Patricks: Seven years in the making

Patricks' productsHow does a former electrician switch careers to creating a Sydney based luxury men’s hair and skincare brand?

Meet Patricks CEO Patrick and his wife Aimee Kidd, an Australian couple who has built a global empire and partnering with retail giants such as David Jones, Neiman Marcus, Lane Crawford, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

Inside FMCG interviewed Patrick on switching careers, why it took several years to launch the hair and skincare products in the market and how much it costs to put up a business.

“The research and development stage took a long time as I am a perfectionist. I think I was a pain in the [neck] with my constant tweaks and need for perfection. I pushed our chemists, engineers and designers to their limits, but I believed in my vision and didn’t want to settle. I am sometimes torn between being the nice guy and being a business guy,” Patrick told Inside FMCG on why it took the company seven years to release their first product in the market.

“There have been many difficult moments along the way. It [took] many prototypes and redesigns, two failed manufacturing attempts, blown deadlines, surviving corporate sabotage and a whole lot of hustle. But things are really moving along now and we’ve grown from a small startup to a multi-million dollar business with award-winning products stocked by some of the world’s best stores and I am really proud of that.”

Inside FMCG: How did you switch careers from being an electrician to creating men’s hair and skincare products?

Patrick Kidd: Electrician by trade, I was sick of crawling under floor boards and knew there was more I wanted to do and achieve and this set in motion a drastic career change. I decided to risk it all and re-mortgage my apartment to start a new business.

Inside FMCG: Tell us how Patricks began.

I was fed up getting bad haircuts and knew it could be done better so in 2005 I opened a men’s hair salon. I could see there was a massive gap in the market and it was an amazing business opportunity. Through a lot of hard work I built it up into a really successful business, even winning Australian hair salon of the year.

I knew we had a cool brand so decided to take on the big guys and develop the most high-performing, luxurious range of men’s hair products ever released. I travelled halfway around the globe to partner with the best formulations company, then tested and re-tested the products until we had it right. I had big dreams for the future and a gut feeling I was going to get it all done, one way or another.

Inside FMCG: How much does it cost to put up a hair and skincare brand?

Like all startups, I needed capital, but I didn’t have the funds to pay a Corporate Advisor. So at 33, I went back to school, studied Corporate Finance and raised the money myself. I wore my lucky pair of Givenchy High Tops and Yeezy track pants to my first investor meeting and signed the guy up on the spot. It’s not that I don’t take business seriously or that I am disrespectful, I just try to stay genuine and true to who I am. Putting on a suit isn’t me. We managed to over-subscribe our capital raise in three days, which was amazing.

So far we have invested over 4 million dollars into building our Patricks but we’re on track to give our investors a good return on investment. On top of the financial investment, my wife Aimee and [me] have hustled, stressed, worked long hours and put everything into the business for nearly 10 years, so we are very pleased to see [it] achieving so much success now.

Inside FMCG: How did you partner with big retail brands?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they replicate what already works or produce something that looks the same as everything else. It’s important to give big retailers a new product that is unlike anything else on the market. Doing something different makes the process incredibly challenging, but that’s what has enabled us to partner with the big retailers and win awards. Everything we do is different. It’s the difference and attention to details that matter.

It’s also important when developing a brand to know the target market and distribution strategy so when you present to a retailer you know you have a product they can’t get anywhere else and that their customers will buy it and it fits in their store aesthetic and brand line up. We have a very succinct and clear distribution strategy, which means we turn down many retailers.

Inside FMCG: How does Patricks compete with other leading brands in the market?

The formulations are made from the highest quality raw ingredients and were engineered by a team of world-renowned chemists in Miami, USA. No holds barred, I gave the formulations company an open budget to produce the best performing product possible – beyond anything that had been engineered before. In addition to the superior performance, I wanted to pack in extra benefits and so we developed the Patricks Recovery Compound that addresses hair loss, hair growth and scalp health.

Our award-winning products do what they say they will. Each formula is best in class with superior performance. The active ingredients in Patricks Recovery Compound have proven efficacy to target hair loss and scalp health. Each product has a subtle bespoke cologne made with a fragrance house in New York and inspired by classic fragrances from the 1950s.

Inside FMCG: Tell us how you came up with a unique packaging which has won awards.

I wanted something that would set us apart both on the shelf and from a functionality point of view. Being an industry outsider has meant I was not constrained by industry norms and I draw inspirations from my love of luxury cars, watches, Apple products and architecture.

If I had listened to everyone, we would have released a product that was no different to anything else on the market. I think I drove the packaging company crazy with how perfect I needed to get everything and really had to fight for the high level of quality I expected. I was not prepared to compromise on anything even if it took several years, countless re-works and exceeded our budget!

Our custom packaging is inspired by elements from both personal electronics and luxury cars, our package features a rectilinear form factor in which the front edge and base are fused with thick plate aluminium. A double-lock system ensures the package will not open in storage or transit. The dimensions were inspired based on the Fibonacci sequence and the front angle is the same as a Lamborghini Aventador.

A thin rubber gasket seamlessly integrates into the aluminium base to create an audible solidity when putting the package down as well as to prevent slippage in wet areas and protect bathroom surfaces. The result is a product that looks just as good in your hair as it does in your bathroom cabinet.

Inside FMCG: What’s next for Patricks?

We are in the final steps of stability testing our new skincare line launching in six months that will be the first medical or pharmaceutical grade cosmetics line for men. We’re committed to disrupting the market and our skincare line will be the no exception. We have developed them in conjunction with a world-leading neurosurgeon in the USA who is also one of our original investors. Like all our other products they will be best in class formulations, packed with the highest quality ingredients and in market leading packaging.

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