Millennial CEO Calvin Quallis of Scotch Porter Talks His Brand and Dares Men to Care

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Beards are not only popular, but women love them and are drawn to a nice well kept beard. It doesn’t matter the generation, as you can never be too young, as long as you can grow facial hair to experience the beard life. Quality brands that cater to men with beards aren’t as easy to come by, but we happen to know of a high quality company who has taken the industry by storm; Scotch Porter. The affordability of Scotch Porter is also a plus, along with the fact that the ingredients used are toxin free. I have personally tried the product line and will be a lifelong customer, and can attest to this being a brand that any man with a beard should try.

We’re married to the idea that men should be able to take care of themselves and not have to break the bank. That they shouldn’t have to use products packed with harmful chemicals just to look and feel like a boss. -Calvin Quallis

We recently had the chance to chat with Calvin Quallis, CEO of Scotch Porter. Quallis spoke to us about his path to Scotch Porter, tips for new entrepreneurs, Dare to Care, his new movement, and new CBD beard oil.

MillBuzz: Calvin let’s start with your brand. Tell us more about it and where the idea came from?

Quallis: My story really starts with my mom, she owned a beauty shop when I was a kid and forced my brother and I to spend pretty much every weeknight and weekend in the shop, and my most memorable experience from the time was watching folks come into the shop. Even as a kid, I was intuitive, and could tell you which ones didn’t really feel their best but would sit in either my mom’s or one of the other barbers and stylists chair, to be transformed, get up pop their collar, and walk out with a new step. It really was the barbers and stylists that had a unique ability to help people feel better about themselves. So that experience really stuck with me. Even as a college kid, as broke and frustrated as I was, would take my last $20 on a Friday, walk to the barbershop, get a cut, and come out looking and feeling fresh like a million bucks. So, I understood how a cut and taking care of oneself really helps folks to feel better. I don’t want to sound cliché, but if you feel good you do good.

That experience as a college kid, and in my mom’s shop every day stuck with me. I grew up after college, got a job with a design firm and hated it. I then moved on to working in finance at a global market research firm and hated that even more. The thought of being tied to the office cubicle to me felt like a death sentence. It felt like my spirits were dwindling away each day. I had walked past interesting looking brownstone building one day, and had a bit of nostalgia, thinking of the time I spent in my mom’s shop as a kid. I ended up opening this five-chair intimate barbershop, while continuing the job for the market research firm. A couple of months in, I discovered this issue that many of the patrons had. It was very dry, frizzy, and damaged hair and beards. Predominantly serving African American and Hispanic men in my shop. I went home, always been a pretty good problem solver. The day time job just didn’t hold my interest much, so I had this hobby on the weekend and weeknights, where I’m now creating products to solve all the issues that our customers had.

Fast forward, a year and a half of being in the kitchen, trying to create these products, bring them back to the shop, and using the shop as an incubator to get feedback from the customers and barbers. I ended up creating a really great set of products. So much so that folks were coming in from New York and Connecticut to our little shop in Newark, New Jersey to purchase products. A few months into that, out of sheer convenience for those customers, I decided to launch a dot com. In our first year in business from the kitchen of my home, with about four SKUs, had done a little over a million dollars in sales. I left the day time job that was so crushing anyway and took a leap of faith into Scotch Porter and continued to build a business. We now have about eighteen SKUs, and still a small team of about twelve folks. We’ve grown the business, and we know we continue to drive home our mission, Dare to Care, and men giving a damn about taking the care of themselves.

MillBuzz: What advice do you have for new or aspiring business owners?

Quallis: The first thing that I would say is to start where you are. Many of us believe that we have to have x amount of dollars to start our business, we have to build a team and get a buy in from this person and that person to join the team, or we have to wait for the market to shift this way to do something. I’d say just start where you are and with what you have and build from that. The second thing I’d say is don’t quit your daytime job. I was able to fund the very early stages of the company with the income that I was making from my job and build. We just recently took funding last year and get to a place where we were running a business profitably. Now we have much more leverage and able to go out to an investor and say look what we built, we built a multimillion-dollar business, and we have the amount of traction. So, it gives you so much leverage. So, for a few reasons I say one don’t quit your daytime job, one because business is inherently risky, you don’t know if it’s going to fail or succeed. I’m not saying don’t give it a shot, but, I’m just saying don’t quit your daytime job first, it also allows you to take the money that you’re earning from your job to build a stable business and have leverage when it’s time to go out and try to raise money. 

MillBuzz: You speak of Scotch Porter being a movement. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Quallis: One mission is to help people feel better about themselves and we really push the Dare to Care mission. We really empower men to know that it is ok to love themselves and to take care of themselves. It’s perfectly fine to really love yourself and take care of yourself, and I say that because looking at the beauty industry and how it is okay for women to talk about their beauty regimen and share it online and with their friends. Women are much more comfortable sharing information about the regiment and guys just aren’t, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not home using products to take care of their skin or blemishes that they have. There is this uncomfortableness that a lot of men have with taking care of and loving themselves. So, our mission is to break the barriers. You should be okay with taking care of and loving yourself, because if you don’t love yourself, how can you love your community, family, and your friends? So, we are empowering men to feel comfortable in what’s uncomfortable at the moment.

MillBuzz: Lastly Calvin, what’s next for you and Scotch Porter? Anything new we should be looking for?

Quallis: Over the Cyber Monday holiday we had launched a CBD beard collection and we quickly sold out in less than a week. We sold our 10,000 units and we don’t have any in stock. We couldn’t imagine that it would have been so successful. In terms of coming down the pipeline, we will continue to have a direct dialogue with our customers where we hear them, see them, and we talk to them about what it is that they want and what they are looking for, and we will produce it. But, we will continually create products that our customers are looking for and want.

Quallis finished the conversation with telling us that “the Scotch Porter brand believes that every man should dare to care. For us, it’s not just about helping men to look and feel better, it’s about helping men to think differently. It’s totally okay for men to take care of and love themselves.”

To learn more about the Scotch Porter brand, visit www.ScotchPorter.com and follow the brand on social media @ScotchPorter.

 

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