We have been big fans of gentSac for some time when it comes to finding gifts for the men in our client’s lives for Father’s Day, birthdays and Christmas. This week, we share Shira’s story and welcome gentSac to our Gift Concierge just in time for the Festive Season shopping.
Shira Linker is the Founder and director of gentSac. Shira founded the men’s grooming company gentSac in 2015, with an ambition to transform the way men approach personal grooming. The brand is curated and throughful offering of essential products spanning across categories such as skincare, shaving, beardcare, nice fragrances and more.
Recently dubbed the ‘Mens Mecca’ with a flagship store in the Sydney CBD, gentSac also offer a subscription service. A personalised, easy-to-use service, to support easy replenishment of the essential grooming products gents use daily.
Shira credits her previous relationship for inspiring gentSac. The idea came after a ‘lightbulb moment’. Her partner of 10 years, like so many other men, were less than confident when it came to sourcing quality grooming products that met his individual needs. Undoubtedly, there was a gap in the marketplace for an offering that catered to this consumer. Shira looked into market research, which overwhelmingly support Ross’ statement – that Australian men are time-poor, use substandard products that do not meet their specific needs and have a misconception that good grooming habits are far too expensive to maintain. Inspired by this consumer research, Shira sought to reinvent the landscape of men’s grooming and offer a convenient, premium solution for the time-pooor gentleman.
What is the inspiration behind your mission statement, Habits of Excellence?
I believe habits of excellence support us in being the very best version of ourselves. Cultivated consciously, great habits help us feel confident, have agency and bring the energy we wish to our daily lives.
Tell us about the journey of gentSac and where you have come from since the launch of the business in 2015.
gentSac started as an idea which was tested at the Paddington markets. With a focus on being highly curated and accessible, I wanted to see how well the concept was received and build awareness. We had an immediate interest from shoppers and an invitation from The Galeries to explore a pop-up opportunity which meant we were literally catapulted into a retail roadmap within 6 months of launch. Initially the focus was going to be digital but our presence in The Galeries brought forward the retail trajectory and allowed the digital journey to evolve organically.
What made you passionate about men’s grooming products?
I found myself always gravitating towards these sorts of products when it came to gifting the special men in my life whether it was my partner, brother, Father or friend. I loved finding local brands, beautiful packaging, brands that were built on inspirational philosophies and I loved even more how it made the gents in my life feel. Not only when it was gifted but when they were using it, travelling with it and feeling their best having established an elevated routine.
How have you seen the shopping behaviour of men change since you founded the business in 2015?
The biggest change that I have witnessed is seeing men adopt the use of these products and routines on their own. Initially when we launched it was very much being driven by the gifting aspect, receiving products from their partner or Mother and then slowly gravitating towards keeping up the good habits they had established. Now we see men take an active interest and curiosity as to how they can look after themselves better. This was always the goal. I was intentional about working towards normalising self care for men – something that I felt was missing in the conversation and in our culture.
Do men feel vulnerable when it comes to shopping for self-care?
Sometimes yes. If they are uncertain, or trying something for the first time. I think that’s why we’ve been able to become a very loved, go-to place that is often recommended by customers who have shopped with us. Our philosophy is keeping it simple, informative, fun and ensuring we always have the best selection of reliable brands and products.
How has shopping changed over the last 18 months for the gentSac customer?
Well – the last 18 months corresponds with the COVID era – so for us – the shopping has been geared to much more online as there have been several periods where we have been in lockdown and the store wasn’t able to trade. This has meant we have been given the opportunity to give the digital experience more attention.
What have been the learnings during COVID that have been positive for your business and that you will maintain as we return to in-store shopping?
There have been so many! Mostly in the digital space. We have been working on translating the beautiful in store experience and education into the UX online. It;s challenging but also extremely rewarding.
What message do you have for our community on the importance of men’s grooming?
I really believe in self care and habits of excellence no matter how you identify.. I created gentSac because there was a gap in the market that represented men and their needs. Happy, healthy men, make happy, healthy partners, Fathers, community members and so I first and foremost believe in championing positive mental health, supportive environments and cultivating habits of excellence. I’m proud there is a space that offers this for the gents through better grooming.
Enjoy experiencing gentSac on our Gift Concierge!