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Waxing Lyrical

Fish Soho | Waxing Lyrical

Fish client Johnny Vaughan flying
the flag for Fish back in the day

The first hairstyling product to come out of the Fish salon in Soho was our infamous hair wax and here is how it came about…

lt was the late ‘80s and fluffy, flyaway hair was no longer on trend, but slick and shiny structured hair was. The only waxes on the market at the time to achieve this look were old school petroleum-based pomades which were greasy due to their heavy oil content. This made them difficult to wash out, meant that they lacked hold and worst of all, encouraged skin problems such as the dreaded acne.

As a barber who saw a gap in the market, I (Paul Burfoot) came up with an idea… it wasn’t going to change the world, but it would improve a hair product that had been around for centuries. Working with a small independent manufacturer, I came up with a styling wax which would provide hold, shine and most importantly, wash out of the hair easily. I tested the first batch in the salon (not on animals) and bingo it was a winner, the clients loved it.

The first run came off the line in 1989, a small batch of 500. I was operating on a shoestring at the time – it was all very ‘cottage industry’ – so I went to the factory to pick them up on the bus and labelled up the crudely designed pots in the basement of the Fish salon in Soho.

Fish Soho Wax - 1989
The first ever Fish wax circa 1989

It began selling like hotcakes out of the Fish salon, which is when my distribution strategy ensued – this involved driving around London on my Vespa selling to other small outlets. A PR campaign followed from my kitchen table, sending samples to the media and major stockists. Thankfully, it worked, and a year later it was selling out in Boots.

The popularity of the wax spawned a whole range of styling products, still using the same method of creating and testing in our little old shop in Soho. Now, in 2018, we’re supplying the range worldwide to major stockists.

Thankfully, this means I no longer have to get the bus to the factory, as we now have a lorry.

Category(s): Tackle Life