It started with three young men growing up in the Santa Ana suburbs. Pete Adame used other pomades like Cool Grease, but thought they were too expensive. He wanted to create his own pomade product and give it away to his friends so they don’t have to buy pomades.
With the help of neighborhood friend J-Bird, Adame purchased five-gallon Home Depot buckets and experimented with a new formula. Initially, they gave away their homemade pomade in Ziploc bags and Tupperware containers to their friends. As a result, their buddies loved the product because it wasn’t sticky. When Southern California barbers noticed the pomade’s unique scent from their clients’ hair, J-Bird realized the pomade’s potential as a business opportunity. It wasn’t easy for Adame, because he wanted to keep the pomade exclusive; however, Pete’s brother, Tony, joined and the three Santa Ana natives built Suavecito, an international pomade enterprise.
They have Australian, Malaysian and European distributors who work and have their own local distributors to sell in their country. Target and Walmart are two large corporations who reached out to Suavecito, but the brand wants to pace themselves.
“Once you get into that level, it’s pretty much out of your hands,” said Suavecito Sales Manager Rudy Cordova.
The Suavecito name grew from their friend’s mother who said they “were looking all suavecito” as they left her house one day. The intent was never to start a business, but their products’ demands grew and the people wanted more. When the great recession hit the U.S., Pete was working as a machinist and lost his job while investing up to $1,000 for their pomade production. Pete and J-Bird were planning to open a restaurant with their pomade earnings, but sold out 4,000 cans immediately.
On average day, Suavecito organizes about 150 shipments, with nearly 300 during holiday seasons. One of their biggest clientele is EU-Distributors.
“Instead of us sending to 100 shops throughout Europe, Italy, Spain and New England, we sell a truckload or a semi-load to one account, and they do what we do here in the U.S. in Europe,” Cordova said.
The furthest shipment was launched to outer space on July 6, 2016. “There is a Youtube video of pomade and a girl’s lipstick on a rocket, and we sent it to space,” Cordova said.
The Adame brothers and J-Bird opened the Suavecito business store on First and Fairview Street, which sells a variety of pomades, shirts, combs, and hats. They also manage a warehouse with over 40 employees and numerous of shipping vehicles to distribute the company’s merchandise.
Hair salons, beauty stores and barbershops largely carry Suavecito, becoming large advertisers for the company. Barbershops are one of their big supporters to help expand the growth of Suavecito.
“We have 100 shops per city and they all carry Suavecito. We sell to them and they sell to the public,” Cordova said.
Wise Guys, a barber shop in Garden Grove, has manager Carlos Garcia, 29, on board selling Suavecito and bringing in new clients. “I do feel it will attract clients if we carry the product, for the reason being that it’s affordable and a good product,” Garcia said.
“It’s a good product, easy to apply and smells good. The price is good, especially, with this economy, so they can get a good product for a good price,” said Vero Sanchez, owner of Wendy’s Beauty Salon in Santa Ana.
“I think it’s pretty amazing. I think it one of the best success story that has come out of Santa Ana for like a really long time, like in the last decade. It’s something really cool,” said SAC freshman Alejandro Calderon.