Rivalry aside, UT alumnus Paul Looney and Texas A&M grad Paul Strong say they’re revolutionizing the world of men’s shaving.
While traveling to New Orleans with his wife 10 years ago, Looney substituted hair conditioner for his forgotten shaving cream. His shave was incredible.
“I approached a chemist and said ‘I’d like to develop a shaving cream based on this conditioner. It’s the best thing I’ve ever used,’” Looney says.
Now, 10 years and many thousands of dollars later, Looney has teamed up with his lifelong best friend (and A&M alum) Paul Strong to create J. Paul: a skincare line dedicated to men’s shaving needs. While women have many options for skin and shave care, the men’s market is sparse, Looney says. He realized there was a hole in the market and that he could be the man to fill it.
Looney and Strong both have what Looney calls “tough beards and sensitive skin,” which is exactly what J. Paul is branded for.
“Both my partner and I had struggled a lot with shaving,” Looney says. ”I have a really tough beard. I can easily shave twice a day.”
Though Strong and Looney have history and beards in common, they do have one fundamental difference: their alma maters. Looney says that while there is competition between the two, it is always good-natured.
“We just egg each other on all the time,” Looney says. “It’s fun to tease each other about it.”
The two even survived sitting together at football games. Though Looney says they wanted to “punch each other out” the whole time, their relationship remained solid enough that when Looney returned to Houston four years after his revelation in New Orleans, working with Strong was a natural choice.
J.Paul, now carried in 50 stores across thirteen states, has grown immensely since its first sale in 2010. In August, Nordstrom began carrying the J.Paul line on their website. For Looney, this is the first step to achieving his dreams for the company: “Macy’s and Bloomies.”
Looney claims that he never wanted J. Paul to be like other men’s skin care lines. While other companies are trying to push products, Looney is devoted to J. Paul because it is created for the everyday guy by two men who consider themselves everyday guys.
“There is a method to our madness,” Looney says. “We want [J.Paul] to be able to stand the test of time.”
Photo courtesy J. Paul