A Start Up’s Journey So Far — Regal Gentleman

I have been thinking for a while now about what my first post on Medium should be. Should it be start up advice? A story about something I am passionate about? But I thought the best thing to start with was the journey so far I’ve had with my first child. My first business, Regal Gentleman. With just real facts about our journey, and the work of a real start up so far.

My best friend, and honorary Jennings family member, Josh Blackburn and I started work on Regal Gentleman in September 2013. The idea came to us while sitting in his bedroom thrashing out ideas for a new business. At 20 years old, we just knew what we both wanted and knew we had to do something. So after a few discussions and brainstorming of names (Men Groom, Groomed Gentleman, Modern Man were just a few names discussed.) The Gentleman’s grooming hub, Regal Gentleman, was born.

On the 25th May 2014 we launched regalgentleman.com and as inexperienced 21 year olds now, we expected within a few short months to be quitting our full time jobs and be riding the train to success. As you can probably guess, it didn’t quite go as smoothly as we first imagined.

The sales started to come very slowly, after building initial traction purely through social media (mainly Twitter) and connecting with gentlemen we thought would be interested in buying grooming products. The beard trend and the products that came with it initially carried us, making great sales for us at the time through the Christmas periods.

However, after people saying to us, “Do you sell things other than beard products?”, this is when we made one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made to date. We decided we didn’t want to be “all about beard”, and decided to stop pushing this at all. At this point our best seller now becomes something we don’t push at all. The next months followed with less and less sales every month.

But as much of a mistake as this was, it led to a shift in mentality. Both of us began to read more and more about customer experience. Josh, a huge fan of Zappos, and myself reading books like The Thank You Economy and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook from Gary Vaynerchuk.

Focus turned away from vanity metrics like site visits and one time sales towards retention. We have customers, but why are we not keeping them? was the question we asked ourselves. The reason, because we weren’t giving them something different. We thought our nice site design, and that we’d be there if someone asked a question was enough.

This was the beginning of Regal Gentleman becoming a customer experience business in the men’s grooming industry. Our mission “To help without expectation & make some friends along the way”.

How do we do this? By focusing on the customer and the potential customers. People who connect with our brand regularly, and people who talk about things similar to us. We try to make a difference to their lives, without expecting something in return.

As Gary Vaynerchuk says “It’s not important how much money you make, it’s how you make your money that matters.”

What have we done so far? We’ve put extensive focus on the little touch points of experiences customers have with us. That means a thank you card when purchasing, hand written by us, time out to thank people individually for their emails, Gent of the Day on our Instagram page using real people. With more and more to come.

And so our journey continues. Along the trail of helping without expectation and making some friends along the way. While also making some money in business at the same time, but in the right way!