Mike McRae & Tom Tappin
BCom/LLB & BSc/LLB, 2017
Co-Founders of Two Dudes
Tell us how Two Dudes came about
Tom - “While we were living and working together in our humid apartment in Singapore a few years ago, 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 and haircare 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.”
Mike –“Two Dudes is a New Zealand men’s bathroom brand that aims to better the life of every dude. We started with premium, yet simple, skincare products and have now launched further in to the bathroom with a shower range.”
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. We partner 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.”
Mike - “We decided that premium bathroom products for men should be more accessible, and uncomplicated. That's why we initially developed curated skincare routines for men. We knew if we could simplify a complicated category then we could solve a real issue for our dudes. We created premium products with natural ingredients that are great for your face, hair and body. We made sure while developing them that they are simple to buy, easy to understand, and even easier to use.”
When you launched you were still working other jobs, are you now full time at Two Dudes?
Mike – “We sure are which is exciting. We launched Two Dudes in November 2020 and by July 2021 we were both thinking “this is growing and if we’re genuinely serious about this we need to commit full time.” So we left our jobs and went full time.”
Tom – “It’s a lot of fun. Being able to wake up each day and get to work on Two Dudes is both awesome and scary at the same time. It’s awesome because you’re building your own company from scratch which is energising and teaches us a lot. It’s nerve-wracking though because we’ve jumped off the safe corporate ladder to try and build New Zealand’s best men’s bathroom brand.”
Mike – “Being nervous is a good thing though. If we aren’t nervous each day it probably means we aren’t doing this for the right reasons.”
We hear you recently had some success at the 2022 Men’s Product Awards?
Tom – “We did! Two Dudes won Best New Brand, Best Social Enterprise, and Best Moisturiser. Mike and I always knew we had good products so it’s good to see the men’s grooming industry experts think the same.”
Mike – “Our Night Cream was also awarded 3rd best product overall and Weekly Face Scrub came in 5th. It’s a great result for both us and the dudes using our products because we haven’t been around long and here we are on the big stage being told we have some of the best products in the country.”
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 helping us launch Two Dudes. What I did at UC gave me a solid foundation to understand 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 centred 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 the leading men’s bathroom brand in New Zealand. We want to positively impact every dude's life, so strengthening and growing our charity 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 a short time. 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.
Read the latest from UC’s Business School here.