Suavecito started in 2008 in Santa Ana, California by the Adame Brothers along with their neighborhood friend J-Bird. They wanted a product they could afford and use that would appeal to the culture of what they knew and loved, the custom-car, motorcycle, tattoo and barber culture they grew up influenced by. Now in 2018, they have over 50 Employees, with sales around the world.
When you first started mixing up ingredients to make pomade over 10 years ago, did you ever imagine the brand would be where it is today? There was never an intention to start a grooming product company even from the beginning. All we wanted was an alternative product that worked better for our hair types (thick and wavy) that also smelled better than what was available at the time. In those days, there weren’t any good options. To think that the pomade we formulated that early on would become a staple in the grooming industry is shocking for us. A lot of people still consider Suavecito as the gold standard for water-based pomade formulas and it’s something we can appreciate.
Tell me about some of the supporters, ambassadors and early adopters of the product, and how you got them on board. When the first formulas were being developed, we relied heavily on our friends in the car and music scenes around us to give us feedback on how the product performed. This was before the product even had a brand name and before we even had the thought of ever selling the product. These people were common people just like us. It wasn’t formulated in a lab like you see a lot of now. Because our formula was designed by and for these early adopters, they got hooked on it. We created a bit of a cult following this way. It also helped that there wasn’t too much competition at the time.
Was there one event in time where you thought holy crap, we have something here. We need to take this serious? We never took Suavecito as a brand very seriously even when we only had about 10 employees. We liked having a good time and saw our jobs as hobbies. We told everyone we brought onboard that we weren’t sure how long this ship would sail for. It wasn’t until we hired our first employee that had a child that we realized our attitude had to change. The thought of an innocent child now dependant on our success freaked us out a bit. We started setting long-term goals and became a bit more conservative in almost every aspect of our business.
It seems like you’re doing events every weekend, many of which don’t have anything to do with the traditional grooming type of business. Would you say Suavecito is simply an extension of the type of lifestyle you’re into? Our brand ends up in places where we legitimately have a personal interest in. When we first tried to convince event organizers to allow us to vend at their events early on, we were met with a lot of “no’s”. They didn’t see the sense in having a grooming product company at their music event, car show or tattoo conventions. When we finally pushed past this, our brand immediately stood out above traditional, boring grooming product brands. Big corporate companies try to replicate this now but for us it was natural and customers sense this.
How did your personalities help create and shape the brand? Even though the 3 founders share the same work ethic, their styles are very different from each other. Fortunately, this diversity creates a brand image that can appeal to a wide variety of people. There is enough in common that it still feels cohesive. By hiring their friends and family, they ensure that the people coming into the company all share the same vision for the brand’s image.
What’s next for the brand? The brand is at a stage now where it’s innovating and creating projects that are engaging and fun for our customers and fans. Enough work has been put into the R&D of our formulas that we feel like we have a great foundation to build on and we can focus more time and energy on cool collaborations and projects to keep things interesting.