Meet the Man on the Cutting Edge
Billy Jealousy has positioned itself as “effortless yet edgy, playful but still polished. Sharply tailored for today’s sophisticated bad boy and bad girl….” The brand was founded in 2004 by Pat Parsi and Danielle Rouso, two men on a mission to create skincare based on science and nature. Of course, they’ve also had some fun along the way. Today, you can find Billy Jealousy products across the world, from Singapore to Auckland, NY to LA, London to Johannesburg. And if you like feel good beauty, the brand donates a portion of proceeds to charities like Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Green Corps.
How did you get into the grooming space?
I experienced shaving irritation all through high school, college and grad school. I was using the only things I was aware of at the time: an inexpensive, foaming shave cream from the drugstore and disposable razors. I saw Lab Series shave gel at the department store in the mid-90s and that got me intrigued. I asked myself, “Was it better? Could it eliminate some of my problems with shaving?” At the time the men’s market was very nascent. There wasn’t a sales person to assist me, I couldn’t find a tester or a sample packet to try. Furthermore, it was a lot pricier than what I had been accustomed to at the drug store. However, I decided to take a gamble and made my purchase. I experienced a much better shave, which prompted me to go back and try other products: after-shave balms, eye gels, moisturizers, etc. I found that not only was shaving more palatable but my skin looked healthier and younger.
Fast forward about eight years later to Dec 2003. I walked into a store in Dallas that sold prestige men’s products, which got me interested in opening my own store or distributing a line out of Europe. I eventually decided to launch my own line.
What’s the story behind Billy Jealousy: the name, the brand?
We originally threw out 300 potential names for the brand and narrowed it down to two: Antidote and Slate. Our friend Peter Benanti, who owns a nearby ad agency called Tractorbeam, was originally the VP of Marketing for Fossil. Peter saw the name Billy Jealousy in Hong Kong in the 1980’s. We liked how the name sounded edgy, memorable and unusual. I think what ultimately sold me on the name was that it could be branded on just about anything: clothes, leather goods, accessories, etc.
What’s with the dragon?
We thought, “Well Billy’s a mythical character. What better way to represent his wild spirit than with a mythical creature like a dragon?” But the real answer is we hired Peter’s firm to design the logo and packaging and his young designer kept seeing a dragon next to the name. I liked how a couple of very strong brands have easily recognizable mascots/symbols: Ralph Lauren with the polo player and Lacoste with the crocodile. I felt we could do the same thing with the dragon. Plus I read 40% of adults under 30 in the US have one or more tattoos. Since we are targeting younger consumers, I felt that the dragon symbol made sense.
Has it been challenging to market grooming and skincare products to men?
Although men are becoming better educated on grooming and skincare, it has been a challenge for some men to trade up to prestige products like BJ. However, once they try one of our products they quickly discern the quality difference and start trying additional products.
What is the Billy Jealousy’s best-selling product? Why is it so popular?
Hydroplane Shave Cream. By far. Shaving irritation affects 80% of men and women so the market is huge. Coupled with a high quality razor, Hydroplane Shave Cream eliminates all the common problems of shaving: razor burn, redness, nicks, cuts, bumps and ingrown hairs. Hydroplane is unique because it’s a pre-shave oil, shave cream and moisturizer in one.
It seems that one of men’s biggest skincare hurdles is shaving. Any tips?
Always shave after a shower so that the warm water and steam soften facial hair. Continually adding warm water to the Hydroplane Shave Cream formula while shaving activates the silicone, which makes it slicker and enables greater razor glide. It’s also important to use a high quality razor like a Gillette Mach3 or Fusion. It’s also good to use a scrub like Sucker Punch Face Scrub a couple of times a week to remove dead surface skin cells, which can cause acne.
What is your daily skincare and grooming routine?
I wash my face with White Knight Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser. I then pat my face dry and apply Combat Lines Face Moisturizer SPF 30. I also add a little Wipeout Eye Cream around my eyes, along my orbital bone. I use About Face Anti-Aging Serum every other night before I go to bed. I also use Hydroplane Shave Cream and Shaved Ice After-Shave Balm on the days I shave.
What are your desert island products, from Billy Jealousy and beyond?
Billy Jealousy: Hydroplane Shave Cream, Shaved Ice After-Shave Balm, Combat Lines Face Moisturizer SPF 30, White Knight Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser. For other brands I like Mario Badescu’s AHA Botanical Body Soap, Nickel’s Morning After Rescue Gel and Malin + Goetz’s Detox Face Mask.
How do you think men’s attitude toward grooming has evolved since the advent of the “Metrosexual,” and where are we now?
I think we’re more at the stage of where good grooming is a sign of good health instead of the Metrosexual point of view where it more about personal vanity.
What are the trends you are seeing among men and their preferences, expectations and desires when it comes to personal grooming products and services?
I see a continued expansion in product offerings along with a focus on anti-aging products and natural products. Historically the men’s market has focused around shaving products. However with the aging baby boom population and older Gen Xers, the men’s market will need to create more products addressing these groups’ aging concerns. I also see more emphasis on natural or organic personal care with alternative preservation systems outside of parabens.
For men simplicity is king. Guys want high-quality products that are easy to use that deliver noticeable results. I always keep this in the back of my mind when I am creating new products.