Patrick Kidd and his wife Aimee have founded a $15 million men's grooming empire. Picture: Facebook
Patrick Kidd and his wife Aimee have founded a $15 million men's grooming empire. Picture: Facebook

Aussie tradie’s ‘crazy’ $15m idea

Patrick Kidd was sick of being an electrician and sick of getting "sh*t haircuts" when he found a solution that solved both problems.

Together with wife Aimee - who he refers to as "the real boss" - he opened a high-end salon, Patricks For Men, in Sydney's Bondi Junction in 2005.

The business charged $60 per cut - a "crazy" concept at the time, given the average cost of a men's haircut was just $10 to $20.

But it took off from day one - and as Mr Kidd told news.com.au, it was only the beginning.

"(At the time) there were either cheap barber shops where you would go in and ask for whatever David Beckham had at the time, or women's salons which were foreign and horrible for guys," he said.

"I spotted a gap in the market for a high-end men's salon, so I mortgaged my house on the South Coast, got a $250,000 business loan and set up the store."

As the first licensed hairdresser in the country - and with luxury motorbikes displayed in store attracting "500 guys a week coming in to ogle" - the business took off immediately.

But as most hairdressers know, most profit comes from the upsell of products rather than the cuts themselves, and while the salon was doing well, it also had high running costs.

The trend towards men's grooming also started to boom, and Mr Kidd wanted to find a luxe range of products to stock in-store to take advantage of that new popularity.

Patricks first launched in 2005 as the men’s grooming trend started to take off. Picture: Facebook
Patricks first launched in 2005 as the men’s grooming trend started to take off. Picture: Facebook

But he couldn't find something suitable anywhere in the world.

"So I thought, 'f**k it, we'll do it ourselves'," he said.

He began contacting a US-based business that was one of the most famous formulations companies in the world, but his calls and emails went unanswered.

But by a twist of "fate", it all came together.

"We jumped on a plane without a meeting set and as luck or fate would have it, when I was at the reception desk trying to get the guy to put me in touch with the CEO, he walked down the stairs, heard my Aussie accent and said, 'You're not Patrick are you?'"

They ended up having a five-hour meeting and walked away with a deal.

For four years the products were "tested" on his Bondi clients before officially launching, as the entire product formulation process took several years to complete.

In the meantime, the salon was also turning over $1.25 million a year, and the Patricks haircare range ended up being stocked by some of the world's biggest luxury retail stores, including Selfridges, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Mr Porter and Harvey Nichols.

But then, everything changed again in a sauna in New York during a business trip.

The 41-year-old was in the city for work when he decided to take a sauna before flying back to Sydney.

Another man walked in and they started chatting before, in a second twist of fate, it emerged the newcomer was a former neurosurgeon who was hoping to launch a women's skincare range focusing on a few "amazing ingredients" that were patented.

Mr Kidd suggested he focus on the less-competitive men's sector, and after many months, they struck up a deal and decided to work together.

As a result, Patricks skincare range is due to launch this April, and Mr Kidd said it was "pretty exciting" to be just months from launching "the first medical-grade men's skincare line on the planet".

Today, the start-up is valued at $15 million, having grown 200 per cent in the last year and recording a 20 per cent growth rate month on month.

Mr Kidd said Patricks had "taken nine years to become an overnight international success", taking seven years to develop and launch the first product in an effort to perfect every detail.

"I decided to take on the big guys and develop the most luxurious range of men's hair products ever released. I had big dreams for the future and a gut feeling I was going to get it done," he said.

Patricks products retail from $A60 each - and with the world market for men's grooming projected to exceed $US60.7 billion by the year 2020, things are looking rosy for the Aussie start-up and the couple behind it.

- Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au



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