There are few greater leaps of faith than starting your own business. And there also are
few comparable feats of courage. Especially if you don’t have significant start-up
capital. Alec Laughlin, founder of the men’s fragrance and skincare company
PHILANDRY, put together what was needed by himself to start his online retail
business based in Tucson, Arizona. His creativity and patience allowed him to start the
business without the assistance of loans or investors.
Alec’s inspiration for the line came from realizing a market gap. “There was an absence
in the market of high quality, natural men’s grooming and skin care products. Products
that I wanted myself. I have knowledge and experience to share, so I put together a
men’s product line.”
Foundation for the start-up was his prior experience in website design, social media
marketing, graphic design, and natural ingredients research. But from where would the
“I had to do everything myself to launch the company,” he said, “I couldn’t afford to hire anyone.”
He built his company’s website from knowledge gained over the years by designing other
company websites. He shot product photographs, designed product labels, sourced
packaging, and figured out online sales procedures, finances, online privacy protections,
fulfillment, and shipping.
Alec started with a men’s fragrance he named Wolfsbane. It was released in the spring
of 2018 and remains one of his most popular products. For its formula, he collaborated
with Lesli Wood of La Curie who shares his passion for intoxicating scents and natural
ingredients. After much experimentation, they settled on the hand-crafted fragrance
Wolfsbane, a mix she creates by the gallon.
He continues, “I had a big vision for PHILANDRY from the beginning. A robust skin care
line, colognes, shave, bath and body products… I was eager to share it all. But there was no real money. So, I launched with just a single item, Wolfsbane, and began building the business from there.”
The income generated by Wolfsbane then enabled him to produce more grooming
and skin care products in a line that now includes soap, body polish, hair and beard oil,
deodorant, body lotion, lip balm, body wash and bubble bath, face wash, eye cream,
serums, moisturizers, and shaving cream and shaving accessories.
Included in his vision is the belief that a company should always give back to the
community and planet. A percentage of all sales has gone to causes from cancer
research to food banks. He monthly donates a portion of each sale to reforestation
efforts of the organization One Tree Planted, an ongoing cause he is ardent about.
“You can start your own company on a shoestring with knowledge, perseverance, and
creative approaches,” the founder of PHILANDRY asserts.