A good shave is hard to find. And especially for African-American men, who have skin concerns, finding the right shaving tools can be extremely hard. This was the impetus that led Garrett R. Fortner to write a book about the proper way to shave, “The Best Shave,” targeted at African-American men. Out of the bestseller has sprung another business for New York-based Fortner.
"I started the product line by request for the people who bought my book,” explains Fornter, formerly the publisher of New Word Magazine and currently publisher of Men Stay Fly magazine.” They suggested that I get into the business.”
Fortner self-funded the new venture. “I started small so I funded the line myself by being resourceful and thinking things through,” he says. “By starting small, I have been able to keep costs down.” Fortner officially launched it in June of 2012, but had been doing business with Forty One Fifty Shaving Essentials a year prior.
He has created Forty One Fifty Shaving Essentials--a homegrown collection of grooming products for men wanting to achieve the best shave possible. Included are the Forty One Fifty Shaving Essentials shaving cream and oil, made with the natural ingredients and 100% pure essential oils. Used in the products are various oils (jojoba, aloe vera, vitamin E, and other ingredients) to help skin with problems associated with irritation and dryness, nicks and cuts and chapped skin. “Natural is always best since Black men's skin is so sensitive,” Fortner points out. “Natural is the best way to go to help with irritated skin and in-grown hairs.”
Although the line is still relatively new, Fortner says the response has been tremendous. “The response has been better than I expected. There is so much support for the line, it’s unreal, and I love it,” he says. Currently the products (which are $14 for the oil, $15 for the shaving cream) can only be purchased on at menstayfly.com.
Fortner says he realizes he has some major competition, but he isn't too worried because Forty One Fifty is filling a void in the market. “It’s very competitive, but we are a specialty brand with a target market that is Black men, and mostly men of color,” he notes. "Our long-term goals include a street marketing campaign. I’m working on opening up my men’s salon and expanding the line with other products.”
While Fortner is pleased with the somewhat instant success of Forty One Fifty, he has a bigger goal in mind. He plans to use the line to raise money for a series of public service announcements that speak to young men about staying in school and staying out of jail. “Of course it is great to make young men look good,” he says. “But what is even greater is to help make sure that young men are educated and out of prison.”