By Rhea Cartwright
ith a tagline of “selfcare for the mandem”, new British skincare and wellness brand Temple is making its position clear.
“There needs to be a brand that normalises the conversation about self-care practices among men of colour,” says co-founder Raphael Babalola. “We want to create a brand that will redefine the perception of masculinity within our community.”
Starting with a core collection of naturally derived skincare products as well as a multivitamin supplement, Temple’s UK-manufactured range of everyday luxuries is aimed at men looking to begin or elevate their skincare journey.
“Grooming practices are still uncharted territory for most men and the lack of accessible education on what works best for our skin has led to a lack of exploration,” Babalola tells The Stack.
“A lot of men are at home experimenting with personal care products under the guidance of their partner, sisters or mum.”
Having launched Temple in December 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Adam Hutchinson, Raphael Babalola and Richie Dawes developed the brand because of their own personal frustration with the lack of skincare products to suit their needs.
Sitting at the hugely commercially yet underserved intersection of male-led brands and skincare for people of colour, it is a segment of the beauty industry that is undoubtedly in need of a boost.
“Growing up as young Black men in the UK, we never felt that the grooming products we’d find in the shops really spoke to us and understood our nuances as potential consumers”
“There’s a significant lack of choice for men of colour in the market. Growing up as young Black men in the UK, we never felt that the grooming products we would find in either high-street or premium retailers were suited to our needs, or really spoke to us and understood our nuances as potential consumers,” adds Raphael. “We strongly believe Temple is needed to help men navigate through the process of creating self-care routines.”
A global industry worth over $4.2 trillion, there has been much conversation about the commodification and whitewashing of wellness, with Black people, particularly men, very much on the fringes. For Temple’s founders, self-care centres on activity that helps us maintain or enhance our health – be it physical or mental. “Everything we are, do or say starts in the mind. If the mind is in a healthy space, everything else follows. What good is flawless skin if you're in turmoil internally,” asks Babalola.
The brand intends to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health for men of colour through a series of content and conversations illustrating the multiple sides of being a man in today’s society. “We're going to be open and honest about our life experiences as young Black men, which includes speaking openly about our own mental health, in the hope that we can encourage other men to feel it's safe to do the same in their own circles.”
The three founders’ past disciplines are the perfect combination for this modern brand.
Hutchinson has an art and design background and is responsible for the creative direction and brand aesthetic. Dawes’s knowledge is rooted in e-commerce and digital strategy, which is vital for a direct-to-consumer, digitally native brand. Lastly, with a wealth of experience working for early-stage tech start-ups across growth and go-to-market strategy, Babalola looks after Temple’s marketing and community efforts alongside its future roadmap.
“I actually met Adam at college and Richie at a tech hackathon back in 2017,” says Babalola, who adds that all three of them were independently working on skincare brands and, once they realised this, decided to collaborate on a joint venture.
“A lot of men are at home experimenting with personal care products under the guidance of their partner, sisters or mum”
“As three Black men – with two of us wearing our hair in dreadlocks – we’re very proud of the fact that we’re Black and we’re not scared to focus on what can be classed as a small or niche market,” says Babalola.
With the latest data from the US suggesting that Black men’s expenditure on toiletries is growing 20% faster than the total market, Temple is positioned for success. “We really want the personal care and grooming experience for men of colour to be elite. This demographic won’t be overlooked anymore or won’t just have to settle for what they’re given.”
Main Image Courtesy of Temple
Temple is the homegrown brand that wants to help men – particularly men of colour for whom there has been a lack of self-care products – look after their mind, body and soul.
By Rhea Cartwright