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From Crypto Castles to the MadeMan Mansion—Jeremy Gardner's New Skincare Start-Up Shakes Up the Game

Alexandra Sharova | August 28, 2020 | People Feature Culture Feature Lifestyle Feature

Nothing says “old money” quite like a mansion in Beverly Hills. However, one step inside Jeremy Gardner’s seven-bedroom “MadeMansion” and a far different atmosphere reigns over the space. Brimming with ambitious, young entrepreneurs and creatives, it gives the air of a high-end startup community—which, in essence, it is. The mansion is not only a home for Gardner, but also houses his soon-to-launch company, MadeMan, a handful of his team members, and a rotating cast of the brand’s influencers and ambassadors. It’s the living, breathing manifestation of his unorthodox style of entrepreneurship— where whiteboard sessions take place against the backdrop of billboard models shooting content in the background. Much like his “Crypto Castles” in San Francisco and Miami Beach, respectively, it blurs the lines of work and play, creating a unique ménage of forward-thinking discourse, unparalleled dedication, and the occasional stint of debauchery.

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The entryway is the perfect prelude to what the environment is all about. Popping against wooden moldings and an aged chandelier is the MadeMan logo in neon red light, with an auspicious slogan below: “Made for Man(kind).” The “library,” which doubles as a meeting and office space is still bare-boned—Gardner and his team recently moved in—yet each piece that’s strategically placed on the rich mahogany shelves makes a statement. The Daily Stoic is met with DMT and the Soul of Prophecy, atop a hand-carved fireplace sits a bottle of chartreuse-colored “Wildfly” absinthe (the brand “sponsors” the house) with a saber tooth tiger skull just to its right, and naturally there’s a framed Kanye West tweet that reads “And I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.”

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In this very space, where old meets new, Gardner applies the Socratic method to resolve disagreements, while exhaling a cloud of fruity smoke from his vape, the scene is a paradox at best. Yet, the enthusiasm in the air is palpable—the team clearly admires their unconventional CEO, and the Bohemian lifestyle he cultivates. “The house is vibrant,” says Cory Levin, MadeMan’s Chief of Staff, “Nothing compares to living here. I am constantly meeting an eclectic array of industry leaders. I wake up to a new challenge every day, it’s exciting, to say the least.” There’s a clear reason for the fascination, for I find myself as enthralled in the whirlwind that is Jeremy Gardner during our interview and house tour. A cocktail of passion, well-spoken manner, and irresistible charisma work wonders to not only evoke admiration for his dreams and ingenuity, but also to fall for whatever is being sold. Luckily in this case, the product and brand speak for themselves.

MadeMan has elegantly simplified the overabundance of skincare products by synthesizing a dynamic, two-step solution that drastically reduces the number of steps required by other brands, making it accessible to the 55% of men who don’t take care of their skin beyond using a bar of soap. Gardner hopes to make skincare “as obvious to men as brushing their teeth or using deodorant.” Not only is it effective, but it’s “a sensory experience—it smells and feels great when you’re using it,” explains Mirza Muslimovic, MadeMan’s Director of Digital Product and occasional resident of the MadeMansion.

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The juxtaposition of classic columns and beaming neon lights that read “let’s get weird,” is symbolic of the mansion’s, and its owner’s, duality. A “work hard, play hard” mentality is echoed in every aspect of the space and its occupants, and the arrangement’s intentionality is manifest. “I wanted to take a different approach to building a startup,” Gardner claims. “Instead of the ‘growth-at-all-costs’ mentality of Silicon Valley, I wanted to be more thoughtful, and methodological, in order to develop a brand that strikes at the heart of the zeitgeist, and leaves a lasting impact.” This is part of why Gardner chose Los Angeles to launch this new venture, “LA is the cultural epicenter of the United States, if not the world— this is where, so often, tastes and trends are shaped.” The unique setup is not only convenient, but cost-effective. With the entire team working here, and most members living in the mansion, there’s no need for an office or to rent event spaces—which has proven timely, given the pandemic. Besides breeding creativity and collaboration, the formula also works to organically increase brand awareness.

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Models, celebrities, and “influencers” are a dime dozen near the startup’s headquarters, and with the allure of one-of-a-kind art by talented local artists on its walls, a full bar, a hot tub and pool with a waterslide, a master bedroom equipped with a stripper pole (we wouldn’t expect anything less), a makeshift movie theater, and all the entertainment one could dream of, the house acts like a magnet for the culturally relevant. Whether it be an in-house photoshoot—which are very common here thanks to picturesque scenery—or a brand-collab-turned party, the location tags and shoutouts to @mademan and @made.mansion pay for themselves.

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Yet, the constant parade of beautiful people is not all that you’ll find here. There’s depth and curiosity, and an insatiable appetite for growth. Gardner’s unofficial house rules encourage “questioning, always,” and evolution, which he applies to both MadeMan and himself noting that the house and company culture are a “constant work in progress.”

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When the business and product formulas both produce excellence, their unconventionality becomes an inspiration, leading to the creation of a unique brand culture. MadeMan is a lifestyle, and nothing personifies the company’s ethos quite like a mansion overlooking aspirational Los Angeles, from whose historic walls boom bright minds, bright ideas, and bright neon lights.

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Photography by: MadeMan