The gender makeup of the personal care industry is changing rapidly. Men’s grooming products have exploded, with a global market projected to reach $60 billion by 2020. Today, gender-neutral skincare is on the rise, major cosmetics brands are tapping male spokesmodels, and men now represent 47% of the spa-going population in the US, according to PwC and the International Spa Association.
For a unique take on men’s grooming, we spoke to Michael Elliot, the founder of Hammer & Nails, a “grooming shop for guys.”
How did Hammer & Nails start?
I was just a guy who really needed a pedicure and went to a nail salon one day. It wasn’t my first time, but on this particular Sunday, everything that I hated about the experience of going to a traditional salon was heightened and crystallized. I was in an environment that had, up until Hammer & Nails, been designed to make women feel comfortable. As I sat there, I felt like a fish out of water. At that moment, I thought “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a space for a man who wanted or needed this type of service to go to and not feel out of place?”
The men’s care market was growing globally. All the men that were investing in products and services in a way that they didn’t five years ago. For me, it was as simple as walking into Walgreens or CVS and noticing the number of products in the men’s section versus how many there used to be. Now, there was an entire aisle dedicated to men’s products at Target – there just wasn’t a section. Jay-Z wore a 3-piece suit in Vanity Fair and Kanye West wore a tuxedo on the cover of Vogue. Rappers and NBA players were looking good, being stylish, and taking pride in their appearance in a way they didn’t five years earlier. That was one of the marketing indicators that helped me to know that if ever there was a time for a men’s grooming concept like Hammer & Nails, this was it.
There was a statistic from the International Spa Association about how many men at spas get pedicures, and I was surprised at the answer, because it was much larger than the number of men you would think would walk into a typical nail salon every day. That told me that when a man is in a spa, when he is away from judgmental guys, he feels safe and is more likely to get a service like a pedicure.
What did you intend for Hammer & Nails to accomplish?
I wanted Hammer and Nails to be a destination for men who wanted or needed a pedicure. I wanted it to be that place where they felt safe and comfortable. Being a man, we do very little to reward or pamper ourselves. I saw an opportunity to make Hammer & Nails a place that isn’t just about the service of getting a manicure and pedicure, but a place that was experiential. I thought that women would be interested in a unique and thoughtful gift idea for men, and if Hammer & Nails was experiential, we would make that gift.