Dion Nash, founder of just-launched skincare company Triumph & Disaster, tells Simon Pound how metrosexuality translates to a hot new brand.
What prompted you to start looking at producing a skincare range?
From my background in sport, I guess I’ve been metrosexual from way back. We spent all day in the sun, so I got to be au fait with washing with soap and the skin drying out, so I’ve always used moisturiser. I felt like I knew what I wanted. Still, it took a while – nine months of development – until I was happy with the range. It’s built around shaving and moisturising with some cleansers in there as well.
The idea of ‘natural’ is a bit of a selling point these days ...
We set out to be 100 percent natural, but I’m not leading with that claim, because I actually have some reservations about what people are claiming with ‘natural’ in the industry. I feel that, although all ingredients are derived from nature, there is a fairly healthy dose of science involved – we’re talking about people who are spending hours and hours in the lab breaking things down to make a product that is intended to tighten your skin, to moisturise – if you really want 100 percent natural, go and open an aloe vera leaf!
Why the name Triumph & Disaster?
Originally I was going to call it Gentleman Jim. I’d been to New York and had seen the Brooklyn scene and guys with waistcoats, and that had influenced me so I had been thinking about that space for a while. I actually registered that name, but one day I was looking at this plaque I have. My father gave it to me when I was 13 and we were butting heads, as fathers and sons can do. It has the Rudyard Kipling poem If on it, which I instantly defaced and graffitied all over and threw in the bottom drawer, but I never got around to throwing it away. I guess I always secretly liked the poem and was proud that Dad had given it to me. I literally had one of those days when I was looking up at it and I saw the words ‘triumph and disaster’.
Is skincare sometimes mistakenly seen as ‘not for real men’?
I feel this men’s skincare category has been metrosexualised within an inch of its life – either that or it is from a macho extreme – and I like the father-to-son aspect. My father taught me to shave and I would like to teach my boys how to shave. The thing I like about that poem is that it’s a father to son poem.
How do the words ‘triumph and disaster’ marry up with skincare?
We meet with triumph and disaster most days, or could do, and the only thing we can really do is prepare ourselves as well as we can – and grooming, well, that is part of the process.
Is it tough going out on your own?
After being in big corporates, it’s really exciting going out on your own. You have the odd sleepless night but you feel really alive having a go. People might not know the poem straight away, but it gives it that depth of being about humility and taking things in your stride, and not getting too far ahead of yourself. It’s
a poem about risk, which is reasonably relevant for me right now.
What business experience do you bring to the table?
My two standout business experiences were at 42Below as marketing manager and at Charlie’s. I was only there a short time but was really impressed by a few things. They make great products and market them well, and I thought, isn’t that just it. Make a product you’re really proud of and market it well. The third stage is then distribution. I’m at stage one of that process, and now it’s time for the next two.