1908 was a time when shaving was as much a social event as it was a grooming ritual. The barbershop was the place to meet up with friends and acquaintances, and the barber was the host. A trip to the barbershop provided far more than just a clean shave. It was the busiest establishment in town. A meeting place. An old-fashioned man-cave.
In the iconic Italian town of Florence, a small cosmetics company is born. Founded by Ludovico Martelli, as was the company’s name, it began distributing perfumery products.
As the business grew, Ludovico’s dream was realised – to produce products under the label of his own name.
In the early 1930’s Ludovico’s son Piero took control of the company, and the Martelli’s first original brand Frabelia Beauty Cream was launched. The Frabelia skincare assortment became popular quickly, motivating a natural transition from fragrance to grooming, and the production of the first Proraso product and the Proraso or “pro-shave” brand.
Proraso’s ‘Crema Miracolosa’
In 1948, at the height of the boom following the second world war, Piero invented a pre and post shave cream – the Proraso Crema Miracolosa – “Miracle Cream”.
Used before a shave to soften the beard and after a shave to soothe the skin, we know this miracle cream today as Proraso’s Refresh Pre-Shave Cream. Like any good Italian recipe, the formula of the pre-shave cream is a tightly guarded family secret, passed down from generation to generation.
Ode to the Italian Flag
By 1948 Proraso was an officially registered brand, and in the 1950’s off the back of the success of the ‘miracle cream’, the Martelli’s began to expand the Proraso product range into a complete range of wet shaving products and formulas.
The Proraso Signature Lines of Green, White, and Red products were an ode to the Italian flag, and were later followed by production of the blue line. These lines are today known as Proraso’s Classic Range of Refresh, Sensitive, Nourish, and Protect.
Initially developed for professional use in barber shops, Proraso’s innovative product lines were first embraced by Italian barbers and then by an ever-growing number of home shavers.
In the steps of his Forefathers
In 1968, at the age of 24, the grandson of the founder, also named Ludovico Martelli, succeeded his father Piero in guiding the company. In the years that followed, he both grew and consolidated the product offering created by his forefathers.
Following the success of the signature green, white, red, and blue lines of products, a professional range of shave products were developed specifically for the barber to use in the traditional single blade shave ritual.
Proraso were now positioned to offer a comprehensive range of professional products (Single-Blade), for use in the barber shop to create that old fashioned sensorial experience, and a range of take-home products (Signature Lines), perfect for clients to maintain their shave until their next appointment.
Fast forward to today.
The company is run by the fourth generation of the Martelli family, and the company mission remains the same: to create professional, quality products that deliver a pleasurable and impeccable shave in the barbershop and at home.
“Proraso has always been widely regarded as the barber’s ultimate companion. Proraso has always supported and appreciated the culture of the barbershop, the value of a style, the expression of an art” – Stefania Martelli, Chair & President Ludovico Martelli S.P.A.
Stefania elaborates. “We have been working with barbers for 70 years now, so we consider the barbershops to be our training ground and starting point. We propose, we listen, we discuss with the barbers what’s best and what can help them best do their job, and always exceed their expectations”.
“We have been making shaving products for 70 years and we know what is essential to a perfect shave. We select only the highest quality ingredients and we take our time to perfect the production process”. Stefania concludes.
The Proraso Experience
A traditional barber shop shave, using a hot towel treatment, a single blade, and Proraso shaving products, offers a luxurious pampering experience to the Barber’s client.
Proraso products leave the skin and beard feeling soft, moisturised and refreshed, without razor burn or, red and irritated skin. The client leaves the barber shop looking and feeling ‘a million bucks’.
Proraso in Australia
Berman Trading is the authorised distributor of Proraso products in Australia.
The founder of Berman Trading, Umberto Manco, born in Parma Italy, had a passion for Proraso products and a vision to provide the ‘Proraso Experience’ to the Australian market.
Berman Trading was founded in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, and is now located in Somersby on the NSW Central Coast. Quite fittingly, Berman Trading is also a family owned and operated company, now in its 3rd generation, and of Italian descent.
Berman Trading’s vision and objective is to provide products that create a unique and luxurious experience, along with efficient and personalised customer service.
Berman Trading – Berman Trading
Signor Gino – Proraso’s original brand advocate
Signor Gino is now an iconic representation of the Proraso brand, part of Proraso’s communications in the 50’s, Gino still features on some Proraso packaging. His smile is a reminder of the pleasure experienced when using Proraso products.