These days, smaller and local is better, and grooming lines are starting to follow that whole ethos. One such company is Portland General Store, which was founded by Lisa Brodar and Troy Tyler in 2007, and produces all-natural, small-batch products in Portland, Maine. Here they discuss how they came up with the idea for Portland General Store and what products you should try.
How did Portland General Store come about?
We moved from New York to Maine and brought a fresh approach from outside the cosmetics industry and began crafting products, by hand, in small batches. We drew inspiration from vintage, all-natural recipes and an interest in sustainable living. We use only the highest quality all-natural ingredients, and support our local Maine farmers and artisans by sourcing locally whenever possible.
Why is it so important to you that everything is all natural and hand crafted?
As much as we think it is important what a person consumes, what we put on our skin is equally important as ingredients are absorbed into the body. We also believe less is more — bathing less and bathing well. Use a more natural, sometimes more expensive product, but don’t use it as often. One will notice, when using ingredients derived from nature like Portland General Store products, that their skin and hair become more balanced — they don’t need to wash as often or use products with detergent in them. Harsher products act like a drug, depleting the skin and hair of its natural oil releasing capabilities, for example, until one is craving “the drug” to feel clean, and then they cycle starts all over again. We also don’t believe in harming nature or animals, and most of our products are vegan and grown sustainably.
Where do you source the ingredients for your products?
We source ingredients from all over the world. While the idea of only using ingredients from Maine is interesting to us, and would provide a fun challenge, we do believe in utilizing what is available if it means the highest quality ingredient(s) come from afar. That said, we are more and more sourcing locally when possible — our bottles are etched by a local artisan, our dopp kits are produced by a local bag maker. We also have plans to grow many plants, including medicinal, and raise honeybees this spring, and may have some limited quantity products made of completely local ingredients available in the future!
Some of your products seem to be inspired by items you wouldn’t normally connect to grooming lines, like whiskey, tobacco, and cigar boxes. Where do you find inspiration for your products?
Our first scent ever was named “Whiskey”, as the process was very much like making small batch whiskey, and the scent turned out to be complex and spicy like a whiskey. As our line is made from simple ingredients and made in America, we loved the idea of using straight forward, all American and masculine names for the products. Being the leading all-natural skincare line for men and not knowing if men would catch on, we felt that the names and packaging had to be manly and beautiful. We use wine quality paper labels and amber glass bottles.
Describe the guy who uses Portland General Store’s products.
He cares about grooming, fashion, probably lives in a city and has or dreams of having a cabin, homestead, or farm. He’s a CSA member and supports local farmer’s. He spends money on higher quality goods, products made by hand or made in America. He is a well made man.
What are the best selling products and why?
Whiskey Aftershave Splash is one of our first, and to this day, best selling product. It smells good, looks good, and feels good. And it is a great value.
If someone wanted to try out the Portland General Store line, what do you suggest?
To be the true PGS Man:
Whiskey Shaving Puck & Mug for the traditionalist
Racer Shave Cream or Alpine Jelly for the quick shaver
Whiskey Aftershave Splash
Wood Hand Cream
For more information, visit portlandgeneralstore.com. Order $40 or more at and shipping is free with code FREESHIP!