Who are you and where are you based?
Hello! I am Mckenzie Santiago the founder and owner of Brooklyn Grooming. We are based in Gowanus Brooklyn and have been in business since April of 2012. I personally take care of every order from manufacturing to packing, shipping, and customer service. Its a lot of hats to wear but makes our business unique because I am able to put a personal touch on everything.
How and when did you get started brewing your own products?
I started manufacturing products back in 2005, I had an itch that needed to be scratched and making my own skincare scratched that itch. I just fell in love with the whole process of making things from scratch, crafting scents and designing packaging. It's incredibly satisfying to create something and see it completed.
What’s behind the name?
I wanted to pay homage to Brooklyn because its where I really became confident in myself and figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I was a lost puppy when I first moved here and now feel like I have everything I could want.... well almost everything.
If you had to choose a ‘hero’ product/s from your line which would you say it is and why?
The Machine Oil because it combats embarrassing and uncomfortable chaffing and soothes irritated skin. I find that a lot of people are hesitant at first to try this product and then fall madly in love with it. I also love the Recovery oil which is like a topical aspirin and works to relieve inflamed muscles and tension. Both products are suitable for anyone and are really nice to have in your cabinet.
If you had any advice for budding home brewers who are interested in making their own products what would it be?
Passion is everything. If you don't love what you do then it will be hard to make it. Owning a small business isn't for everyone and its challenging, but if you truly enjoy your work then you will get through any obstacle.
What are some of the challenges of being an independent brewer that the average consumer may not be aware of?
There is a lot that goes into a small business and it's not easy. the idea of it is fun and exciting but you need to be a problem solver and a thinker to navigate through hiccups and challenges.
How important is packaging/labeling?
I think hugely important because its what sells your product and gets people to try and fall in love with your brand. From a consumer standpoint, you want something that really catches your attention and draws you in.
What can we expect from Brooklyn Grooming in the future?
I am currently working on a few new products that I'm really excited about! One is a revamped version of our Anchor aftershave and the other product is an AMAZING scrub that is so earthy and beautiful its a fun addition to any daily routine.
What did we miss?
A lot of people ask me about the Pilgrim's line and where the inspiration came from since it's not named after a neighborhood like the rest of the line. Pilgrim's is my Partner and now son's middle name, its a very special name as it honors my two favorite people in the entire world. My partner was also a big inspiration in many of the products and so it only made sense to name them after him.
But wait there’s more!
Brooklyn Grooming represents the creative energy and heritage of New York’s most dynamic borough. As early pioneers of the natural and organic skincare movement, we’ve been handcrafting grooming and personal care products that are beloved by men and women all over the world.
I love this quote by Herman Melville " It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation"
Be sure to check out all of the great Brooklyn Grooming products available on our site here.