When I first spoke to Philip Woolley of Totem Wolf, I was immediately drawn into beard envy. I The first words I spoke to him, September 7th, were to compliment him on his manly presentation. He was a cool guy!
The more I got to know Phillip, the more I realised we had more in common than I thought we would. We're both beardy, obviously, but we both also craft unique, one-of-one products and we are both naturally very passionate men.
The Totem Wolf experience has been something else. I could wake up every single day with a smile on my face knowing that today is the day that I make your day. Philip is a man who shares this value. When you buy his product, you don't just get a product, you get so much more.
Philip's interview experience, where he sends a dozen questions designed to create your profile, is brilliantly bizarre. He wants to know about your life... your favourite car, music... your blend of coffee or tea. What's your favourite drink.... what he is doing is exceptionally clever. He's creating your smell.
Woolley takes this information and produces for you samples that he has concocted in his Manchester studio. You wear them, review them and feedback to him your findings.
The Wolf then asks you what your smell should be called. For me, it's easy, DVB. The love of my life.
When I met Philip, what you see is what you get. An emotional guy, not shy, great communicator and eccentrically comfortable in his own skin. He likes a drink, he admits, and he isn't afraid to confess it. I like that. It adds to his personality, his demeanour, he suits his own brand, rather like myself. He's cool, friendly and very much the gentleman.
So it comes as no surprise that his products follows suit. Beautifully packaged, loaded with stories of exclusivity and one-of-a-kind sentiment, it's everything I wanted. The bottle itself, hand frosted by a local street artist, Nathan Aiyna Sassen, and splatted with my favourite colours - brown and green - is in itself a piece of unique, creative art.
DVB itself is a musky, woody aroma that according to the words of Mrs. Bourne is 'very sexy'. It's rich in wood, chocolate and leathery notes. It's quite simply divine. It smells amazing, but most importantly it's another extension of me, Simon Bourne, and my unique personality. I wear the fragrance, the beard oil, balm and soap... I'm not the same as David Beckham, Hugo Boss or Louis Vuitton, so why would I want to smell like them?
And the good news is, you will soon be able to smell DVB for yourself as any visit to my studio is to be fragranced with my brand thanks to Philip's exclusive DVB candle.
It's no coincidence Philip and I found each other. When you share the values we do, it's very easy for us to get along. I have little doubt we'll meet again soon, for a gin and an ale or two, and we'll further our personal and professional friendship further in 2018.
You can find Phillip's wonderful company here: http://www.totem-wolf.co.uk/