June 17, 2018
By Noelani Piters
THE AUSTRALIAN DAD TRANSFORMING THE GROOMING INDUSTRYSHOP PATRICKS GROOMING ESSENTIALS
Patrick Kidd is not your average luxury hair care specialist. Born and raised in Australia and now residing in the beachy Sydney suburb of Bondi, Patrick is as down-to-earth as they come, a natural storyteller, car enthusiast and dedicated follower of men’s fashion. The clincher? He has no formal training as a hairstylist, barber, chemist or product developer. But that hasn’t stopped him from founding one of the most successful men’s grooming brands in the industry.
Patricks Universal Exports, slyly named after James Bond’s employer when he’s undercover, is as slick as 007 himself. Created to fill the luxury gap in men’s hair care, the brand combines effortless design, intoxicating scent, cutting edge technology and the perfect formulation, resulting in a line of award-winning shampoos, conditioners and pomades. In short, Patricks is the essential element and best kept secret of the sophisticated man’s everyday regimen.
When Patrick isn’t running his namesake business — where “I’m actually the only male employee in the entire company!” he muses — he’s logging as much time as he can with his family. But how does a jetsetting entrepreneur manage parenting in the midst of a demanding schedule? We spoke to Patrick in a candid transcontinental phone call to chat about running a burgeoning start-up, his sartorial preferences and fatherhood.
How many kids do you have, and how old are they?
I have one daughter, Sylvie. She’s 3 ¾, according to her. The other day, I was dropping her off at school and she ran back over to me before I left. I thought she was going to say she loved me or hug me, but she whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry Daddy, I won’t say ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ in front of my teachers!” Ahh…
Has becoming a father changed how you run your business?
It hasn’t, except that for the first time in my life I really would like some security. Most of my friends have houses, cars, holidays and savings. I have none of this, but I do own my own company and have taken a different path than most. I do a lot more work from 9 to 5 now because I like to hang with my kid when I’m home.
Did you always feel you were destined to start your own company?
Every report card in school I ever had said I was easily distracted, and distracted others. For that reason, I discovered surfing, girls, and football in my teens and enjoyed that more than studying. I didn’t do very well in school, and as a result I was forced into trade. I was an electrician for about ten years. I never liked being an electrician from day one, but I come from quite a small little town, and to be honest I didn’t know what was out there. And I didn’t realize I was a good salesman.
What was your next move? How did you end up in luxury haircare?
Well, when I was an electrician’s apprentice, I was getting a haircut every two weeks and I was sick of getting a shit haircut. I thought, what’s the alternative? I remortgaged my house and put $280,000 into this concept, and in 2007 my wife Aimee and I opened Patricks, the first luxury men’s hairdressers in Sydney.
I didn’t brand it as a “barbershop.” It was kind of a cult place, it had this air of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It had a super modern aesthetic with plasma screen TVs. I offered a full bar with a lounge area and couches. People could plug in their own music if they wanted to. And everything was black, the windows were all blacked out. I wanted it to feel luxurious and I also didn’t want men to feel self-conscious when coming in.
I wanted a luxe men’s hair care brand to sell in the salon but I couldn’t find one. The combination of being an industry outsider and running a hair salon for many years enabled me to develop a product range that was completely new but also performed best in class. We tested our prototypes on nearly 300 clients a week in the salon. Eventually we closed down the salon and rose capital to pay for production. Now we’re here! We didn’t reinvent the wheel. We just did every bit of it better.
Patricks’ bestselling and most-awarded product, the M2 Matte Medium Hold Styling Product.