Former Auburn football teammates and current owners of a successful grooming brand Karlos Dansby and Christopher R. Butler followed a rather unusual career path. After graduation, Dansby went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals while Butler traded in his jersey for a suit when he went into banking. The pair’s foray into the men’s care arena began when they opened Butler’s Grooming Club in the Birmingham, Alabama Saks Fifth Avenue. After a few years of listening to customers concerns, they used the knowledge to launch their luxe science-based skin- and bodycare line, which depends on high quality, results-oriented molecules to get the job done. The Montez Renault founders took the time to discuss their career trajectory, what separates their brand from others, and the products every man should have in his arsenal.
Your career path has been sort of unusual. How did you go from the football field to the grooming arena?
CHRIS: I started in the banking industry following my completion of life on the football field. Dealing with people in the financial industry, I was able to see so many people that didn’t really know all of the things available to them for grooming care. We’re in a very conservative state, so anything that’s beyond the typical day-to-day takes time to catch on.
KARLOS: Chris and I definitely had a vision to bring back to Birmingham a men’s grooming club—an establishment that would change the evolution of grooming standards for the state of Alabama. I just wanted to make a unique impact in our community.
Were you aware of your grooming needs when you were playing football?
CHRIS: Not so much. Honestly. I was younger, so the concepts of grooming were basically shaving and haircuts. But as I matured away from college and off the football field, I realized that just because we play a tough, rugged sport, doesn’t mean that we have to also be tough, rugged in terms of grooming care.
KARLOS: Oh without a doubt! Honestly, you never know when you are going to make a big play and there you are at the podium after the game. You never know when the camera is going to be watching, so it’s important to look your best.
What about football prepared you for running this company?
CHRIS: Dedication and commitment to your goals. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-of-heart. I have to sacrifice so much of my personal life to provide a service which I whole-heartedly believe in for my clientele and the people of this community. Football taught me that I always need be focused on the ultimate goal, lead by example, and give my best each and every day for the people relying on me.
KARLOS: Football gave me the building blocks to help me to work as a team. Chris and I were able to take what we learned on the football field to the boardroom. We are able to play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to get a win for everybody. Chris and I played football together and we run this company together. It’s very much a team effort.
How does Montez Renault stand out from other grooming brands?
CHRIS: It’s a well thought-out, clinically proven, consumer celebrated product. We put a lot of dedication into the formulation of the products, ensuring our customers will be provided with the best, safest, most reliable, and most effective grooming products on the market. There are so many good products out there in the grooming industry, but we stand by the superiority and satisfaction our customers will experience with the Montez Renault brand.
Did you learn anything particularly interesting about shaving or skincare as you developed this line?
CHRIS: It’s an everyday process! The skin doesn’t take care of itself. As amazing as the skin’s regenerative qualities are, we still have to protect the skin cells to the best of our abilities. It’s hard to do anything about the elements, but having good products, great habits, and a dedication to maintaining healthy skin is a very big reason why we wanted to create Montez Renault.
Have your habits changed since you started the line?
KARLOS: Absolutely. It’s a lifestyle and a lifestyle brand. That’s what we are. I keep seeing improvement everyday, so I make sure I put the lotion on everyday after my shower. I take better care of my skin and use cleanser and moisturizer everyday. You have to practice what you preach, right? I work to get better at my grooming habits, but as a busy entrepreneur it’s difficult to slow down sometimes and enjoy the benefits of your grooming needs. Starting the line has just enhanced my habits and grown my dedication to it.
What do you think is the one area of grooming that most guys are deficient?
CHRIS: Moisturizing. Whether it’s shaving or just general moisturizing of the face and skin, most men don’t bring enough hydration to the skin. Therefore, we’re always educating men on the importance of great habits to hydrate and refresh the skin.
What is your favorite product in the range?
KARLOS: That would have to be the 3-in-1 Performance Wash. I’m always on the go, I have to be on time and I have to look a certain way. The 3-in-1 allows me to cover my whole body with the face wash, body wash and shampoo in one.
CHRIS: For me I would say the moisturizing body lotion and moisturizing body wash. The peppermint in the body wash really gets me going in the morning and gives a very invigorating clean feel. The body lotion absorbs quickly and keeps my skin from getting dry during the day.
If a guy wanted to buy just the basics, what would you recommend to him?
Facial moisturizer, moisturizing body wash and facial cleanser.
Do your wives steal any of the products for themselves?
CHRIS: This is an ongoing debate in my house. My facial cleanser and my body wash magically disappear. She actually gets offended if I take the cleanser away from her side of the bathroom!
Do you see any trends in men’s grooming or something on the horizon?
KARLOS: The industry itself is trendy, but I think it’s here to stay. Men are really starting to care about how their skin looks and it’s a healthy lifestyle- we are promoting a very natural way of taking care of one’s body and appearance. It really is about a well-groomed life.
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