Tuesday, 23 February 2021 10:47

Aberdeen lifestyle & grooming brand launches crowdfunding campaign

Ryan Alexander

A former chef has launched a male grooming and lifestyle products business using a crowdfunding campaign to finance his first spring collection.

Ryan Alexander (25), from Aberdeen, has one week left to raise £2,500 via Kickstarter which will allow him to create a range of limited edition handmade products for his Westburn & Granite brand.

Having worked in the kitchens of top North East hotels and restaurants, Ryan set up his business last year as a way to generate an income after giving up his cooking career to become a student.

Now, the 3rd year student at Robert Gordon University, who turned to Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire for advice, is hoping http://bit.ly/WestburnGraniteKickstarter will give him the injection of cash he needs to produce 'The Woods Collection'. The collection will feature moustache wax along with more complex scent variations for candles, beard oils and soaps.

He said: “Creating recipes for grooming products may not be as complex as it would be if I were still cooking with food, however, there is a massive connection between what I do now and being a chef. You need to understand temperatures - as melting wax is like cooking a great steak - and you have to understand how flavours and scents combine.

“The boom in beards plus the constant flow of new grooming products, many of which I have tried and not liked, gave me the inspiration I needed to start Westburn & Granite. I make all the products myself from natural ingredients and because of this my collections are small batch and include Adzuki Bean & Tea Tree soap and Grapefruit & Black pepper beard oil which are extremely popular.

“Getting validation from my Business Gateway adviser last December really boosted my confidence. A lot of time and effort goes into creating products by hand so having an expert believe my enterprise could be a success was good to hear. Her advice on everything from tax to how best to market my products has been a big help.”

Gillian Burley, Business Gateway said: “Having realised that a career as a chef wasn’t for him Ryan started a college course before entering university. As well as studying and working part time in a supermarket he spotted a gap in the market to produce high end, limited edition products using his knowledge of ingredients. He turned to us last year looking of advice on how to run and grow his cottage industry in a manageable way.”

With two local stockists – Concept Clothing and The Men’s Emporium – now carrying his products, Ryan is looking to create an online community on his website that connects likeminded people – including a new celebrity follower.

He said: “Leading Scottish model, Chris John Millington, recently got in touch after seeing Westburn & Granite products on Instagram. He’s really keen to help out in any way he can so I have sent him product to initially try. I’ve also connected with Four Kicks Streetwear, a fashion label based in the Lothians, Ade Adesina, an Aberdeen artist, and John Hunt JR, a Scottish photographer. By connecting with artists, designers, and other makers I hope to create a forum where people can showcase their work and inspire each other.”

Find out how Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire can help you visit its local pages www.bgateway.com/aberdeen or call 01224 968174.

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