EastWing Grooming Co has quickly become a popular choice for bearded gentlemen. In the few months since launch they have grown rapidly in popularity, due to the quality and style of their products, including several celebrity endorsements from professional sportsman. James Wingate & Gary Easton the company directors give an insight into how their beard care range came about and their team of industry experts that give them their professional edge.
- When did you launch the brand and how did you both start it?
We started putting ideas together for our beard product range in March 2017. Luckily James’ fiancée Shelley is a qualified Herbalist so we were able to draw on her knowledge and experience, as well as that of her close friend and colleague Socha (a qualified Aromatherapist), to experiment with blends and aromas using pure, natural ingredients. After many hours together, our signature aromas were created – Fresh Peppermint, Mellow Orange and Rich Citrus. Socha was also able to help us fine-tune the blend to ensure it had maximum benefit; keeping beards nourished and moisturised to avoid the dryness and itchiness so often suffered by bearded men without proper beard care.
And so, EastWing Grooming Co was born! We’ve poured our hearts and souls into creating a professional look and professional feel of men’s grooming, and the range officially launched in September 2017.
- Tell us how you came up with your brand name/image
Both coming from professional, office-based backgrounds, we wanted to avoid the stereotypical viking/lumberjack look and the woody/musky aromas so often associated with beard care products. We’ve created a range that not only provides great hold and outstanding moisturisation, but also incorporates the scents and style that modern men can enjoy.
We spent hours trying to come up with the perfect business name to fit our premium, professional style, then had a light-bulb moment of a brand name that was unique and personal to us – half of each of our surnames! It was simple, really.
- What’s both your backgrounds?
James: I spent years managing cocktail bars, and loved the interaction with people in such a lively atmosphere; it was great fun. However, I decided to get a grown-up job when the constant late nights started taking their toll, and have spent the last 14 years working my way up in financial services helping people with their investment and borrowing needs. It gives you a great sense of pride when you can truly help someone make a difference in their lives on such a big scale.
Gary: I started my career in financial services in 2010, having previously worked in the fitness industry as a personal trainer. I’ve always been a keen sportsman, and played football and cricket at county/professional levels. Sadly, I’m not getting any younger and, owing to old injuries, I’m more often found on the golf course than the football/cricket pitch these days. I now work with start-ups and small-to-medium sized businesses; which has given me the insight we need to make EastWing a success.
- How do you both know each other?
We met working in the same office in financial services, and hit it off instantly due to our mutual attitude of enjoying working hard for the benefit of others. We’ve remained good friends ever since, and knew we’d make ideal partners in business.
- How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by an experienced team of industry experts. We are supported by four key members making up the team. Shelley is our qualified Herbalist, who works closely with Socha our expert Aromatherapist to help us to design and blend our products. Shelley also looks after the website and orders.
Dave is our beard expert who tests and reviews our products before we send them out to trial with experienced barbers, as well as writing guides for our blog. And last but no means least there’s Katie; our lifestyle blogger and self-titled Official Cheesecake Eater! Katie also helps us with our social media and her contributions offer greater diversity to our following.
- What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Balancing priorities and time commitments with busy family lives whilst working full time and keeping up with the overwhelming popularity that EastWing has attracted has been the hardest challenge so far. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day! Having said that, we love the challenge and opportunities the business has presented in the short time since we launched, and we’re very excited for the future as the business continues to grow.
- Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
James: I’m a big James Bond fan. I was given one of the original Ian Fleming books a few Christmases ago and ended up reading the whole collection within 6 months. Every time I see one on TV I can’t help but get drawn into watching them over and over again. Goldfinger is definitely my favourite.
Gary: I share the same Birthday as George Clooney. Now there’s a dapper gent!
- 2018 is almost here, where do you both plan on taking the brand?
Evolving our product range is a big focus for us in the new year and we’re currently experimenting in the lab with some exciting new ideas for other men’s grooming products, so watch this space! Men are focusing ever more on improving their style and health. We want to live up to the task of providing them with high-quality, natural options that also look good on the bathroom shelf.
We’ve also sponsored a team of students from Brighton University as part of their PR & Marketing degrees. We’ve allowed them to use EastWing for the next 6 months as part of their coursework and gives us further diverse insight with our social media and advertising campaigns.
- To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
James: In such a short period of time, you’d think that be an easy question with little to choose from but we’ve had so many amazing moments over the last couple of months that it is actually a tough one.
The phone call from GQ was definitely one that had me dancing around my office. We said from the start if we could make it into GQ within the first 12 months of launching we were on the right track, and had the right style. They called 10 days after we launched and asked if they could feature us in their top gifts to buy a dapper gent for Christmas. I couldn’t believe we’d caught their eye so quickly and they couldn’t believe we were only 10 days old. We’ve now decided to start setting harder goals.
Gary: For me it has been meeting and getting to know Bruno Salter (Club Captain) and some of the other Brighton & Hove Albion football players. As a local Brighton boy and supporter of the Club since I was 4 years old, it has been a pleasure to introduce Bruno to our product range – he must have the most recognised beard in Brighton! We can’t thank Bruno enough for his support since we launched EastWing, and to know he uses our products by choice is a real privilege.
- Style means….?
James: Choosing your own and evolving with your own tastes, not everyone else’s.
Gary: Self-expression; being who you want to be and having the confidence to do it.
- The best thing about Brighton to you?
James: For a city, it can feel like a small place. It’s such a mix of style and tastes where you can often find a connection with a complete stranger over the most random of coincidences. You just feel part of a large community that has a very diverse nature.
Gary: They don’t call it London-by-the-Sea for nothing. Brighton offers the very best in terms of fashion and style outside of London, and we wanted to reflect this in our brand. Brighton is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that I love to call home.
- Statement shoe or statement watch?
James: I am rather partial to a Breitling watch. They’re so cool and I know favoured by pilots. Top Gun movie fan FYI!
Gary: I am definitely a big watch man. No comparison really.
- If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
James : My 3-piece, stone-grey suit just like Sean Connery in Goldfinger (told you I was a fan!).
Gary: I’d be on the golf course every day if I could, so for me it would have to be my collection of Galvin Green golf wear.
- Favourite love song?
James: ‘Worse’ by Snoh Aalegra. Its haunting baseline with her soulful voice sends shivers.
Gary: ‘All of me’ by John Legend. It was the first dance at our wedding. Soppy, but that song will always bring back special memories.
- Best place for a coffee?
James: Sitting in bed with my 3-year-old son watching cartoons.
Gary: Café Melbec in the heart of Brighton & Hove is our go-to place. You can’t beat sitting in there with a good cup of coffee watching the bustling streets of Brighton go by. They do a mean selection of wines too!
- A most memorable piece of advice given to you?
James: Never write people off on first impressions, you never know where the conversation could take you.
Gary: Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
- Guilty pleasure?
James: I love Pizza like a Ninja Turtle.
Gary: I admit it, I am a secret Nutella scoffer! It always seems to make its way into a supermarket shop!
- If you could spend 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
James: A long way to go for 24 hours but I would probably say New England in the USA. Would love to watch the Patriots play as always liked American Football. Shame their home ground is called the Gillette stadium though.
Gary: Las Vegas. That place is unreal. I’ve only been once and would love to go back. Vegas has so much to see and do, from shows to orchestrated fountains, and some of the most outrageous hotels and casinos you will ever see.
- Where can people find out more? (website/social media)
You can find our full product range and place orders via our website
You can also join us on our EastWing journey on Facebook (@Eastwingroomingco), Instagram (@eastwing_grooming_co) and Twitter (@EastWingGroomCo).
We very much encourage our followers to engage with us and join us on our journey.