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  3. Exclusive Interview with Kenny Harmel from Scaramouche & Fandango

Exclusive Interview with Kenny Harmel from Scaramouche & Fandango

With Valentines Day fast on the horizon, one thing that most ladies out there will be hoping for is 'a real gent', that is where  Scaramouche & Fandango come in. The brand believes in the art of being a real gent, and creates products they believe help that. We sat down with creator Kenny Harmel to tell us more about the brand and the message behind it. 

Tell us how Scaramouche & Fandango came about and what inspired the unique name?

Scaramouche & Fandango started while Ian, my co-founder, and I were working in the city.  We noticed that the marketplace for men's grooming was extremely cluttered and it was quite confusing and overwhelming when purchasing products.  We decided to develop a body and skincare range that was all about simple science; manufacturing fantastic products but delivered in a simple and honest way.  After developing the branding and formulations (which took about 3 years) we still didn’t have a name; that was probably one of the most difficult parts surprisingly.  When racking our brains Ian was listening to music, the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" came on and the rest is history.  I wish we had a better story; like my middle name is Scaramouche and Ian's is Fandango; unfortunately not!

How big is the Scaramouche & Fandango team?

The team consists of 4 people altogether.  In addition to myself and Ian there is Tamara, Head of Marketing and Product Development, and Natasha who manages UK Business Development.  We're looking to bring on another few members of the team this year as we start to move into more international markets and get involved in some other projects.

What is a typical day like at Scaramouche & Fandango?

To be honest two days are never alike for us which is a good and bad thing!  It comes with its fair share of excitement, challenges, and coffee!  We don't really like to slow down or rest on our laurels and love to get involved with new products and projects all the time.  There are some exciting things coming up this year.

Do you have a favourite product or favourite range?

Within our range my favourite product personally is the Hydrator.  It is extremely efficacious, fast-working and suitable for all skin types.  I was extremely picky when it came to moisturisers and this one ticks all the boxes.  We also handpicked a certain ingredient called Chronodyn, which is a clinically proven anti-ager, so it holds back the ageing process a little; although I'm still losing my hair unfortunately!

Having said that, however, our new 4in1 sports wash is fantastic, and the perfect product to pop in the gym bag or for a long trip away.

Where does the inspiration for the different products come from?

We designed the range to be as simplistic as possible and suitable for all hair and skin types.  We wanted to pick products that could be used everyday and that catered to every man's essential grooming regime.

We of course wanted the range stand out aesthetically, but ultimately if the product doesn't perform then there is no point.  So we spent about 3 years developing the formulations and handpicking certain ingredients tailored to each product's function, such as Brazilian Papaya in the Body Wash, and Guava in the Shave Cream.

What do you think makes a real gent?

To try and summarise this in just one sentence is quite hard, particularly as more and more brands are talking about being a modern gent and what that means. For us the concept of being a real gent is not about the clothes you wear or places you are seen, it's a way of life. It's appreciating that there is more to life than a pocket square and cigar and showing that substance over style is the key. We don't believe that you have to live in a certain area or look a particular way to fit the bill - being a real gent is simply about leading and enjoying a meaningful life.

What is your favourite thing about being British? i.e. the style, the heritage, fish and chips?

There is so much to love about being British and we're so proud to be able to manufacture our range here. We love the diversity in Britain, the innovation, the music, the people. For a small island we're strong and exciting - we're the home of the internet, Shakespeare, the 2012 Olympics, Glastonbury, Jonny Wilkinson, roast dinners, Wimbledon and Gin!  Whilst some may laugh at our polite ways it underpins who we are and is something we would not change. The way we see it - our heritage is steeped with tradition and our future is full of opportunity. 

Scaramouche & Fandango has really bold packaging, where did the inspiration for this come from?

When we were developing the range we did a lot of research and looked at our competitors - what we found was a market full of undifferentiated products that were both cluttered and confusing. We wanted to create something completely different and strip things back to put the simplicity back into grooming. We worked on a number of concepts but chose to make the range black and masculine with simple and bold product names. Our range has been likened to a periodic table - although this wasn't deliberate it does seem fitting as there is a scientific element to all our products due to them being carefully formulated for a specific purpose.

Do you think there is a signature element to all the Scaramouche & Fandango products?

The whole range shares the same ethos of simplicity and we use one signature fragrance across the range. We have specifically chosen ingredients in each of the formulations to address a particularly need but at the same time don't feel the need to oversell the products with complex science. As a consumer you expect to buy efficacious products and our aim is to consistently deliver good quality products at affordable prices. 

What has been the biggest challenge for Scaramouche & Fandango so far?

As with any new business the main challenge has been around cash flow. As a manufacturing business we need to pay our suppliers early, and are often subject to lengthy payment terms from our retailers which has an impact.

Can you describe the company in one sentence?

A risk taken by two friends that is now disrupting the male grooming industry

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?

It is tough to whittle it down to just one.  I'd say the overriding one has been to trust your instincts.  There are bound to be some difficult questions, and difficult choices that arise, and it's always best to go with your gut.  

What is in the future for Scaramouche & Fandango?

The next couple of years are hopefully quite exciting for us.  We are due to launch our flagship store later this year and around that launch will be unveiling certain products to 'complete' the range.  Beyond that we are growing our distribution in the UK and internationally, and will also be involved in a number of other projects that, without giving away any 'spoilers', should really enhance the awareness of S&F on a huge scale.  Watch this space!

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Have you got a favourite Scaramouche & Fandango product? We'd love to hear about it.

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