When we set out to create Prep U, a core component of our mission was to create a brand that was age-appropriate for boys 8 - 15 years old. We wanted Prep U to be a celebration of boyhood, to bolster confidence at this important time and help boys establish good hygiene practices that will follow them into adulthood.
From the brand to the fragrance, it was critical to us that the Prep U product line fit the emotional and physiological needs of boys in this transitional age range. It needed to look cool enough for boys to feel confident about using it and take it with them in their gym bag. It also needed to look appropriate and use natural ingredients for mom and dad to feel comfortable buying it. And, maybe most importantly, the brand values and brand message needed to be respectful of the maturity – or lack thereof – of these boys to ensure it is exemplifying the behaviors we want to see in this next generation of men.
Too many personal care products for men equate good personal care and hygiene with increased sexual attractiveness. We can debate the appropriateness of this for men in another venue, but it was and is crystal clear to us that this was not the school of thought we wanted to raise our sons in. At 9,12,15 years old the last thing we want boys to worry about is whether or not they have raw animal magnetism. This line in the sand seemed obvious.
The age-appropriateness of our brand and products has also become more important in the last few months with the rise of the Me Too movement. Reading article after article on the over sexualization of boys (and girls) and the dangers of toxic masculinity, it is apparent that a shift is needed across the board in how relationships and attraction are presented. Especially for a generation growing up faster than ever before. And while deodorant or body spray isn’t going to change the course of culture, we do believe – strongly – that the need for age-appropriate products and brands is more urgent than ever.
We want boys to feel confident, bold and playful. We want to help them build self-esteem through good hygiene and enhance their sense of independence by giving them their own product line. What we don’t want is for another generation of boys to grow up thinking that personal care is a means to increased sexual attractiveness, because it is fundamentally inappropriate at this age for them to be thinking about sexual attractiveness in the first place. While kids are approaching puberty younger now, it's critical to remember that while they may be reaching physical adulthood earlier, their mental age and maturity are still all boy.
Let’s keep it that way.