Meet The Founder: Shane Xin Carnell-Xu of SHAKEUP interview
On a mission to break down the barriers and stigma around men's cosmetics, Shakeup was founded as a grooming go-to brand, helping men to look and feel their best. Their innovative, easy to use products are multipurpose and multifunctional – aiming to keep grooming routines paired back yet effective, with clinically proven results.
We spoke with Shane, one of the co-founders of Shakeup, about his journey to building a brand, the essential steps to a great skincare routine, and why it's important that there are cosmetics dedicated specifically to men's skin.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your career so far. Have you always been interested in skincare and cosmetics?
Shakeup was co-founded by me and my twin brother Jake. We have both worked in beauty for the past decade, with a particular speciality in marketing, from running our own agency working with well-known beauty brands such as Soap & Glory, Bioré, Burt’s Bees and Dermalogica just to name a few, helping them engage with their customers and launching new products to market. We are also very passionate cosmetics users ourselves, because we've both suffered from rosacea since a young age, and have tried & tested various products over many years, in search of the perfect products that meet our skin needs and requirements.
Where did the idea for Shakeup come from?
The fast growing demand for beauty products from today’s modern male consumers makes the men’s beauty space a very exciting place for indie brands. An increasing number of young men are leaning towards looking well-groomed and drawing greater self-confidence from looking good. Researchers often refer to this boom as the “Love Island effect.” They are no longer limiting themselves to just shaving products and deodorants, these are savvy skincare and beauty experts, many of whom also use makeup products regularly. This has created an incredibly exciting men’s beauty market landscape, with a rapidly growing customer base, which we believe sits right in the middle of our customer demographic.
What made you decide to turn this idea into a business?
Our own experience of struggling to find the right beauty products that are specifically designed for men, combined with our experience in beauty marketing, finally drove us to create our own range.
What are the core values of Shakeup?
Challenge gender stereotypes.
Reject hyper masculinity.
Embrace a new era of men’s beauty.
We offer everyday men easy-to-use and innovative skincare and hybrid-cosmetic products specifically designed with men’s skin type and concerns in mind, helping them look and feel their best.
What has been your proudest moment with Shakeup so far?
Taking our British brand globally, and launching into multiple international markets, including China where our hero product Let’s Face It BB tinted moisturiser is currently selling 1 every 5 minutes.
Have there been any particular challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Shakeup launched just a few months before the world was turned upside down by the pandemic. We had to adapt very quickly and pivot our strategy. As a result of that, we decided to bring forward our international expansion plans while the UK market was severely impacted by lockdowns. In hindsight, that decision not only meant we survived the pandemic, but actually thrived during the past couple of years, growing 100% year on year. It just goes to show, there is opportunity in every crisis.
Why is it important for men to have cosmetics dedicated to their skincare needs? How does men’s skin differ from a woman's?
There is no denying, that society is progressing, attitudes are changing, and more and more people are embracing gender neutrality and fluidity, which is extremely encouraging to see. However, there is still a real need for male specific products in today’s beauty market, as gender neutral isn’t the panacea and one size simply does not fit all.
Generally speaking we know that there are major differences between men’s skin and women’s skin. For example, it’s oilier, so it’s more prone to impurities and longer lasting acne; and also shaving can damage the uppermost layer of skin cells, making male skin more sensitive. So from a physiological point of view, we don’t believe it’s right to paint all skins with the same (makeup) brush – all puns intended.
We also know that men are looking for multi-purpose products and multi-functional solutions. Many men feel really overwhelmed and confused by the vast product ranges offered on the market. These consumers look to brands like Shakeup for guidance, education and affordable options.
What does a great skincare routine look like to you?
A great skincare routine should be simple, clear and effective. Skincare can be overwhelming and confusing even for the most savvy. When it comes to skincare for men, there are even fewer places where one can access knowledge or tips. We set out to change all of that with our innovative hybrid products, aimed to demystify skincare jargons, and make skincare for men easy to understand and simple to follow.
Personally, my morning skincare routine consists of an exfoliating cleanser, a hydrating moisturiser, followed by SPF and our amazing BB tinted moisturiser (especially when I need a boost of self-confidence for a busy day ahead); and in the evening I would use a detoxifying face mask, a toner and a repair serum (check out our amazing Pro-Youth serum from our new FACE 4WARD range).
Do you have any projects in the pipeline? What can we expect to see next from Shakeup?
We have so many ideas in our new product pipeline which we can’t wait to share with you. We currently already have the widest range of men’s beauty products on the market, and will continue to follow our skincare-first ethos to bring more innovations to our customers. We are very much here to “shake up” the industry, so watch this space!
Finally, a quick fire round:
- What is your one hero product you can’t live without? Our LET’S FACE IT BB Tinted Moisturiser – literally the best way to achieve flawless skin in an instant.
- TV show you’re currently watching? Bridgerton
- Favourite restaurant? Any Chinese hotpot restaurant – if you haven’t tried it yet I strongly recommend it!
- Perfect way to spend a weekend? Jump on a plane to explore a new European city.
- Go-to weekend breakfast? Has to be a fry-up.
- Best book recommendation? Believe IT, by the formidable Jamie Kern Lima
- Bucket list destination? I don’t believe in bucket list. Travelling is my biggest passion, and my dream is to see as much of the world as I possibly can!