Local Company Fills Void for Men of Color

TCF-MIC Investment Helps Grooming Products Brand Grow

Working in the cosmetics industry, Michael James saw firsthand the lack of personal grooming products for men of color and was inspired to do something about it.

He started Frederick Benjamin Grooming, named in honor of his grandfather, a self-made man who ran a successful lumber company. The brand is now poised for rapid growth powered by digital marketing and planned national retail distribution in 2022. The growth is being funded in part by two rounds of equity investments by The Community Foundation Mission Investments Company (TCF-MIC).

Michael James, founder of Frederick Benjamin Grooming LLC. Photo: Alex Rodgers

James is launching Frederick Benjamin in New Haven at the business incubator NXTHVN Ventures, the entrepreneurship support arm of NXTHVN, which has a mission to accelerate the careers of artists, entrepreneurs and curators. NXTHVN is also part of TCF-MIC’s investment portfolio, which is prioritizing investments Black, Brown, women, immigrant and formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs in Greater New Haven.

“After spending more than a decade working for cosmetic giants Revlon and L’Oreal, Michael James created his own line of men’s grooming products called Frederick Benjamin Grooming. Specifically geared towards black and Latino men, James says he was inspired to launch the line after noticing that most shaving products were not suited for eliminating razor bumps and ingrown hairs for men of color. After conducting more extensive research, James developed Frederick Benjamin Grooming to specifically meets the needs of multicultural men.”

From "Black Enterprise," June 29, 2017