Festive ’14: Bulldog

I HEART THINGS IN TINS.
BULLDOG
I think dudes like tins, too? And you will A) like the Bulldog price point, which is a snip for all these full-sized samples; and B) love the results when your dude uses these.

I also heart the design of these tubes, as they are not black and silver. Now, there’s plenty of men’s products that come in black and silver that I adore {or: j’adore, as Chanel Allure Sport falls into the category}, but these are refreshingly white and clean, and won’t make your bath look like a James Bond film has exploded.

This is pretty much a clean, manly face in a bucket: serum, face wash, shave balm and moisturiser. The only thing wanting is the exfoliant, which is terrific — I know because I used it myself when the brand first landed on Irish shores.

There are other gifts to choose from, but this one is the best!

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Bulldog Limited Edition Expert Skincare Set, €25.50

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Festive ’14: Here We Go!

What few standards I have, I stick with, one being: no mention of The Christmas until after Thanksgiving. So Happy Black Friday, everyone: let the gift shopping begin.

FESTIVE 14!Let’s try that again: let the gift shopping begin!

I’ve got a load of ideas for lady-beauty prezzies, and even some stuff for dudes, that won’t tax your pocket or your brain. In the best possible sense, of course.

Gift packages have improved enormously over the past few years, and many of my favourite products are being presented beautifully this season. I’ve been shooting {‘shooting’} them this morning, and in a fit of meta-tasticness, above please find the pre-shoot non-styling.

I’ll have offerings from The Body Shop, Lush, Bulldog, Roger & Gallet and more, including some Guaranteed Irish products. Stay tuned!

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Dude Week: Q&A with Simon Duffy, Founder of Bulldog

Simon Duffy is 36, and lives in North London. He’s married (soz, ladies) with a baby daughter, and a dog called Bruno. With a background in advertising and product development, it seems natural — no pun intended — that he’d know how to work with a new and big idea. Along with business partner Rhodri Ferrier, he conceived a line of skincare products for men that were akin to the good stuff that women were able to buy for themselves.

Bulldog rolled out in the UK in 2007 in Sainsbury’s, and whilst the business has grown, Simon is keeping it real. ‘We’re certainly a lot bigger now, and are currently operating in 12 countries,’ he says. ‘However, we’re still learning, and by no means do we have all the answers yet.’ Here as some answers! Simon very kindly talked to B&B! about ideas, fundraising, and follow through.

SIMON

What was the ‘ah ha!’ moment that lead to the start up this business?
The idea for Bulldog came about when I was shopping for skincare products for my wife. All the products she used were natural, and when I went to buy my own I realised that there were just no natural products out there for men. A few days later I met Rhodri and told him about my idea for natural skincare products for men. By the end of the night we had agreed to become business partners. In 2006 we decided to quit our jobs and create Bulldog with no experience in the sector.

Can you talk about the learning curve involved in the start up, and how you’ve grown since then?
Once we had the idea, we did an enormous amount of research into all aspects of product development. Our main considerations were that we wanted to make the highest quality natural skincare products for men, manufacture everything in the UK, and offer great value to consumers.

Personally, I would never spend €30 for a moisturiser, so value was always going to be key. Our Original Moisturiser has a RRP of €8.75 and comes in a 100ml tube, making it considerably cheaper than the smaller sized alternatives from L’Oreal and Nivea. We’re really proud that we can make this affordable without any compromise on our commitment to using the highest quality natural ingredients or delivering great performance. This took an enormous amount of work in the upfront stage.

How did you get the whole thing off the ground?
Initially Rhodri and I combined our life savings and maxed out our credit cards. I think we scraped together just under £37,000. However, once we started talking to large retailers like Sainsbury’s, we realised we were going to need additional funds.

Raising money is a very hard thing to do. We spoke to hundreds of potential investors and got knocked back more times than I care to remember. Ultimately, we found a group of people who loved our concept of removing controversial chemicals and replacing them with the highest quality natural ingredients. The people who invested in Bulldog are as passionate about Bulldog as we are.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to go out on their own in business in general, and skincare in particular?
Don’t conform to industry conventions, and make sure you work with great people.

It’s been a really steep learning curve, especially at the beginning as we were total outsiders to the industry. Nothing is insurmountable however, providing that you approach every challenge with an open mind, and actively look to seek out people more experienced than you to help at critical stages. We’ve learnt a great deal through collaborating with great people.

I am struck by the packaging design — most dude stuff has very macho names, and the containers are black or silver with like, racing stripes all over them. Can you talk about the approach that you took to designing the line’s appearance, and the ethos behind it?
We compete with massive multinational companies who spend tens of millions of pounds on marketing their brands. There’s nothing unique about them as they pretty much do everything the same. They all use very similar formulations, market their products in exactly the same way, and really are just repackaging traditionally female products for men.

Their packaging all feels very similar and derivative. People have grown used to this sea of sameness on the male skincare shelf, which is typically, as you say, a blur of blues, black and greys.
Bulldog Group Pack Shot

We wanted to bring something exciting and fresh to the skincare category and we wanted our packaging to reflect this. We set ourselves the challenge of standing out rather than blending in. When you can’t afford to run massive advertising campaigns, you have to let your products do the talking for you. We like to think that the shelf is our opportunity to catch people’s eye.

Last year I got some samples of Bulldog’s products, and very boldly used them myself instead of passing them on to the dudes in my life! Turnabout is fair play!

Seriously though, I thought they were great, especially the face scrub. It’s not as if there’s not enough product for women out there, but have you thought about applying your principles to lady product?
Great to hear this! We do know that our face scrub, face wash and moisturiser have something of a female cult following, which is great. However, we have no plans to launch a new range or a sub-range in this area. There are just so many ‘For Men’ version of female brands, where men know that they are being treated as something of an afterthought. We only want to focus on men’s skin, and unlike pretty much 100% of our competition, Bulldog is 100% focused on men and their skincare needs.

Any new launches we should look out for?
Watch out for our brilliant new roll-on deodorant, coming later this year. We are also working on some great gifting sets and you should start to see some new options in the later part of this year as well. We’re also working on some new face wash products, but we can’t quite reveal any exact details in this area just yet!

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Look out for Bulldog at Sam McCauley Chemists, McCabes Pharmacies , www.beautyfeatures.ie and  selected pharmacies nationwide; see www.meetthebulldog.com for more information.

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Coming Soon! Dude Week on B&B!

In honour of the above, here’s a link to a thing about dudes. Added bonus: that link within the link, via La Roche-Posay, is still live and kickin’.

Dude Week on B&B! will include Q&As from:
> Simon Duffy of Bulldog Skincare for Men.
> Peter Brennan, the man behind the distribution in Ireland of Polish skincare brand Ziaja.
> St Tropez’s celebrity tan man, Jules Heptonstall.
> The man behind the colour of The Hair, Andrew Dunne of Mane Salon — which will come as a surprise to him because I haven’t even sent him the Qs yet. Hi, Andrew! See you tomorrow!
> … and one more dude of some stripe, any ideas? Any dudes you want to hear from? That is within the remit, like. Like, don’t say Obama, or Aaron Paul who plays Jesse Pinkman. Soz, bitches.

In closing, here’s a screengrab of my Vichy Dude, from my personal video message.
MY VICHY DUDE. MINE!
My Vichy dude. Mine. No matter what this wan thinks.

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Carrots and Bulldogs and Teeth Foam — Oh My!

I almost called this post TMI, because I received so much info today, I feel like I need a lie down. This is good! and also my job to process it for you, dear readers. I’m just going to do big picture right this second, and get back to you on the details.

Premium hosted a whole lotta products and services today in Residence in Stephen’s Green, a venue that is swiftly becoming a second home. It’s as lovely as a home from home can get: have a look at this…
FLOCKED CEILING PAPERThat there is flocked ceiling paper. Ceiling paper? Is that right? It didn’t look like it was tiles — I couldn’t see any seams. How did it transpire that I had such a view? We’ll get to that. {Nothing saucy involved, more’s the pity.}

The Yes To… line have a big launch coming later in the year, adding Grapefruit, for dark spot and dark circle correction. I’ve got a sample of the Correct & Repair Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream, I’ll get back to yees on this.

I blogged about Bulldog Natural Skincare back in September, when it was total crazy talk to be posting about stocking fillers. I bet you were rushing round like an eejit, trying to but for the d00ds in your life, hmmm? Don’t be caught short this year, and be sure to keep an eye out for the new additions to the line, in the form of Sensitive Shave Cream and Original Shower Gel. I’ll be Q&Aing with co-founder Simon Duffy in the near future.

Sharing space with the boy’s stuff was St Tropez, who have a new Gradual Tan Plus Anti-Aging for Face lotion; Lytesse, whose Shapewear is meant to firm up yer bum and take off inches {ah, sure, I’ll give it a go}; and Seche, whose one-coat wonder nail varnish was applied to my World Famous Supermodel Thumbnail™ and looks pretty amazing:
SECHE one coat

I didn’t get the rest of me fingers did because I was all like, Oh I don’t have the time — but then I got dazzled by the promise of Pearlys Teeth Brightening Treatment, and I just had to go for it.

Brightening, not whitening, which is what made it attractive to me: too scared of peroxide, and not so sure about lasering, I was happy enough to be convinced into giving the three part, roughly twenty minute procedure a go. Which was why I ended up flat on my back on a plinth, looking like The Silence of the Lambs.

PEARLY

Ahhahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa. I just don’t care. That is totally crazy, that picture. Don’t. Give. A. Toss. It’s funny.

And my teeth look brighter! And now I am encouraged to use the brand’s Daily Teeth Whiten Foam {€25}! And… yeah, no, that picture is totally insane.

Too much excitement! I deffo need that nap.

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For even more information, go to premium.ie

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Okay, Don’t Kill Me, Okay? Stocking Filling Ideas for Christmas 2012

{Stop screaming at me!}

Come on, seriously: there is nothing worse than trying to buy for certain dudes. The dude you get in the Secret Santa at work? Your younger sister’s rando boyfriend? {My younger sister married a lovely man, so this in no way applies to me.} An uncle who is sort of youngish but not really — like, he thinks you think he ought to be receiving the latest in sk8r wear but, uh, no?

Not to say that Bulldog Natural Skincare is a last ditch attempt to buy a decent gift — rather, it is perfect for every dude, no matter their relation to you, and is a perfect gift to yourself should you treat your significant male other.

The line launched in Ireland earlier in the month, and I met brand co-founder Simon Duffy round about that time. He and business partner Rhodri Ferrier came up with the idea for this line of non-man-made, but made-for-men face stuff, for the kind of guy who cares about his pelt.

Non-man-made, that is, as regards nasty parabens and artificial colours and such. These two men came up with the idea and started the brand from their own initiative, without having had any experience in the skincare line previously.

I liked what I tested, even though it was only the usual test-it-on-the-back-of-your-hand launch behaviour. I really like the packaging*: it’s clean and fresh — like the stuff inside! — and also a relief from the stupid chrome and black default that most men’s lines fall into.

I hope to get some proper dude feedback, but I may keep the Original Face Scrub for myself.

Prices range from €4.99-€12.99, so, I mean, come on. It’s a natural stocking filler, and it’s win-win, for everybody involved. You could go to the chemists this weekend and get so much holiday shopping done! Can you imagine?!? {Me, neither.}

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Available McCabes Pharmacies , http://www.beautyfeatures.ie and  selected pharmacies nationwide.

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*There I go again.