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IN CONVERSATION WITH PAUL THOMPSON OF WILDE & HARTE
Written by Menswear Style in Interviews on the 2nd March 2021 / In Conversation with Paul Thompson of Wilde & Harte
Over dinner at The Wolseley, in London's Piccadilly, two friends — a product designer and a men's shaving accessory purchaser — discuss the uninspired task of regular wet shaving and identify a lack of genuine quality razors and shaving brushes to make shaving once again, the exciting self-indulgent ritual it should be. The days of lathering up a badger hair shaving brush with a delicate, scented shaving cream, loading a double edge blade into a 3-piece safety razor and applauding hand-crafted shaving implements seem all but forgotten in the efficient-driven age of electric shavers and disposable multi-blade razors. There and then, a brand name was conceived. Derived from two favoured drinking establishments in London's bustling West End — The Oscar Wilde bar at the Café Royal, Mayfair and The White Harte in Drury Lane. Wilde & Harte draw on an extensive knowledge of British men’s style and of the timeless quality which identifies a unique luxury British brand. Their inspiration is derived from contemporary and classic design, coupled with a passion for creating exquisite men's grooming products of the highest quality. Each wet shaving razor and shaving brush is manufactured from stainless steel and hand finished at the home of the British steel industry in Sheffield before being despatched to their London HQ for distribution.
In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Paul Thompson, Founder of Wilde & Harte about his background in web design and the story of how his shaving brand was launched. The idea was to create uniquely designed stainless steel razors that were more modern and contemporary compared to the plastic offering commonplace on the supermarket shelves. Our host Peter Brooker and Paul also talked about the meaning behind product names, why he champions British manufacturing, the difference between badger hair and synthetic shaving brushes, and turning a hobby into career.
“I spent a couple of years working on razors as a hobby. One of the main reasons we got involved with this was to create stainless steel razors, as opposed to the plastic solutions, which most companies sell. It takes time for the CAD drawings to get signed off and to see samples for testing. The process probably takes up to a couple of months to bring a new product to market. I quite like Art Deco architecture, so the octagonal design is based on this influence, bringing something more modern and contemporary. Everything, as much as possible, is made in Britain, and keeping with the British theme, our collections are inspired by the grandeur and opulence of iconic houses and palaces in London. Being based in Derbyshire means Sheffield is on our doorstep, and so I ventured up into what was the old industrial quarter and started asking around and got some contacts for manufacturers. Manufacturing in this country is not particularly cheap, but we have a lot more control over potential supply problems down the line. What started off as a hobby that made a little pocket money has developed into a business which now pays a wage and is going quite well. It's all about education, trying to get people to use more sustainable methods of shaving. Our safety razors, which we focus heavily on, is aimed at getting people away from cartridge razors.”
This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 110 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Paul Thompson, Founder of wildeandharte.co.uk You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.