In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and innovators working on our next generation of new business startups, social enterprises and small businesses.

At a glance

Founders: MICHAEL MCRAE & Tomas Tappin

Business: Two Dudes

Founded: 2020

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Two Dudes is a men’s personal care business. We make high quality, simple and uncomplicated products for kiwi men to look good, feel good and do good. 10% of our profits go to men’s health charities.

We launched the brand selling online eCommerce skincare subscription business out of our garages in November 2020. It was a side hustle as we both still had full time jobs. Since then we’ve grown to create a community of thousands of kiwi men to look after themselves, and others, just by choosing to use Two Dudes products.

Last year we tripled the product range and expanded in to retail and are now ranged in around 100 supermarkets, pharmacies, barber shops and gift shops throughout the country.

We use our business to impact men’s health in Aotearoa. We use Two Dudes as a vehicle to fund men’s health initiatives, grant male nursing scholarships, run men’s yoga events, and even make a moisturiser for ballsacks as a tongue-in-cheek way to encourage dudes to check themselves for testicular cancer.

There’s huge potential for the men’s personal care market. It’s already growing massively overseas. Our mission is to create the wave here make the category accessible to the everyday kiwi man. That’s where the real incremental growth is for the category and men’s health in New Zealand: when a kiwi bloke like “Darryl from Temuka” starts using our products and looking after himself.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Tom’s girlfriend got us using skincare while living together overseas. We felt the benefits but when we returned to New Zealand and tried to buy our own we found there were some key barriers to the male personal care category:

  • Difficult to shop the category
  • Existing products were confusing
  • No brands resonated: it was all female brands that said “for men”
  • Existing offerings were boring and didn’t stand for anything

This inspired the idea to make the category uncomplicated and a brand that kiwi dudes could be proud of.

Our men’s health mission was inspired by research. We began looking at why kiwi men didn’t use products. There was this underlying issue that men are not great at taking care of themselves, mentally and physically. What if we could create a brand and products where dudes could look after themselves, and others, just by using Two Dudes in their daily routine?

What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?

We’ve had great advice and help from other New Zealand entrepreneurs. It’s invaluable talking to people who have done a similar journey as there are always the peaks and troughs and lots of things to navigate.

We’re also both lucky to have some great mentors. Coming from a consumer goods background we’ve been able to lean on former colleagues expertise, particularly with entering retail shelves.

Last year we brought an advisor on board. He’s awesome and provides an objective view of the business. He has also introduced us to people within in his network who are always more than happy to talk to us and provide a variety of insights for Two Dudes.

For other early consumer goods founders we recommend getting creative when it comes to getting formal assistance and funding. For example, it can be difficult to get access to innovation funding grants as an early consumer goods business as a lot of resource tends to be tech and agri-focused. If it makes other early founders feel better, we’ve been successfully awarded innovation funding grants to a grand total of $0.

In terms of resources, we draw plenty of inspiration and learnings from other local and international brands:

  • Local – Pal’s, Ethique, Lewis Road, Allbirds and Eden Orchards
  • International – Liquid Death and Dr Squatch.
  • Books we’d recommend: “Shoe Dog” Phil Knight; “Zero to One” Peter Thiel; “Scrum” Jeff Sutherland.


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