pomeranian.