Mike McRae & Tom Tappin
BCom/LLB & BSc/LLB, 2017
Co-Founders of Two Dudes
You met while studying law at UC, and ended up living and working together in Singapore, how did that come about?
Mike - “We did! We really enjoyed our time at law school. Funnily enough we both ended up turning down our graduate law firm roles to join the same FMCG multi-national. We then both went on secondment to Singapore in 2018 and ended up living together, which was an awesome experience. Singapore is a great place.”
Tom - “It was good because we were both there for different assignments. Working in an unfamiliar place, but with a familiar face. I was tasked with rolling out a B2B E-Commerce platform throughout Singapore, and Michael was there launching export brands into developing markets. Very different roles, but a great extension of what we learnt at UC and super applicable to what we’ve both ended up doing now.”
You are both back in NZ now, what are you doing for work now?
Tom - “We are both still with the same multinational FMCG, based in Auckland. Michael is working managing some iconic NZ brands, and I am in charge of their global export business and rolling out a B2B E-Commerce platform throughout NZ.”
You’ve also recently started a business together, tell us about two dudes.
Mike - “We have indeed! We launched Two Dudes in November 2020. Two Dudes is a New Zealand men’s wellness brand that aims to better the life of every dude. We have started with premium, yet simple, skincare products.”
Tom - “While we were living and working together in our humid apartment in Singapore, the idea of Two Dudes was born. We discovered that guys had a strong desire to take better care of themselves. Men often knew that skincare was important, but typically found it a confusing category to navigate. Because of this they either didn't bother with it, or had a few products that they used randomly. We both finished our assignments in Singapore at the end of 2018. After that, the research began.”
Mike - “We decided that premium skincare for men should be more accessible, and uncomplicated. That's why we developed curated skincare routines for men. We have created premium products with natural ingredients that are great for your skin. We made sure while developing them that they are simple to buy, easy to understand, and even easier to use.”
Tom - “We have always believed it's important to look after yourself, your mates, and other dudes. That's why Two Dudes partners with men's health organisations and donates profit from each sale. To begin, we have partnered with New Zealand Men’s Health Trust who we think are doing incredible work for men all over the country. Our idea is that by choosing to use Two Dudes products, guys will be able to make a genuine impact on men's health, and their own, just by going about their daily lives.”
How do you think your time at UC has shaped where you are today?
Mike - “I did a double degree in Law and Commerce (Finance) and learned a lot both in and out of my lectures. In Finance I took a particular interest in the corporate finance and financial modelling side, and in law I really enjoyed the more commercial papers. They have definitely played a large role in where I am today and the passion I have for launching and managing brands, and understanding the wider commercial business implications of the decisions you make.”
Tom – “We were both heavily involved in university life outside of the lecture theatres too. We were both on the Students Association (UCSA) at different times, and both got great satisfaction launching events and initiatives that are largely still around today! Like Mike, I loved my time at Law School, and equally my Psychology degree instilled in me the passion for wanting to understand what makes people tick. For Two Dudes, this is centered around what makes dudes choose our products over someone else's, or what actions can we take that truly impact dudes' perceptions around men’s health.”
What’s on the cards for the next 5 years?
Tom - “We would love Two Dudes to become a leading men’s wellness brand in New Zealand. We have started with skincare, but we would love to see what other aspects of a dude’s daily life we can impact, and their wider hauora in general. We want to positively impact every dude's life, so strengthening and growing our partnerships to create this impact is pivotal.”
Mike - “Right now we are really enjoying bringing a concept and brand to market that has really resonated with dudes everywhere within only a few months of launch. We have had traction with a lot of people, social media channels and media publications talking about us like Newshub and Kia Ora magazine. Excited to see where it goes!”
Tom and Mike have kindly offered a 10% off discount code for all UC Alumni. You can use ALUMNI10 at check out on the Two Dudes website at www.twodudesproject.com or on social @twodudesproject.