It’s a beauty store, but you won’t find things like glittery nail polish, ruby red lipstick or rose-scented fragrance. That’s because Grooming Lounge targets a clientele that most beauty retailers do not: men.
More specifically, “Our niche is really men looking to upgrade their grooming routine and handsomeness quotient. Our brand is regarded as upscale and classic, with a bit of an edge,” says Michael Gilman, co-founder. “We really just aim for men who want to look and feel better.”
Founded in 1999 by men with experience in the fashion industry, Grooming Lounge’s initial launch was online at groominglounge.com. Since then, the concept has grown to include two brick-and-mortar locations—billed as upscale barbershops and men’s spas—in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, as well as a line of custom-formulated men’s shaving and haircare solutions sold alongside other products. The brick and mortars also offer services, such as men’s haircuts, hot lather shaves and buff manicures in an intentionally masculine setting.
In addition to men’s shaving and haircare supplies, typical product inventory also includes well-chosen selections from skin care, hand and nail tools, body-grooming tools and travel-related categories. An overarching standard no matter what the category is excellent product performance and brand appropriateness.
“We literally try everything before it can go on our site or store shelves. Our corporate office tests the products, our barbers and skincare professionals test the products. We want and need to make sure they fit the bill,” says Gilman.
The company sees no disadvantages to being a niche beauty supplier. “On the plus side, it’s great to be one of the few that carries many of the products and lines we represent,” says Gilman. “There are plenty of places out there that sell stuff for women. Guys need and want a place of their own—a place that stocks a large array of men’s products and that has the information men need to use these products with confidence.”