Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interview with Julian Moore of D.R Harris

Originally posted to our website with with a corresponding press release, here is our interview with Julian Moore of the prestigious brand D.R. Harris.

D.R. Harris is a working pharmacy that has long been located in the fashionable Mayfair area of London. Apart from being a pharmacy and Royal Warrant holder, they are notable for their excellent line of toiletries and grooming products, including some of the finest shaving soaps, creams, aftershaves and fragrances, skincare and hair care available today. I already had a high regard for this brand before we had the privilege of interviewing them, but I'd underestimated just how high a standard they hold themselves to. They are now one of my very favorite brands, and along with Edwin Jagger are a large part of my decision for Kaliandee to stock a "Best of British" shaving set.

D.R. Harris's Traditional Cologne. Image taken from their twitter feed

1. The D.R. Harris store London is a working pharmacy as well as a retailer of skincare, shaving and grooming products. Historically, how much has the company's pharmaceutical knowledge driven the formulation of products for the skincare and shaving side of the business?
Historically, pharmacies and apothecaries would have made up a lot of their products and remedies themselves, for individual customers. In our main shop at 29 St. James’s Street, which is currently being refurbished, we have all the old drawers which would have contained the ingredients for these cures. Many of our products contain Almond Oil, which is one of the best natural moisturisers available. We still sell pure Almond Oil by the bottle which does hark back, in a way, to the days of the old-fashioned pharmacy.
2. What is the most popular of your shaving product lines?
The Arlington Shaving Cream in a bowl is probably the most popular item in our shaving range. The classic Eau de Cologne fragrance of citrus and fern combined with our world-famous shaving cream formula make this a real hit, particularly with those just getting into our products and wet shaving.
3. I think most people would agree that all of your products are of a high standard, but do you feel that there is any aspect of grooming that D.R. Harris is especially strong in?
We are always rated extremely highly in forums, articles and reviews for our Shaving Creams and Shaving Soaps. Our lathers are known for being extremely cushioning and slick. It still amazes me how little of the product is actually needed to create an incredible bowl full of lather. Our solid shaving soaps are one of the few that still include tallow which really can’t be beaten by vegetable fats and oils.
4. Have any of your more traditional products (the Classic Cologne, Lavender Water etc) changed significantly since they were first introduced?
From the very early days, D.R. Harris became well known for our Classic Cologne and Lavender Water. These are still hand-made in small batches, following the original recipes, in our warehouse in London. Our Colognes are very traditional in the sense that they do not cling to the skin like some modern fragrances which use preservatives do. They were designed more for freshening-up, not a day-long scent.
5. With the weather starting to feel very Autumnal, do you have any skincare recommendations for the colder weather?
For the colder months there are a few easy steps that men can add into their daily routines that will make them feel more comfortable and keep their skin looking good. If you don’t already use an aftershave balm or milk, I would recommend one of ours. They come in either Arlington or Windsor fragrances and also an un-fragranced version for those with more sensitive skin. It is a great, light moisturiser and not at all sticky. For more heavy-duty post-shave, or just general moisturising, our Moisture Cream is great. It’s quite light, unscented and easily absorbed. A small amount around the bottom of the neck and cheeks removes the uncomfortable post-shave tightness that many experience on cold winter mornings. Our Lip Balm made with coca butter and menthol is also a must.
6. You partnered with British Airways for a while, to supply high-end travel toiletries for First Class passengers. What was the most popular item from that kit, and did that partnership inspire any new products?
Being in the First Class Bag for British Ariways was a fantastic experience for us and introduced us to a lot of new customers which was great. We still get a lot of people coming in to the shops because they first found us on British Airways. Our Hand Wash and Lotion are still in the First Class bathrooms and our toothpaste was supplied up until recently. We actually developed the toothpaste into full-size tubes due to the popularity of it and it’s been a great success.
7. Has it been a challenge to keep your manufacturing in the UK, when so many companies have moved theirs overseas, and do you feel that there are benefits beyond the "feelgood factor" of supporting British manufacturing?
It is a bit of a challenge to keep all our manufacturing in the UK but it is something that we’re passionate about and actually in many ways it’s easier for us. Almost every item we sell is made in the UK and I think it’s something our customers expect and respect. The only product that isn’t is our toothpaste which is made in India as we couldn’t find a UK manufacturer.
What many people probably won’t realise is that most of our packaging is also made in the UK. For us it makes sense to have as many things as possible made close by, there are so many people here who can do it quickly and to a very high standard. We have good relationships with all our manufacturers and they are great at doing quick runs for us at short notice if we need them to. We can meet face-to-face at a day’s notice and have products delivered quickly. We don’t have time to go and find factories abroad and we don’t have time to wait for the products to be shipped over. Many products are even still made to the original recipes in our London warehouse.
8. Fashion designer Paul Smith is famously a fan of your shaving creams. Are there any other big names  (besides the ones on your Royal Warrants!) who get their essentials from D.R. Harris?
We have many notable customers and are delighted when they mention us but part of our appeal is our discretion. Being a pharmacy as well as purveyors of grooming products means that we never discuss our customers.
9. Finally, if you could only use one D.R. Harris product, what would it be?
It’s quite hard to say; probably it would be one of the shaving creams or soaps. However, the one product I use every day without fail is the Windsor Alcohol-Free Deodorant. This is one product where the quality is just so much higher than anything you normally get that it really makes a difference in the mornings.

You can find both D.R. Harris and Kaliandee on twitter, and be kept up to date with the best content and products from both.