Strictly Man Supply Co. started out as an idea in 2016, but it’s roots can be traced back to 2003, around my 13th birthday.
I struggled with pretty moderate to severe acne throughout my teen years, up through college and into early adulthood. I tried every product, read several blogs, created at-home remedies, and spent hundreds of dollars trying to combat pimples. I went to dermatologists and tried topical prescription medication with little success.
I grew increasingly embarrassed and self-conscious about my acne. My mom must have noticed, as she bought me a concealer stick to help hide the pimples when I was in high school. The concealer came in a lipstick type tube and definitely was not made or marketed for guys. It was a little humiliating to use, but it was effective in covering pimples, which was critical for my self-confidence.
In college, I used to hide the concealer in an old Centrum vitamin pill bottle, terrified that anyone would see the concealer on a bathroom shelf, exposing my use of "makeup".
More terrifying, however, was purchasing the concealer. Searching for concealer in THE makeup aisle at Wal-Mart was the worst, let alone picking it up and bringing it to the checkout counter, only to get a judgmental look from the cashier. Everything about it was exceedingly awkward, and it left an impact.
In 2013, I got married, and I let my wife in on my concealer secret. Fortunately, she didn’t judge and opened me up to an even better type of concealer.
For the first year of our marriage, my wife and I taught English on the world’s smallest atoll in the Pacific. To help pass the time, family members would send lots of books and magazines to read. One of my wife’s magazines had a Garnier BB Cream ad inside, and I asked her what it was. I hadn’t heard of BB Cream, but my wife explained that it was basically a tinted moisturizer with SPF that came from Asia.
A tinted moisturizer with SPF? A moisturizer that helps hide pimples, evens skin tone, hydrates, and protects the skin from harmful rays? It sounded amazing.
I wondered why no one had come up with the idea before, and I must have thought about BB Cream once a day for months, patiently waiting to try it out, eager to help my struggling complexion in any way.
Almost a year later, we got back to the United States, and I was able to try BB Cream. However, CC Cream had just come to market, which is essentially a better version of BB Cream.
The CC Cream was good, effective in improving complexion and hiding hyper-pigmentation. I tried several brands, but each seemed to have their negatives. Either it was too shiny, caused my face to become too oily, or it didn’t absorb well enough, transferring product onto sunglasses or shirt collars. Additionally, the CC Cream had the same problem as the concealer, it had to be purchased next to the embarrassing makeup aisle.
In 2016, I decided to start a business.
The idea of a men’s grooming company came pretty quickly, especially after I started trolling different men’s blogs, Amazon reviews, and Reddit. Apparently, a lot of other men use concealer, and the one’s that know about CC or BB Cream swear by it. I found a common theme throughout comments and reviews, however. An alarming number of men were using these products, but it was done anonymously and in secret. Sometimes, girlfriends or wives would post about their significant others using their products as well.
I realized that other men were just as embarrassed as I was about using these feminine products, but they loved and swore by them!
So, I decided to start a grooming company, with its first product being a CC Cream made just for men that perfected the problems I had in the past. After months of work, we were able to eliminate ingredient features that caused shininess, oiliness, and transference onto sunglasses or shirt collars, thereby keeping the CC Cream positives and eliminating all the negatives.
It’s taken awhile to go from idea to product, with a lot of steps in between, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We have a slew of products planned and are excited for the future.
I guess if I had to distill everything down, I would say that Strictly Man Supply Co. is in the confidence and self-improvement business, we just happen to make quality grooming products at sensible prices. We take it one step further, feeling it’s essential to equip men with knowledge on grooming, style, and lifestyle, which is why we started our blog, Strictly Manology.
We want to help make men the best possible versions of themselves, and whether you believe that starts on the inside or outside, we hope to be a part of that journey.