Interview: D.R Harris

DR HARRIS

 

D.R Harris & CO. LTD. one of London’s oldest pharmacies has been in St James’s Street for over 200 years. This family-owned business holds the warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales. They are renowned for their range of quality products for men and women. These include soaps, colognes, bath and shaving preparations, skin care and aromatherapy oils. The majority of their products are still produced by traditional methods, being hand-made and packed in their own premises in London.

1. Where are you located? We have shops at 35 Bury Street and 52 Piccadilly in central London. Our main shop at 29 St. James’s Street is closed for 18 months as the whole building is refurbished. We will be back there in summer 2015.

2. When did you start this business? The business was founded as apothecaries in 1790 by Henry Harris. His cousin Daniel Rotely Harris gave the company its name D. R. Harris.

3. When did you realize that this is what you wanted to pursue? In the early 1790’s the first Harris brothers started to create their own Lavender Waters and Classic Colognes alongside the more traditional remedies that apothecaries would have created. Soon Harris’s got a reputation in the fashionable St James’s area of London for these colognes and it is a popularity which survives to this day.

4. Describe a few steps you you to make this happen. The quality of the products has always been of the utmost importance to every generation of Harris from the 1790’s until the present day. This, combined with an interest in creating new and innovative products has meant that D. R. Harris has stayed interesting and relevant for over 220 years.

5. How would you deal with a customer who didn’t know what they wanted? We have many customers who have been shopping with us for over 50 years and know exactly what they want but also many who are just discovering us for the first time and don’t know our products at all. With these customers we ask them what sort of scents and products they usually like but generally just give them the time and space to try everything out and decide for themselves. Of course, there is only so much smelling you can do before it becomes a blur!

6. What are some of your accomplishments as a business? I think one of the main accomplishments of the business has got to be the fact that it still exists after 224 years! One of our strongest points as a business is our discreet but attentive customer service. We have a great number of regular customers who are very loyal. We are now enjoying a much larger audience around the world and also many younger customers are now discovering us which is very edifying.

7. What do you believe makes a quality product? Insisting on the best ingredients and not cutting corners.

8. Where do you get your inspiration from? We try and not to be too affected by what other companies are doing. We know that there are many people who like the way we are and we are not trying to become something else. We listen to our customers a lot and take their comments on board if we are re-formulating or making a change to the packaging. We’re also always willing to listen to people’s suggestions for new products.

9. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

www.drharris.co.uk

www.facebook.com/drharrissw1

Twitter – @DRHarrisLondon

Instagram  – @DRHarrisLondon

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Interview: St. James of London

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Founded in 1953 St. James Of London is dedicated to serving the grooming needs of today’s gentleman. Their newly reformulated line features excellent shaving and grooming products made from the highest quality all natural ingredients. This unparalleled quality partnered with subtle and exquisite scents will add true luxury to your shaving ritual. We had the privilege of Interviewing the man behind this well established line.

1.  Where are you located? Our headquarters are in Chicago, however majority of our manufacturing still commences at the original location in Peterborough, UK, where the brand was created and developed.

2. When did you start this business? The brand was created in 1953 by the Creightons PLC Group and acquired by St James of London, LLC, Hinsdale, IL in the fall of 2013.  

3. When did you realize that this is what you wanted to pursue? The St James of London team previously established and developed a similar brand in the same space over the past decade.  We’ve worked together for years with the Creightons Group and consider the products and services to be among the best in the industry, so to be a part of history and to own such a luxury brand is a dream come true.  Our customers who have come to know us under a different name know the level of service we provide is second to none.  Plus, we love what we do!

4. Describe a few steps you took to make this happen. We’ve spent 10+ years of introducing and educating American men and retailers to a higher-level of wet-shaving. During this time, we have gotten to know thousands of gentlemen (and ladies) who have now become part of our family.  From day one, our goal has always been to provide the best product at the best price.  We made the decision we could do a better job of providing exceptional products at more reasonable prices, along with being more receptive to our customers’ needs if we owned a brand.  It didn’t hurt either. The St James of London brand is uniquely different from other traditional English brands in the sense our shaving products are 100% natural, free from alcohol, parabens, and SLES.  Top-shelf quality minus the bad synthetics and preservatives that can harm your skin.

5. How would you deal with a customer who didn’t know what they wanted? Fortunately, there’s a plethora of excellent resources which customers can do their research, and more often than not, they have prior to calling/emailing us.  We do receive a fair number who desire to learn more about various products, etc. and we pride ourselves on knowing as much about our competition as we do our own products, which for comparison purposes is key.

6. What are some of your accomplishments as a business? As an older, but newly re-launched brand, we’re proud of St James of London’s half-a-century heritage and reputation for luxury products and building it into something considerably larger than it originally was back in 1953.  We’re also proud of staying true to the brand’s ethos and everything it represents.

7. What do you believe makes a quality product? Obviously quite subjective in nature, however, our belief and confirmation comes directly from our customers when expectations are surpassed.  We’d also like to think it comes from our product/value relationship, which further supports one’s expectations.  It doesn’t hurt either our manufacturing takes place using the best resources in the world to create exceptional natural products.

8. Where do you get your inspiration from? Many of our own customers!  We’re fortunate to be a part of a passionate industry, many of whom absolutely love wet-shaving.  We love hearing from these folks as many of their ideas are really good!  We’re not always in a position to act on some, but we do take many suggestions to heart and do our best to incorporate them into our business.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid to take chances.  Start young, don’t put off hoping or waiting for the perfect time (because there isn’t).  Most importantly, don’t chase the money, follow your passion.  Regardless of the outcome, you’ll always look back knowing you took a shot and that’s what counts.

10. Where can readers find out more about you and your work? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter…and we’ll be adding more content to our website in the months ahead.  

We recommend: St. James of London Shaving Cream

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It produces a luxuriantly rich lather and offers one of the smoothest shaves around. Made form the best all natural ingredients and essential oils this cream provides an irritation free shave for all skin types. Read more: http://bit.ly/1kWv0J5

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