THE SLOW BOAT BARBER
While only conceived in 2017, The ‘Earnest Empire’ story starts a good three quarters of a century earlier.
The year is 1941. That’s right, ‘war’ time…
A strapping young lad by the name of Earnest James boards a slow boat in Auckland, New Zealand, destined for the shores of Egypt. But this lad wasn’t just a soldier, he was a barber by trade, and my great Uncle.
Ever the opportunist, ol’ Uncle Ernie recognised a need for an on-board barber. With a wit as sharp as his razor, he’d often jest with his brothers in arms that “You can’t fight the fight if you look like shite”. He soon set up shop, made a quick buck, and kept his mates looking dapper for the duration of their journey.
Earnest’s pioneering spirit is just one example of how our forefathers stared in the face of adversity…and smiled. While looking pretty damn good I’m sure he’d say. Sadly, he never returned, but the stories of his fighting spirit is what kept me returning to the name ‘Earnest Empire’.
Fast forward to 2017 and a visit to a barber shop in Hamburg (oh the irony…). It occurred to me that we men don’t spend nearly enough time enjoying the grooming rituals of my Great Uncle’s time. Rituals that are uniquely OURS.
I returned home to New Zealand with an idea, a dream, and a suitcase full of beard grooming supplies. Months of testing and critiquing led me to the conclusion that while some were good, I could surely do better. Us kiwis like it natural, and if I paid extreme attention to the sourcing of ingredients, I could create a range rich in natural elements, while leaving out all that synthetic crap found in many leading brands. So, with the help of expert cosmeticians and perfumers, that’s exactly what I did.
Today, Earnest Empire is a small, privately owned company manned by a close group of mates. Mates with a shared passion and commitment to delivering the gold standard in beard grooming products – so you can reclaim your rituals.
I’m sure the Slow Boat Barber would approve.