DARREN KENNEDY, Creator & Founder of Kennedy & Co
Kennedy & Co Grooming is available from Dunnes Stores and pharmacies nationwide €12.95-€14.95
How do you begin and end your day?
I start and finish my day with a good cleanse and I have a gentle scrub the mornings using my purifying peat scrub to give it a good deep clean and it gives a lovely polish effect. The minerals and natural exfoliants help to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores which always good. Then I’ll use a small bit of moisturiser and eye gel, simple.
What was the key driving force behind you developing a grooming range?
It was a personal ambition of mine for quite some time. I wanted to develop a range that combined the best of Ireland and what it is known for in terms of being Green and harnessing the minerals and ingredients but I wanted attainable luxury because I’m all about luxury but it shouldn’t be out of reach of anybody. Having worked with some of the biggest international skincare brands, I noticed that there were certain things that weren’t being catered such as, SPF in a moisturiser which should be a basic but it isn’t, but I have it there in Kennedy & Co.
What is your favourite product in the range?
It’s hard, it’s like being asked to choose your favourite child!
Obviously I love the hair clay, it’s the first product that we finished development on and I have been using it for well over a year and it’s really soft, texturizing clay, putty that leaves a really nice finish and it doesn’t clog up your hair and washes out very easily, which is so important. It also includes and ingredient called Baicapil™ which is proven to stimulate hair growth, visibly reduce hair loss and increase hair density.
Do you think Irish men are evolving as quickly as their European counterparts when it comes to male grooming?
We are a tiny bit behind if you look at places like London, which is a global capital. Parisian men, Italian men have probably been actively looking after their grooming for the past decade but that said we are catching up at a rate of knots. I always think, I wouldn’t be surprised in a few years if Irish men overtake our European counterparts in terms of skincare and grooming.
What mistakes have you made in terms of grooming in the past? Have you had any
terrible haircuts or dodgy beards?
Yes of course, who hasn’t, it’s a rite of passage. I was taken to the barbers as a kid and he would literally put a bowl around my head and that was my hairstyle until I had the cop to do it myself! Throughout my school years, because I have naturally thick hair, my nickname was champignon due to my thick mushroom looking hair but other than that there have been no other catastrophic disasters.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
Coming up with the name for Kennedy & Co was quite simple, obviously I wanted to incorporate my name. It’s a name that is globally renowned because of JFK, so it travels well in various languages. You pop up in France or Italy and you say your name, and people react and say ‘as in the president’ so it has a good follow through and Co obviously to reference my business partners.
What was your mission at the outset?
The mission from the outset is to create an affordable, luxury, grooming range so the everyday man can treat himself and take a couple of minutes to make himself feel better and ready to tackle whatever the day ahead brings.
Tell us about your best and worst days at work?
Sometimes the best days are the worst days, it’s the worst days when you feel things are going wrong and you just can’t break through and you just can’t achieve what you want to do but when you stick at it and persist and think outside the box. They turn out to be the best days. So, I don’t believe in best and worst days, I believe in moving forward and learning from your mistakes and just doing the best you can.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
When I’m not in work, I like to spend time with family, friends, my nearest and dearest to me. Most of my friendship group are my friends from school. I love to travel, I love to jump in the car and go and explore Ireland or just go up the Wicklow mountains for a hike or be out in nature. I love to eat out, it’s one of my absolute pleasures and I eat out quite regularly. I enjoy going to new restaurants and tasting new cuisines, having a drink with friends, really just letting my hair down.
Try to describe yourself in three words only?
My life motto is Life is the occasion it’s our motto actually for Kennedy & Co – okay so we need to hyphenate that, Life’s the occasion.
You’ve got to go and live each day in a way that fuilfills you, life is precious and short and I really appreciate the value in pursing what you enjoy.
What are your hidden inspiration sources?
It really varies, travel and nature have always been really inspiring to me in terms of design in terms of textiles, style and colour. Harnessing this for skincare has really been quite incredible. When you look at our beard oil which has been a real hit, it’s full of really natural, potent, botanical oils. It’s great for your skin, nourishing it so it locks in what’s already in nature.
How do you generate innovative ideas?
It is interesting! it’s being aware of what’s going on, keeping your finger on the pulse, keeping your eyes open to what’s happening around you, changes in the environment, in business and also travelling a lot is great for generating new ideas. How you might adapt it for the Irish market or what might work for the Irish market or might not work for the Irish market.
I’m also working with great people who know their stuff, I’m lucky to have a really great team working with me on Kennedy & Co. we all work together.