Please take a moment to introduce yourself. Who are you and who is your team (if you have one) where are you based?
I'm Mike Smith, most people know me from Modern Man TV on Youtube, but recently I've added owner/product maker at Dauntless Modern Grooming to my resume. The team here at DMG also consists of my wife Emma, and our son Finley. We operate our business out of Nebraska here in the USA.
How and when did you get started brewing your own products?
I got started about 3 years ago or so, maybe longer. I began looking into it myself after I began reviewing homebrewed products on Youtube. I was just totally captivated by the idea that this could be done, a product made entirely at home, that people could use and enjoy. I became quickly infatuated with learning how to do this and took me all of that 3+ year time-frame to get to the point we're at now.
What’s behind the name?
Dauntless means fearlessness and that a big part of the entire project. Fearlessness in your style, in the way you present or express yourself, the products you use - its something my little brother taught me before his death in 2012. He used to tell me that no one should be afraid to show people who they are or be afraid to wear things they enjoy or do their hair how they want.
If you had to choose a ‘hero’ product/s from your line which would you say it is and why?
Id probably say the pomade. I think all 4 products are equally awesome at what they do and in this lineup, everything has a purpose and a job, and they don't overlap. But the pomade specifically was one I really enjoyed making because I made it totally by accident. I had pomade already lined up, and one night I was just messing around with some ingredients, and added too much of one thing and out came this soft, sticky product, that I knew instantly was something good.
If you had any advice for budding home brewers who are interested in making their own products what would it be?
Don't rush. There's nothing wrong with taking time to make sure you have something worth releasing. I have seen brands release products, and then have to reformulate soon after and for me each time I've thought to myself if they would have just tested a little bit more then they wouldn't be going through the process of reformulating. Don't rush and do a lot of testing with other people, not just your own hair, that's the biggest advice I think I can offer.
If not answered above, what are some of the challenges of being an independent brewer that the average consumer may not be aware of?
The time and dedication it takes to run a business out of your home. In our case, we're actually running 2 businesses with MMTV working out of our home as well. It takes up a lot of space and sometimes causes some blending of family/work time to take place.
How important is packaging/labeling?
I think packaging and labeling and is super important. I'm a big believer in giving someone a full experience with a product. I started exploring this with my first collaborations under MMTV. Id find little things I could do with the packaging to make things the best I could. With Dauntless the idea was to invest just as much in the packaging and labels, as we did in the actual product. We wanted people to love the product inside and out.
What can we expect from Dauntless Grooming in the future?
Well, I'm happy to announce that we were chosen for a second time to receive the same entrepreneurial scholarship from our local university, that we were given to start this business. It's not very often that businesses are chosen to get the award a second time so we're looking to make this honor count and I can tell you we already have plans for 4 new products.
What did we miss?
A lot of people have questions about our hold systems so I thought id explain that a bit. As a reviewer, I noticed a trend in a lot of the products that came across my desk, and that was over-promising hold strengths and under-delivering. I think we all have seen a product that offered high or extreme hold and were surprised to find it to be medium or less even. I decided early on that this was not going to be the way I did things and so far people have appreciated it I think, but some still don't understand it. Our labels say medium hold, but that's just meant to be a base, meaning that's the minimum if you use the littlest amount possible that's the hold strength you will get, if you use more product, you can get more hold out of it. Our test group voted on each product before the release and identified all our styling products as firm holding. Under-promising and over-delivering is our view on this.
But wait there’s more! Please use this space to pass along your brand message or anything else you want to say.
This entire process was made as a way for me to learn something new, create something with my family and connect with my brother again. I feel like his spirit lives inside this brand and when I see someone post their style with our stuff, he’s really happy because that's what he loved when he was alive-he loved to do his hair and express his personality in that way. I feel like he’d really enjoy doing this if he was here so it makes me feel close to him as I do it. It also gives me an
opportunity to work with my family and teach my son about hard work and the importance of not letting fear run your life. Fearlessness is rooted deep within this brand, not just with Tyler and his views on grooming, but with many other things as well. There was quite a bit of fear as we went through the process of making this brand and it would have been easy to give in to that, but then
again I wouldn’t be here talking to you fine people if I had so there's that!
Thanks so much Mike and all of the Smith family over at Dauntless!
Be sure to check out all of the great Dauntless Modern Grooming products available on our site here.