British men’s grooming range Lock Stock & Barrel, founded by Ben Snowdon in 2005, has traditionally offered its professional hair styling products to salons, barbershops and high-end retailers. We caught up with Ben to find out more about the brand’s provenance, spirit and essence.
Tell us a little bit about your journey – what drew you to creating your own men’s grooming range?
My father Mark and I established the Lock Stock & Barrel brand in 2005 at a time when it felt there was a distinct lack of modern men’s grooming products available in the salon industry. Having already established a background in cosmetics manufacture and having a passion for men’s grooming products for many years, developing and formulating a comprehensive men’s hair grooming range from the ground up was an easy decision to make.
What sets Lock Stock and Barrel apart from its competitors?
Much has changed in our 16 years, back in 2005 the ‘metrosexual’ resigned supreme, and Lock Stock & Barrel enjoyed a strong point of difference in a men’s grooming a market still very much in its infancy. Today, the men’s grooming market is much more sophisticated, and we have adapted to that. The things I feel make Lock Stock & Barrel unique today are not things we used to shout about too much back in the early days, and today we are immensely proud of the fact we are independently owned, we manufacture all our products in-house, and we have a small-batch attention to detail I believe which many of our larger competitors lack
Where did the name Lock Stock and Barrel come from?
The term Lock Stock & Barrel is an old English idiom first penned by Sir Walter Scott. It’s a term based on the components of an early firearm and denotes ‘all’, ‘complete’ and ‘everything’. Aside from my father Mark’s previous occupation as a sniper in the Royal Marines, being a Birmingham-based company, we were also aware of our city’s historical place at the very heart of British gun making for centuries. What better term to describe our aim to create a complete range of grooming solutions for the men of all walks of life.
What does being a distinctly British brand mean to you?
Aside from the being very much a British manufacturer, we have always been inspired by the role post-war British fashion, music and culture has played on the world stage. We’ve always tried to bring that to the fore in our tone of voice and imagery, and we want to show that off as much as we can.
Give us the perfect example of the model modern gentleman - we’re going with Beckham!
That’s a tough question. I think we embrace plurality much more as a society now than we once did, and I love that. The male ideal has of course changed over time, but we think it is a man’s state of mind, rather than the labels he wears, that is most important.
Back in 2005 it was a grooming brand’s chief aim to convince men it was a good thing to embrace personal care, and stars like David Beckham were the perfect pin up to show men that they themselves could embrace a new grooming regime. In 2021 that has all changed, men are matching their female counterparts in pushing boundaries in fashion, grooming and make-up in ways we’ve never seen before, so the best example of a modern man for us is someone who is proud of who they are and knows how to express that to the world.
What can you expect from a LS&B product?
We really care about the things we make; I think that is most important. All our products are made in a small-batch method, so there is very much a human-made rather than machine-made element to all our products. Naturally, we’re very proud of the work we have put into all of our formulas, they’re also truly cruelty-free, paraben-fee and all suitable for vegetarians.
One product from the range you couldn’t live without?
My go-to product are tied between 85 Karats and Supermatte. Supermatte is great in the summer for a more relaxed, textured style and 85 Karats for me is great on drier hair, its water-based which I prefer, but adds just a little bit of oil to the hair to make the hair more pliable.
How does it feel seeing the likes of Dan Levy and Nicholas Ralph using your LS&B products?
It’s great to see, for a small British brand, we’re fortunate to have a wide international footprint. We’ve gained some unexpected fans a long way and in all walks of life, from a well-known Hollywood movie star to the prolific son of a Russian oligarch, to name a few. There’s a rare quality that small and great brand possess I think, and that has helped us to have been invited to provide products for some of the world’s greatest events, such as the MTV Europe Music Awards, Brit Awards and Grammy Awards; events that would have cost larger brands an inordinate amount of money to contribute to
Why is a personal grooming routine important for the modern man?
The drivers that define how men groom themselves have changed dramatically over the decades and that really fascinates me. Today, more than ever I think, we are acutely aware that the ‘health’ of our outward expression is intrinsically linked to the ‘health’ of how we feel about ourselves on the inside. We’re getting ever closer to a time when all men can express themselves exactly how they choose, without fear. As a grooming brand, I hope we can play our very small part in helping to build that level of tolerance in society that is still needed.
What’s next for Lock Stock and Barrel?
We’re looking forward to launching our first Eau de Toilette in the coming weeks which is our very fragrance and is based on the brand’s signature scent used in the products since 2005.