An entrepreneur from Bristol who suffered from mental health issues has launched a vegan grooming business to support other men with mental health problems.
Bristolian entrepreneur Blue O’Connor has launched his own business and social enterprise: Kings, an ethical aftershave and grooming brand for men.
The idea for the range of empowering products came when O’Connor returned from travelling in 2016.
Speaking to Business West about what inspired him to create his own range of cruelty-free and vegan self-care products for men, the entrepreneur said: “At the time I was struggling to find grooming products that were a good fit for my values and lifestyle. There seemed to be no quality aftershaves that were ethically produced and cruelty-free. And there were definitely no aftershaves that ‘gave back’ to the causes close to my heart.”
O’Connor plans to give 20 per cent of profits made from the sales of his ethical range Kings to support Bristol charities Mentoring Plus and Bristol Mind to support men with mental health problems.
Some of the money raised from the campaign will also go towards the company’s own projects including an urban gym and health and wellbeing programme for men.
Blue says his mission with his brand is to “empower young men to be open about their problems”.
He said: “There’s still a huge stigma with young men when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. I feel strongly that we need to open up the conversation and address them to live healthier and happier lives.
“We want to encourage men to challenge the unhealthy, unrealistic ideas society holds about masculinity, and redefine what masculinity means in 2018.”
O’Connor’s range of male grooming products are cruelty-free and are approved by the Vegan Society. For Blue, it’s important that every Kings product will be ethically produced and made in the UK, and King’s entire product range will also be paraben free, palm oil free, registered cruelty-free, and vegan.
According to O’Connor: “Kings is all about challenging the norm and using our brand to help power change, whether that’s offering high-quality grooming products that are also vegan and ethically made, or using profits from the range to help change the way men deal with mental health issues.
“All the products in the Kings grooming range are certified vegan, which is important to me as a long-time vegan and animal lover.
“I’ve also taken things one step further by pledging a percentage of profits to supporting male mental health, another cause that’s close to my heart.
In order to fund the venture, O’Connor set up a crowdfunding campaign which has now reached his target to allow him to begin manufacturing his line of compassionate self-care products.
Keep up to date with when King’s range of products will drop by signing up to their newsletter on their website.