Honr: When an E-Commerce Business Finds its Perfect Niche

July 9, 2020

As many e-commerce business owners will tell you, finding your ideal customer can be a tricky process. For Paige Doherty, David Turk, and Craig Williams, co-founders of the men’s skincare brand Honr, overcoming this particular challenge was a game-changer.

“We actually started our skincare line as gender-agnostic, but we noticed something interesting as we started selling,” says Paige. “Women were buying these products for their husbands and boyfriends who really liked our simple 1-2-3 approach to skincare.” She laughs. “It seems that women prefer more complicated routines.”

Plus, Honr’s all-natural Canadian made products happened to address issues common with men’s skin. Since men generally have thicker skin with more collagen, their Exfoliating Cleanser helps with cellular turnover. Since they normally have oilier skin, the Refreshing Toner helps balance PH levels, while the Hydrating Serum moisturizes without leaving a greasy residue.

Once Paige, Craig, and David realized that both their products and their three-step “foolproof system” was a natural fit for men, Honr was off to the races. They adjusted their branding and honed in on marketing strategies that worked well in male-centric markets.

Co-Founders of Men’s Skincare Brand – Honr
Co-Founders of Men’s Skincare Brand – Honr.

As their reviews show, the pivot paid off. This one, from “Brandon K.” is typical: “For a guy with no knowledge of skin care and no regular regime in place I was skeptical when my wife got this for me to try. I’m sold! With three steps, so easy even I can figure them out, my face has never felt so good!”

To be experiencing such positive growth less than a year after launching is impressive—and even more so when you consider when it was that Honr started. “Our products were basically ready in March 2019, but we had some R and D to do and last-minute things like bottlecaps to fix,” Paige explains. “That meant we had only been running ads on our newly launched business for about two weeks when COVID-19 hit.”

That made the earliest days tough, as people were “more focused on canned food and toilet paper” than they were novel skincare products. Paige and David turned off their ad spend and didn’t turn it back on until halfway through May 2020.

Fortunately, there were big wins along the way, including an agreement with a wholesaler in Germany and quick expansion into the US market. Above all else, their newfound focus on male customers helped make the difference.

As Honr’s packaging partner, Great Little Box Company (GLBC) helps make the experience of receiving one of their skincare kits as extraordinary as it needs to be. In addition to supporting the brand’s eco-friendly values with recyclable packaging and water-based ink, GLBC ensures that the unboxing experience is memorable. The system that Honr and GLBC created together involves putting individual products into inserts that allow them to ship together without breakage.

Custom packaging and product labels made for Men’s Skincare Brand Honr

“Everyone loves our boxes,” says Paige. “They really stand out. But what’s even better is just how easy it is to work with GLBC. If we have a problem, they arrive with the solution, which is just not the way so many suppliers operate.”

As Paige, Craig, and David continue to grow the business that started with the couple inventing an all-natural deodorant, they’re future embracing what it’s becoming. And currently, they’ve added that deodorant to their product line. This aluminum-free spray deodorant is formulated with essential oils and comes in three scent profiles, each linked to a different male archetype. (Those who have trouble choosing can build a three-pack and reap the savings.

“We’ve spent 16 months working on this deodorant,” says Paige. “We’re so excited to finally share it.”

Photo of Honr's new all-natural deodorant in its different versions

Whatever comes next, we’re grateful to be along for the ride. Check out Honr at menofhonr.com.

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