We fell in love with Wise for their pomade, but their motto solidified our relationship.
Wise caters to a new generation of the conscious consumer; those who want thoughtful, carefully-sourced, and natural personal care products down to the last ingredient and packaging detail. Natural, healthy and cruelty-free ingredients are the core of their products.
What is the story behind Wise and what do you stand for?
We’re four Montreal entrepreneurs who met through our barber and co-founder, Simon Chercuitte, the founder and owner of Monthly, a series of barbershops (4) right here in Montreal. We all came together when we realized that most of Simon’s clients, as well as himself and the rest of the Wise founders, were seeking personal care products that are more in line with their lifestyle and beliefs. There was a lack of natural, eco-friendly brands with a truly engaging mission and vision. We’re all about exploring what modern wisdom means for us: taking care of ourselves by making healthier choices, taking care of others and the planet by making eco-friendly choices, and looking good while maintaining simplicity and humility.
What do you think is your most (cult worthy) product?
Definitely the Red Maple Cream Pomade, our best seller. Red Maple Bark extract is a sustainable botanical extract from the Canadian Boreal Forest and is known for its collagen and elastin-boosting properties. Great for any hair type, this pomade offers a medium to strong hold with a light-shine finish and a woodsy, herbal scent reminiscent of the vast Canadian wilderness. Unlike most styling products, the ingredients of this Red Maple cream pomade can help to promote healthy hair by moisturizing, nourishing and protecting throughout the day.
Why does your company differ from competitors?
We steer clear of harmful synthetics and instead choose beneficial botanicals that are good for you and also have a story to tell. We’re trying to push the industry towards more sustainable practices, instead of just using the same old polluting containers and ingredients. We choose a sober, minimalist and natural tone to reflect a new ideal of the modern man, putting aside the cliché and over-used old school/macho image that doesn’t have its place anymore.
Why is it important to use all natural products?
Simple, it’s all about cutting out what can harm us, and using what is good for us. There are so many harmful chemicals out there that have been used for years in the personal care industry, be it for efficiency or profit, thus putting aside the treasures that Mother Nature has to offer. Of course there are safe synthetics, just as there are harmful things in nature. It’s all about choosing the cleanest, most unprocessed and most beneficial ingredients.
Tell us how you spend a typical morning.
Like most people I suppose, we get to work, have a cup of coffee and get onto the to dos! Usually we’ll start with a team meeting to go over priorities then everyone gets on with their day, getting on the phone for sales calls, reaching out to potential partners, finding new ingredients to work with, etc. In terms of what happens before the office, I can’t speak for my colleagues but I like to start the day with 20 minutes of meditation and a quick yoga session at home.
Tell me about a design (or supplement) idea that sucked?
Our initial scents were completely off when we made our first batches of product. Before we met our essential oil specialist Julie Simard (Les Lares), Simon and I (André) thought it was a good idea to make the blends ourselves… We thought they smelled great, until we got schooled.
Where are your products available?
We’re available online through our website and a couple of other ecomms (e.g. Bespoke Post and Needs Supply) and at about forty stores spread out across North America, i.e. lifestyle boutiques, barber shops, hair salons and natural product stores.
What is the biggest misconception about starting a business?
That your plan is going to work exactly as you think it will, be it sales numbers, social media followers, financing, etc. This is probably an understatement and may seem obvious, but planning for every possible scenario from most positive to most negative is essential to be able to react quickly and pivot if need be.
From left, Wise guys: Gabriel Lefebvre, Abraham Gusman, Simon Chercuitte, André Barsalou.
If someone had $99 what should they spend it on (other than your products)?
Rent a campsite for the weekend and get outside! There’s nothing better than going outdoors and taking some time away from the hustle and bustle, nature has it’s own kind of subtle wisdom that you soak in without knowing it. We all need to disconnect and recharge every now and then.
Tell us a Wise secret.
We have a fresh scone addiction… That buttery goodness in the morning is tough to beat, but not very healthy.
What is next for Wise, can we look forward to women’s lines as well?
We’re coming out with a Dopp kit, a wood comb and a bar of soap for Christmas, and then following up next year with our skin and body care lines, as well as a few more accessories. We don’t have any women’s products in the pipeline for the time being, but who knows what the future has in store!
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