Several times a year, Damon flies to Asia to stock up on items for the family business, fifty-year-old STATS floral supply and home decorative center. Gnomes, Santas, ghouls, pumpkins, ornaments, garlands, nativities, decorative flowers. Every few years, Damon stops in Europe to purchase hand-blown ornaments, for example. It was while in London during one trip that he realized he’d left his toiletry bag in Poland. Taking a stroll, he glanced into a shop window and saw a man reclining in a barber’s chair receiving a straight razor shave. Damon walked in and asked for the same. Damon had his first wet shave then asked the proprietor to wrap up every product he had used. That was the beginning, twenty years ago, of Damon’s love affair with wet shaving.
In the ensuing years, Damon has had products mailed to him via royal post. Special trips have been made to Pasteur’s Pharmacy in New York City and Merz Apothecary in Chicago. Now, Old Town Shaving Company at the corner of Green Street and Raymond Avenue has opened and Damon is hoping to serve the avid wet shaving fans already in the area and to convert even more. He swears that once tried, forever hooked.
We learned that there are three major suppliers of wet shaving products that are a cut above the rest: Taylor of Old Bond Street, London; George F. Trumper, Duke of York Street; and Dr. Harris & Co., Bury Street. All of these establishments founded in the late nineteenth century may be found within the vicinity of St. James Square, London.
What’s important to a good shave? Water and warmth. “When hair absorbs hot water it becomes softer and easier to cut” (Trumpers.com/shavingtips). Use the highest quality shaving cream—and no, not the shaving cream that comes out of a can like Barbasol, Noxzema, Aqua Velva, or Old Spice.
Note: RazoRock created an original, exclusive artisan shaving soap for Old Town Shaving Company called “Inauguration”.
What’s makes a good shave (continued): Make a good, hefty lather and brush in a circular motion to lift the beard, the warm water engorging the beard, allowing for a great shave. Shave in the direction of the beard growth, not against the grain. Wet shaving exfoliates the skin, which gives a smooth, healthy appearance. Follow with an aftershave moisturizer or “skin food” that closes pores.
Originally, having a clean face was a sign of wealth. Only those with means could afford to go the barber for a wet shave. Each man had their own mug, many depicting their occupation, which was kept at his barbers’—so, the more mugs on a barber’s shelf spoke to his popularity and, apparently, his talent.
At the turn of the 20th century, a Utopian Socialist named King Camp Gillette created the stamped razor blade steel blade. Thanks to low prices, automated manufacturing, effective advertising, and for the fact that Gillette provided every single American soldier during World War I with a field razor set—to keep their face clean of a facial hair in order for gas masks to fit snuggly—Gillette became a thriving capitalist.
After WWI—and after millions of soldiers had spent years keeping a “clean” face—the shaving life was fundamentally altered.
Old Town Shaving company has blades, brushes, shaving bowls and cups. They have creams, aftershave, and perfume. Perhaps you should try Blenheim Bouquet from Penhaligon. This was the resilient, steadfast, controversial, and charismatic Winston Churchill’s signature scent and is used currently by Prince Charles.
How did Prince William win over Kate? Some say with metallic effects, tonka bean, black pepper, and myrrh. These are actually just a few of the head notes, heart notes, and base notes in Prince Williams’ scent—Penhaligon’s Sartorial. Old Town Shaving also carries Princess Di’s favorite scent, Bluebell.
Old Town Shaving Company is bright and airy, with a dose of an old world feel. Damon used a stunning dark wood called cocobolo wood the massive display cabinets and shelves. (Aside: cocobolo is “specific gravity over one,” he told us. Wood that actually sinks in water.)
Damon Stathatos is excited for men, and women, to come and visit his new endeavor; a shop that exemplifies and embodies his love of wet shaving. He’s a wealth of information on current products and the history of wet shaving. Ask him a question. Just get him started. You may get hooked.
Old Town Shaving Company, 120 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 91105. 626.795.9308. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit them on Facebook.