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FEATURE

June 17, 2018

By Noelani Piters

THE AUSTRALIAN DAD TRANSFORMING THE GROOMING INDUSTRY

RealStyle | Patrick Kidd SHOP 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.

RealStyle | Patrick Kidd

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.
PATRICK’S PICKSRealStyle | Patrick Kidd

Patricks SH1 Daily Thickening Shampoo / Saint Laurent Lambskin Moto Jacket / Saint Laurent Lambskin-Trimmed Biker Jeans

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.
RealStyle | Patrick Kidd

Patricks’ bestselling and most-awarded product, the M2 Matte Medium Hold Styling Product.

How do you balance running your own business, having a family and setting aside “you” time?
I have a really cool wife, Aimee (also the CEO of Patricks), who takes a lot of parenting bullets for me! Because we are still a relatively new brand, we do not have a massive infrastructure set up around the world yet and I’m always traveling internationally from Sydney. When I travel I try to hit the gym each day and when I’m home, I surf when I can. It’s really challenging running a start-up. No money, no sleep, investors, millions of emails and constantly thinking about work can break you down after awhile but I love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I think if I wasn’t stressed, I’d be stressed about not being stressed.
What does a typical day for you look like?
Take a car to the airport, check emails and social media in the airport lounge, board flight (booze, sleeping pills, movies … Sydney is a long way from anywhere) then customs, car, hotel check-in, shower, meetings then drinks then emails again! Wake up, repeat.
PATRICK’S PICKSRealStyle | Patrick Kidd

Patricks M2 Matte Medium Hold Styling Product / Amiri Studded Leopard Print Jacket / Saint Laurent Jodhpur Leather Boots

Are there any designers or artists that inspire you and your brand from an aesthetic standpoint?
Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, Mercedes Benz’s CDO Gorden Wagener and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. I’m also heavily influenced by the designs of Lamborghini, Audi and Aston Martin. I think all these companies have a perfect balance of form and function. I really like minimal, functional design. I don’t like to overcomplicate the exterior of our products. But at the same time, I like people to know that under that sleek, minimal packaging, I’ve included every possible ingredient to make them the best in the world.
How would you describe your personal style, and how has it changed since becoming a father?
I’d say aging rock ‘n’ roll star. I love Hedi Slimane-era Saint Laurent, Amiri, skinny black jeans, classic black or white tees and a leather jacket. I usually wear Saint Laurent sneakers or boots if I’m going out. I like expensive shit! And I’m kind of known for wearing all black all the time. My nan loved Johnny Cash and used to listen to his albums all the time when I was young. He was such a badass back then and I’ve always loved the rebellious attitude, I guess that rubbed off on me! My dad was also a drummer in a band so musician style is in the blood.
My style honestly hasn’t changed much since becoming a father although I’m a lot more comfortable with it now. I’m conscious that my daughter will be influenced by me and what I wear … but she might be embarrassed too!
Your top 3 style icons of all time?
Keith Richards, Kanye, Sean Avery.
RealStyle | Patrick Kidd
Do you have a favorite product from your line, perhaps one that’s easy for grooming novices to use?
It’s hard for me to choose. I genuinely believe they’re all game-changers, since each product is formulated with our Patricks Recovery Compound. It’s engineered to stimulate hair growth, reduce color fading, moisturize and shield the scalp from UV rays. But M2 Matte Finish, Medium Hold Styling Product is our bestseller and most-awarded product. The perfect all-rounder for almost all hair types. The medium hold will help you easily create on-trend hairstyles such as a quiff or pompadour. It’s re-moldable so you can rework your hairstyle all day.
In terms of your business, what’s in store for the future?
A men’s skincare line! What we did with haircare is strip away all the bullshit, and that’s why it’s successful. We’re in the final steps of testing and it will be the first pharmaceutical-grade cosmetics line for men. Two anti-aging moisturizers, eye balm, body wash, face wash and face scrub are all in the works. We’re getting prototypes now and hope to have product ready to go by this coming July.
Any advice for new or soon-to-be dads?
Enjoy your sleep before they come and it gets easier, ha!
Get Dad (or yourself!) something special. Shop luxe Patricks men’s products here.