• SumoMe

You may have heard of The Motley from either my review of their great product Buckler’s Chapped Skin Remedy, or as the company responsible for the Men of Distinction series. Regardless of how you know the company, you know that The Motley has a serious passion for quality and care in their products. Interested to learn more about the company and it’s co-founder, I reached out to Matt Ruggieri and had a few questions for him.

Electrogent: Introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know who you are or what The Motley is.

Matt: My name is Matthew Taylor Ruggieri and I’m the founder of The Motley (www.themotley.com), which is a place that provides men, like myself, to discover superior shaving, skin care, hair products and the like. I care so much about quality in so many other parts of my life that I hate being let down by the products that I use daily.

E: What inspired you to create The Motley?

M: As men, it’s assumed that we already know everything about grooming; like knowing how to shave – everyone assumes that it is instinctual or your dad teaches you. Most guys that I talk to say that neither was the case for them. That realization made me decide to start trying every grooming product that I could get my hands on.

E: Where do you see The Motley going in 5 years?

Matt Ruggieri, co-founder of The Motley online grooming shop.

M: We started out of an empty room at my parents house in April 2010. Soon after, we moved into a loft in Downtown Los Angeles. In 5 years, we hope to be the number one men’s grooming retailer (ambitious, right?) online, which will come with having a larger team to work with and a larger selection of products. Being able to employ more creative and knowledgable people is my goal.

E: How do you determine whether to sell someone’s product in your store?

M: We test all of the products that we carry in the store for at least two weeks (usually much longer). Along with testing, we believe in high quality ingredients and a commitment to sustainable manufacturing. We have over two dozen products being tested right now to decide on by January.

E: If you weren’t running The Motley, what would you be doing (for a living)?

M: My not-so-secret secret is that I’m also a filmmaker. I’m a storyteller at heart, so I work in the music industry producing documentaries. I just wrapped a couple of months of working on this new album of Bob Dylan covers in support of Amnesty International that I’m really, really excited about.

E: What do you do to escape your work?

M: This makes me sound lame, but film is a great hobby of mine. I love producing and watching films (check out our Men of Distinction campaign). I told my team that I was going to fly to New York to shoot this campaign idea I had – and I did. That and traveling — I love traveling.

E: Did you ever imagine that you would do what you do now?

M: If you asked me what I’d be doing five years ago, I would have told you that I was going to be directing music videos. In fact, my degree is from USC School of Cinematic Arts.

E: Do you ever have days where you doubt whether you are following the right path in life? If so, what gets you out of your rut? If not, what continues to give you confidence?

M: If someone running a start-up told me that they never doubt whether they are following the right path in life, I’d say that they’re telling a lie. I’ve been keeping a journal since 2007 and I write everything down. That reminds me of how lucky I am for being able to do what I do on a daily basis.

E: How did you find your staff members?

M: My sister, Madison, started the company with me back in 2010. One of my best friends from high school, Ali, now handles all of our finances. Our friend Judy is the newest to our staff, but she was one of the very first people that I ran the idea by when I first came up with the concept.

E: If someone wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?

The Motley provides customers with unparalleled customer service.

M: The Motley grew out of a thought that I woke up to in the middle of the night and then I started doing an immense amount of research. I e-mailed people and talked to them. The first thing that I learned was that people are accessible. Get in contact with them.

E: What’s your personal favorite product that you sell?

M: Urth Skincare’s HydraTherapy. Hands down. I use it nightly.

E: You’re based in LA, so you must have an all-time favorite movie?

M: Harold and Maude, Paper Moon, Days of Heaven and Into the Wild are four favorites. I can’t pick a single one.

E: If you could have any celebrity as a client, who would it be?

M: Ryan Gosling comes across as immaculately groomed. He makes grooming seem cooler, so I hope that one day he’ll shop with us.

E: Any guilty pleasures?

M: Drinking coffee, reading Hemingway or Kerouac and listening to Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on a Friday night while I can hear the rest of the city bustling down below.

E: Is there anywhere else you’d like to work?

M: I’d really like The Motley to have an office in Berlin. Other than that, I’m pretty content.


I’d like to thank Matt for both supporting Electrogent and sparing some of his time to talk to me. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in high quality grooming go check out The Motley. Even if you don’t know much about it, you can learn more by using their problem/solution feature.

What do you want to know about running a start-up online grooming shop? Ask Matt in the comments below.