Philip Williams, founder and CEO of Game Face Products, said he is “creating beauty for the beast.”
Even more interesting than his catchphrase is the fact that his East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania-based skin care company is formulating, manufacturing, storing and shipping Game Face Grooming products all from — you guessed it — New Jersey.
“I haven’t had many challenges with running my business in Pennsylvania (from) New Jersey,” Williams said.
Williams’ quest to create performance-based skin care products began after the New Jersey Nets decided to move to Brooklyn.
“I was working as the senior vice president of sponsorship, sales and marketing,” Williams said, “And when (the team) decided to move to Brooklyn, my wife and I were not going to relocate.”
Williams therefore began working as a consultant to help bring international brands — such as what is now known as Simple Skincare — to the U.S.
“It was at that time that my daughter was playing competitive basketball,” Williams said. “I was at a basketball tournament seeing young men come off of the court with sweaty and acne-prone skin.
“These kids were playing up to four games a day, which led me to think: What if we created a line of athletic, disposable face and body wipes for these guys?”
Philip Williams, founder and CEO of Game Face Products, said the company’s growing line of skin care and grooming products will ultimately be for everyone.
“Active teens and tweens will be our biggest area of growth, I believe, because we want to them to make (our products) part of their lifestyle as early adopters,” he said. “And, we have a women’s line in development, but we want to make sure we first talk to (women) in order to properly differentiate ourselves from their current cleansing and makeup removal routines, perhaps by providing hydrating and energizing solutions that are also great for their skin.”
Williams began conducting research and focus groups, in which he found that most men were using their wives’ cleansing wipes or baby wipes for perspiration purposes.
“So, we worked with a (company) in Edison to create proprietary skin care formulations for wipes,” Williams said, adding that all Game Face Grooming products use more than 95 percent natural ingredients. “After we had some samples made, retailers began to want our brand. Now, we actually had to manufacture the products.”
Williams said that his company required a manufacturer that would be able to assemble 100-percent biodegradable disposable wipes that were unique in size at 11×7 – larger than most, if not all, wipes on the market.
“Also, I wasn’t looking to have our products manufactured in a foreign country to save costs,” Williams said. “I thought it was important that we manufacture and formulate everything stateside.”
After negative experiences with two other manufacturers, one on Long Island and one in California, Williams was referred by an industry colleague to a manufacturer in Clifton that met all of his requirements.
“I met with their team and we were able to come to terms to meet our manufacturing needs,” he said.
It was just in time. Williams had recently pitched Game Face Grooming products at Walmart’s annual open call for U.S. products at the company’s global headquarters in Arkansas, landing a deal to sell in more than 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide.
“It was quite a journey to find a contract manufacturer,” Williams said. “So, when we stumbled upon (one) in New Jersey, it was a welcomed opportunity.”
Game Face Products also has its warehouses in North Brunswick, which Williams said saves on shipping costs to retailers.
“They also have a technically advanced online system that allows us to see in real time what products are being packed and shipped,” he added.
The Game Face Grooming brand rolled out in January, and products now include face and body cleansing sponges for less than $6, a 25-pack of deodorizing, cleansing, cooling, acne-fighting or antibacterial facial and body wipes for $8 each, and subscription-based plans in which consumers can get two packs of body wipes for $10 or three packs for $15.
“Our goal is to get to at least $1 million in sales this year, and double our retail and online sales by 2018,” Williams said.
Even with just four key employees, the company plans to rapidly expand.
“We are looking to go into multiple retail channels, such as automotive, home improvement, college bookstores, sporting goods retailers and more, in order to hit all the touchpoints of distribution where men might need our product,” Williams said. “We are going to have to meet a lot of anticipated demand across all of these different channels, and I can’t rely on just one manufacturer to do that.
“Ultimately, my goal would be to have two or three manufacturers that we work with to streamline production and reduce costs.”
Despite the existence of such companies in the state of Pennsylvania, Williams said he has not yet found the right partner there.
Which means, perhaps, that Game Face Products will stick with New Jersey in its continued search for more manufacturers.