Ernest Supplies: Inspired Beginnings
June 1, 2017
John Cafarelli has launched a unique and powerful brand grown from an inspired beginning. A former mover-and-shaker in the finance world, John decided to shift gears and launch his own company. Six years ago, he created Ernest Supplies, a suite of skincare and grooming products for men. In celebration of our collaboration with Ernest Supplies this Father’s Day, we sat down with this John Hardy man to learn more about the intricate process behind his products and his eco-conscious philosophy.
What inspired you to pursue your passion and launch Ernest Supplies?
I liked what I did, and I loved my job, but I needed a creative outlet. A lot of finance people can feel that way, especially later in their career. I felt successful, but I also felt like something was missing. I started pursuing things I loved like photography, and it ended up influencing a lot of our earlier brand work and helped to kick start the brand.
Our artisans spend so much time creating each piece of jewelry. What do you enjoy most about the process of creating Ernest Supplies products?
I can tell there are a lot of parallels there… For us, it takes about a year, and it’s a long and intricate process. We do tons of testing, because we want to make sure we launch the best quality products on the market. We focus on products we think have a point of differentiation, so they are unique, and something our customers can’t buy anywhere else. We are obsessive with details to bring it all to life in a thoughtful way.
What about your products is unique and different? What sets them apart?
We are extremely particular about what we use. We have a wish list of what we want products in the marketplace to do, and we find a way to approach it from a unique angle to ensure there’s more value add to our customers. It’s one-of-a-kind and we like to add in new elements to make it special and different.
John Hardy has the workshop in Bali, the Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo initiative and the Green School. Can you talk about how sustainability is important for your brand as well?
Speaking of bamboo, I love it and incorporated it into our products. I have a bamboo toothbrush that we launched not too long ago actually. Millions of toothbrushes go into landfills every year, so we wanted to rethink this. I love taking on these challenges of rethinking the way things are done, and out of that came this toothbrush. The bristles are charcoal infused, so it is a natural antiseptic, and the bamboo is totally sustainable and biodegradable. Our packaging is also eco-conscious. I wanted to make decisions that not only are in the best interest of our customers, but in the environment. Our packaging has a really high product to package ratio, and the design is a layered lightweight pouch that keeps the product fresh and helps reduce waste post use.
In keeping with our Father's Day campaign theme of One-of-a-Kind Men, Everyday Heroes, did your father encourage you to found your own company?
Yes, for sure. My Dad is a builder. I always felt like he had a desire to start his own company, but he had the responsibility of raising a family so he wasn’t able to do it. When my Dad retired is when Ernest Supplies was taking off, and he’s been an integral part in helping me continue to grow the company. It’s been really nice to work with him and my family in our office in the city. He is a good problem solver, and a truly inspiring guy. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without his guidance.