Hanz de Fuko is an unconventional hair care brand for men founded by three childhood friends—David Alfonso, Chris Zent, and Jarrett Winfield—who set out to launch grooming products for regular men that were created by regular men. Using social media and inventive YouTube how-to videos to spread the word, Hanz de Fuko has gained a following in over 100 countries, including more than a few bold case names.
Read on to learn how these three buddies cracked the entrepreneurial code, and what’s behind the unusual name.
How did you three guys come together to create Hanz de Fuko?
Hanz de Fuko came about when we three childhood friends (David Alfonso, Chris Zent, and Jarrett Winfield) saw a huge disconnect in the men’s grooming industry. We wanted to start something original, creative, and clean—a brand for men by regular men (i.e., not salon professionals). The goal was also to have a social media component: a way for regular guys to be able to teach other regular guys how to style their hair. Jarrett was living in London at the time, and when he came home for Christmas in 2008, we had only one product—Scheme Cream. Jarret stumbled across a laboratory sample of a clay product that the other boys didn’t like. He knew it was the most unique clay product that he had ever used. That was our “Oprah Winfrey, ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment.” Our “Hero” product, Quicksand, was born, and we knew that we had something.
What’s the story behind the name?
We wanted to create a name that embodied global accessibility. Hanz de Fuko it was! Please see Hanz de Fuko: Behind the Culture, which is an awesome video representation of the brand.
How did you use Social Media to launch and grow HdF?
The success of our social media outreach on YouTube really comes down to putting the “Social” back into social media. It’s about more than great hair products, it’s about culture and community—fostering an environment where individual creativity is embraced, creating an open line of communication between our customers and our products, encouraging feedback and interaction, and providing men with the tools and resources (How-To Video Tutorials, Styling Tips & Tricks, and Hair Consultations via Phone & Email) needed to address such FAQs as “Which hair product do I use to achieve X hairstyle?” or “What is the process/technique to achieve X hairstyle?”
Our YouTube tutorials are a truly unique “X-Factor” that have helped to build brand awareness while providing an educational platform for “guys to teach other guys” how to style and groom. We’ve hand-selected YouTube grooming vloggers and sponsored them with product. We have about 20 different vloggers doing tutorials at the moment and we ave around 60-70 million total views of videos featuring out products. These videos have reached men in over 100 countries (and only 150 countries in the world currently have internet—pretty crazy. Here is an example of a “Ryan Gosling Inspired Style” with about a half million views.
Our website features really cool video tutorials that show guys how to do their hair. We have a HUGE celebrity fan base from David Beckham to Bruno Mars, Hugh Jackman, Neon Trees, and Calvin Harris from the Script. We have received accolades and awards for our products, including About.com’s 2012 Readers Choice Award for “Best Men’s Styling Product” (Quicksand) and “Best Men’s Conditioner” (Natural Conditioner).
What is your product development philosophy?
While Quicksand is our hero product, the entire line is VERY unique. To our knowledge, it’s the only 100% water-soluble line available for men. This is a great attribute because you can mix, match, layer, and cocktail ALL of the products without weighing down your hair. The possibilities are practically endless AND the products wash out quickly and easily; so girlfriends no longer have to worry about their hipster boyfriends getting petroleum-based pomades all over the pillows anymore. We want to create revolutionary products that really work and speak to the needs of guys.
Tells us about your video tutorials and why they work so well with men?
Guys don’t ask other guys how to do their hair. And some guys lack the look and style they want not because they don’t care but because they don’t know how to get it. Our tutorials offer up great ways for guys to see how to create various styles with different products. We are making it accessible on a real level with real guys showing how to do it—not stylists showing models how to do it. It is relatable.
What’s next for Hans de Fuko?
We have a new product that just launched, which is a hybrid between a clay and a wax–look for it on our website.