Aussie men’s grooming brand Stuff has been challenging norms since it launched in 2021. So it’s little surprise the brand, which is already available in 1600 retail outlets across the country including Woolworths, is breaking the rule that brands can’t be both mass-market and premium.
The Melbourne-born brand, which makes vegan face and body products using local botanicals and essential oils, is the first Australian men’s label to be picked up by global beauty giant Sephora. From this week, the retailer’s Australian stores will stock the full Stuff range, including a head-and-body wash, deodorant, face wash, a face scrub and a moisturiser – which all retail between $9 and $13 – as well as two exclusive gift kits (a skincare starter set and a skin and body kit) online. The products are all Australian-made – without parabens, sulphates or aluminium – and the bottles are 100 per cent recyclable.
It's a big year for the brand. In addition to the Sephora launch, Stuff is currently raising $3.5 million from investors – among them Ian Thorpe, Four Pillars founder Stu Gregor and former Wallabies captain Dean Mumm – to boost its Australian growth.
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Founder Hunter Johnson reckons the personal care category for men has been ripe for disruption after decades of dominance from tired old brands.
“For so long it has been dominated by outdated conglomerates who perpetuate tired and toxic stereotypes that don't represent modern masculinity,” he tells Broadsheet.
“We’ve witnessed an amazing amount of innovation and evolution in the female space, but next to nothing for men. It’s a white-space opportunity to provide a positive narrative for men in a time when there aren’t many.”
Johnson’s solution? A personal care brand that’s not just good for your body, your face and your hair – but your head, too. The brand addresses toxic masculinity through its marketing campaigns, positive male role modelling and its website, which doubles as a resource centre for young men, with a blog addressing issues such as consent, first-time fatherhood and mindfulness. The products also help to fund preventative mental health programs for thousands of young men at Johnson’s charity, The Man Cave, which he launched in 2014.
“That was the lead-in to creating Stuff,” Johnson told Broadsheet in 2021. “We’d run these amazing experiences with the boys. They’d walk in like zombies and walk out free and authentic. And then they’d go back to these environments where they’re surrounded by misogynistic, outdated, traditional marketing.”
So he started Stuff, knowing the power of consumer brands to shift attitudes. “It's a confusing time for so many men,” says Johnson. “The script they've inherited about what it means to be a man has changed and many are left confused and frustrated trying to navigate unchartered territories. Our mission at Stuff is to support men as they navigate this new era of masculinity, and we're fortunate to have the insights generated from Man Cave to ensure we're on the pulse.”
Additional reporting by Matt Shea.
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