Men’s grooming products are some of the hottest items in the beauty sector these days. And a men’s line called Scotch Porter aims to be one of the major players. So much so, Calvin Quallis left his well-paying job to go after his dream of creating the men’s grooming line of high-end products. “Scotch Porter was launched out of the need from what I saw and heard from clients at the barbershop (Center Stage Cuts) that I owned in Newark, New Jersey. I am passionate about style and grooming but noticed a need for products that would nurture dry, brittle beards and help to solve problems like razor bumps,” he says.
Quallis already had an interest in men’s grooming products–and a connection. “I worked for a market research company during the day, and was co-owner of a barbershop that I managed in the evenings and on the weekends. I did this for almost two years. It was exhausting, but allowed me to fund Scotch Porter in its initial stages, without accruing debt or giving up equity,” says Quallis, who made the full leap to entrepreneurship with the debut of Scotch Porter.
“This is my full-time job. I’ve known, for a very long time, that I wasn’t quite cut out to be a 9-5er. The thought of spending the rest of my working life in an office space-type work environment and confined to a cubicle seemed like a death sentence,” reveals Quallis. “My brain and spirit dwindled a bit each day. But while sitting at my desk one afternoon in 2015, I literally said to myself aloud, ‘Dude, this can’t be it. Life doesn’t go on forever, and you don’t get a second chance at this.’ I understood that there were great financial risks if I quit my job and the business failed. However, what I feared the most is taking too little risk and settling for comfortable and ordinary, and all the regrets that come with it. Also, if I didn’t walk, it meant that I would be undervaluing myself and that instead of being great, I would have become okay with just being good. I couldn’t live with that decision, so the very next day, I sat down with my boss and discussed my plan to resign.”
And his plan is turning out to be a dynamic success. Scotch Porter’s products are already considered some of the best around. “I’m a natural problem-solver and noticed that many men, like myself, who have coarse or curly hair wind up with dry and, often, brittle beards when they grow them out. I started making the products in the kitchen of my home to test out on the clients in the barbershop. People liked them and the buzz started to get around,” says Quallis. “Our initial offering of men’s hair and beard products improve the quality and management of men’s coarse or dry hair and beards. All our products are free from parabens, mineral oil, silicones, petroleums and artificial colors.”
Even the brand’s name has a quality ring to it. So how did Quallis come up with the company name? “Good question. Scotch is my drink of choice and I’ve always thought the word carried a masculine strength. Porter happens to be the name of one of my favorite musicians, Gregory Porter,” he says.
Like most entrepreneurs, Quallis has faced a variety of challenges. “One of the most difficult challenges of starting a business is having to maneuver and avoid the many pitfalls that can leave a business flat-lined. From the proper management of finances to building a great team to addressing operational inefficiencies to developing effective marketing and sales plans, it can feel very overwhelming at times. However, what has gotten me through the toughest days has been me reminding myself daily of all the reasons that I have to be grateful for and truly believing that my present challenges are all necessary stepping stones. I read something that Oprah Winfrey said a while ago, that has stuck with me. She said ‘I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.’ Perspective is everything,” he shares.
And Quallis’ perspective is set on the sights ahead. He says, “Our goal over the next 18 month is to continue to develop a more robust product offering and focus our distribution efforts mostly online and very specific retail distribution with select partners.”