Grigore Madikians, founder of Gaffer&Child, is one of the most passionate members of the Erewhon community! We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him and learning about how his company came into being.
EREWHON: Where does the name of your company come from?
GRIGORE: A Gaffer is a mentor. I was inspired by my first introduction to skincare, which was initially taught to me (the child) by my grandfather (the gaffer). Most people are introduced to skincare by someone they look up to… whoever their gaffer/mentor may be… mom, dad, older brother, grandmother, etc.
EREWHON: So true! Can you tell us about the beginnings of Gaffer&Child? Why did you start the business?
GRIGORE: As with many businesses, Gaffer&Child started because I wanted to address a need I saw in the world. I first began blending my own products because I’d been using strong prescription skin care products at the time. I started to actively pursue a more holistic and sustainable lifestyle.
At a certain point, things didn’t add up. I grew concerned about prolonged exposure to chemicals I couldn’t pronounce and I wanted to use products that reflected my values of caring for the environment and my body. I wanted products that were nourishing, effective, and vegan. I wanted to find a company that supported my whole health—from the ingredients that would be absorbed by my skin to the local businesses that make up my community.
While there has been an increase in vegan and organic skincare options, my laundry list of desires was unattainable at that time. Who could I expect to serve my needs and values better than myself? But I also trusted that I wasn’t alone in this mission. And through starting this business, I’ve had the opportunity to meet countless people who share that vision and have made this endeavor possible.
EREWHON: Now that we know the meaning of our company name, who inspired you growing up?
GRIGORE: Gaffer&Child was inspired by my first experience with skincare and morning regimen: watching my grandfather get ready each day.
Many who knew my grandfather know he was an early riser with a strong routine. He showered, shampooed, and washed his face with Irish Spring bar soap. He was always clean-shaven with the aid of Barbasol, and applied Old Spice aftershave to complete the job. He finished his routine by combing his trusty Brylcreem through his hair every morning with a fine-tooth comb.
This memory has served as an inspiration for the line. In addition to meeting my own goals of sustainability, I wanted to create a line of daily essentials that could be shared between partners and generations. I was inspired to create a new tradition that would get people involved in our mission and bring them together at home.
When people use our products every morning, they’ve committed to being more conscious and considerate, and they’re contributing to our humanitarian efforts—even if that’s not the initial reason they bought the product. Since the beginning, I wanted to start a business that was responsible and helped create a world we’d like to see for our children. Being active in our communities is an important part of Gaffer&Child’s mission because it represents a lifestyle of caring about ourselves as well as the world around us.
What does the Erewhon community mean to you?
We started the Gaffer&Child journey at our local Venice farmer’s markets. We were out there sharing our products with the community and meeting our customers in person, the same way we do today. There was a gentleman on a bike that would come by our stand every weekend and spend hours with us. We’d talk, exchange values and philosophies; he would touch and feel the product line, talk to me about our plans as a business, and he eventually encouraged me to submit the line to the local Erewhon market. This lasted about a month: I kept nodding my head in agreement that we should pursue wholesale opportunities, but I was hesitant as it felt so intimidating. In time we submitted, and much to our surprise the line was embraced warmly.
With the on-boarding at Erewhon things changed dramatically as a business, and for myself as an entrepreneur. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to be at Erewhon. Erewhon has given us many experiences we otherwise wouldn’t have had, such as an enriching support network of other creators and entrepreneurs. Being part of the Erewhon family has allowed us to join the community of creation, collaboration, and like-minded inspiration; which allows us in turn to continue our mission of providing safe products for our customers.
We truly cherish the people in our lives: everyone from the vendors, buyers, and knowledgeable staff at Erewhon to the gentleman on the bike that I see from time to time at our local Erewhon market. We have crossed paths with real people who have affected our lives for the better, and it is our pride and joy to call Erewhon our home. Erewhon has contributed to some of the happiest moments in our lives, and it is our hope that we can do the same in return.