Pair putting new shine on old idea

Pair hope to capitalize on growing popularity of men's care products

Jamie Gagan

In the ongoing pursuit of quality, a pair of Jamies aim to add shine to the lives around them. Jamie Neilson of Oak Bay and Jamie Gagan of Langford hope to have men, perhaps women as well, investing in quality shoes, and maintenance.

“Men’s care products, they’re huge right now,” said Neilson, citing friends earning a living in beard wax sales.

They noticed men these days seem to be taking more care in their appearance; a return to classic looks and styles.

The Shinekits endeavour started with Gagan discovering under-serviced keywords online. Among them the demand for shoe shine kits with little decent product available.

“Everyone has one nice pair of shoes that they don’t wear every day but they need to polish,” Gagan said.

With a background in the import business, Neilson went in search of the products needed to create the kits. They priced out less expensive items that they could turn around quickly and cheaply, but their moral sensibilities and desire to create something long lasting, a potential heirloom even, won out.

“Hopefully people are willing to pay for quality,” Neilson said.

Turns out they are.

“We went from idea to launch and $1,500 in sales within eight weeks,” Neilson said. The website, shinekits.com went live in June and they’ve shipped around the world including Australia, South Wales and the U.S.

“We’re having fun, and it’s nice to create something,” Neilson said.

A Sooke craftsman builds the beautiful hardwood boxes made from Vancouver Island-grown Douglas fir. Each kit includes Angelus Shoe Wax, which still uses the original formula that includes carnauba wax, beeswax and the finest grades of other waxes and essential oils created in 1907, in black and brown. There are two brushes of 100 per cent Brazilian horsehair and hardwood to bring up the shine, as well as a quality, flannel buffing cloth.

The overall package achieves their goal of creating an heirloom, not a throwaway product.

“If you look after your stuff, roll up your sleeves and keep your shoes shined, it’s a mark of character that you’re willing to maintain something so it will last,” Gagan said.

The men hope to see families passing them on, and added other traditional “hand down” items to the Shinekits catalogue.

“Every guy needs a pocket knife,” said Neilson with a grin.

While Shinekits is purely online, the business partners are exploring other opportunities.

“Getting them into the brick and mortar stores is the next thing,” Gagan said.

Visit shinekits.com for the full catalogue.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com