Thanks for joining us for another interview as part of our "Luna & Friends" series - where we put the spotlight on some of our favorite artists, makers and businesses and get to know them a little better. Today, we're excited to kick things off by introducing our good friend Ramsey Chahal, who crafts exceptional apothecary goods over at Trade Union Supply Co.
Hey Ramsey! We're so delighted to have you. Could you begin by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got started?
Thank you so much for having me. I love the work that you do and am grateful and humbled for the opportunity to share with you a bit about myself and Trade Union Supply. So, I live in Charlotte, NC where I run Trade Union Supply but I grew up on a beautiful island in the Caribbean, called Curaçao. It’s the bigger, more charming, yet lesser known neighbor of Aruba. I moved around a bit, to say the least, from Curaçao to a town near Amsterdam, Netherlands, where I spent a few years, then Miami, FL for 10 years before moving to Charlotte, NC in 2015 with my wife Violet, where we now call home. In late 2013- early 2014 I started growing my beard and quickly discovered the world of natural beard care and maintenance that was fiercely emerging at the time. After nearly a year of research, trial and error, and genuine love for the craft, I launched Trade Union Supply in late 2014.
What initially drew you to brewing your own grooming products? What was the first product you made?
I remember trying beard oil for the first time and all it took was one application for me to get completely hooked, so I started to research different brands and started a small collection of beard oils. Soon enough, I started blending my own at home for personal use and for friends. That’s when I knew I caught the bug and started to think about it more seriously as a business opportunity fueled by relentless curiosity and passion, as opposed to just a crafty hobby.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I think inspiration comes in many different forms for me. There definitely isn’t one single source. It can come from external influences, like other creators/brewers in our industry doing great things and pushing the envelope, or from immersive conversations with our barber friends/partners and the amazing work they do, but inspiration brews from within as well - which would often be our own drive and passion for creating beautiful, high quality products we are proud to share with other people. Our commitment is threefold: to our customers who appreciate and want something different, to our barber and salon partners who want consistency, performance, and a brand with strong values, and finally to the planet as we constantly look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
Could you tell us about the ingredients and intentionality behind your products?
From day one, we knew what kind of business we wanted to build. One that would commit to quality through and through, so for us that means living and breathing a set of core values that guide us every day.
#1. BETTER GROOMING MEANS BETTER INGREDIENTS. We believe what you put in is what you get out. That’s why we only use natural and plant-based waxes, oils and butters in our apothecary goods to enhance, complement and enrich your hair and skin.
#2. SEE, FEEL AND TOUCH QUALITY. Quality and conviction are the heartbeat of our business. From the clean ingredients we source to the products we make, every facet of our brand reflects a deliberate decision focused on delivering plant-powered goods that help you flourish.
#3. MADE BY US FOR YOU. All of our goods are hand-poured and hand-packaged in small
batches from our lab in Charlotte, N.C. Always made by us, in-house. #4. SUSTAINABILITY FIRST, PRESERVATION ALWAYS. We use a sustainable, eco-friendly process to make our goods. Constantly improving our process and evaluating our supply chain to reduce our carbon footprint.
Tell us about some of the products you make.
Our line of apothecary goods range from hair styling to skincare. Our entire line is made with plant based ingredients. No harsh chemical fillers. No shortcuts. No animal ingredients or testing. Only mindful ingredients for deliberate results.
What's your best seller / most popular item?
Our most popular products are our core hair stylers, like Texture Clay, Styling Cream, Plant Based Paste, and our prestylers like the Hair Milk and the Texture Spray. The all time best seller is our Texture Clay. It’s a lightweight hair clay formulated for textured styles with a pliable, all day hold. And it smells like nothing else out there, earthy, yet light and floral, with notes of Amber, Lavender, Rosemary, and Cedarwood.
Tell us about your workspace.
We run our business and lab out of our home in Charlotte, NC. We recently grew out of our townhome and moved into a single family home with a two car garage which we have remodeled and converted into a functional lab space where we make, fill, package, and ship each order from.
Any exciting plans for the future?
We have been fortunate enough to make it through a difficult year and feel we’re in a good position to keep growing. Demand is high and we are barely keeping up. We do have exciting things planned, some near term and some long term and we’ll be sharing them on social media when the time comes but we’ll be dropping a new hair styler very soon and we’re super stoked about it. We’ve been working on it for a long time!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks again for having me and giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about Trade Union Supply and what we do. We’re big fans of your work and we hope to see you guys in person soon.
Lastly, we've partnered with Trade Union Supply to offer an exclusive discount to our subscribers. Just head over to their website and enter "LUNA15" to take 15% off your purchase!