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Founder Q&A with James Chase of BAZ & CO

June 1, 2024

We caught up with James, founder of men’s skincare brand BAZ & CO, to chat about vertical farming, his wellness routine and he launched his brand.

What is vertical farming and what are its benefits?

Vertical farming revolutionises traditional agriculture practices by growing stacked crops under UV light in a controlled environment, providing many benefits. This innovative farming method uses zero herbicides and pesticides and allows year-round cultivation, irrespective of seasonal changes. This ensures a longer shelf life for produce such as salad leaves. For BAZ & CO, the most significant benefit is the ability to grow high-quality basil, our hero ingredient, under optimal conditions, enhancing its natural properties that are so beneficial in skincare.

How did you transition from traditional farming to vertical farming?

My journey into vertical farming began while spearheading innovations at Chase Distillery in Herefordshire. I was exploring the idea of a single estate gin, utilising potatoes and botanicals grown directly on the farm, including through vertical farming. Although Diageo later acquired the distillery, the concept of using vertically farmed botanicals stayed with me. After a decade in the beverage industry, my focus shifted towards natural wellness, leading to the inception of BAZ & CO. Vertical farming became the cornerstone of our approach to introducing men to a new line of skincare products, ensuring the highest quality and efficacy.

What inspired the launch of BAZ & CO, and how did you launch the brand?

The inspiration for launching BAZ & CO stemmed from a personal health realisation during my time in the alcohol industry, where daily drinking was part of the job. As I moved into my thirties, the need for a healthier lifestyle became apparent, sparking a desire to help others elevate their grooming habits through natural wellness. BAZ & CO was launched with a clear mission to boost men’s confidence through potent, sustainably sourced botanicals like basil, distilled in copper pots to preserve their rich properties.

Why did you choose basil as your hero ingredient, and what are its benefits?

Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, was chosen not just for its culinary virtues but for its robust benefits in skincare. Rich in essential oils and antioxidants, basil helps protect and clarify the skin, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting acne, enhancing moisture, and reducing roughness. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties support clear skin while offering potential protection against sun damage and signs of ageing. Basil’s versatility makes it a cornerstone ingredient in our products, embodying our farm-to-face philosophy.

Could you share details of your own wellness routine?

With a farming background, I’ve always been an early riser, especially now as the days grow warmer. My mornings begin with a walk with my dog, which helps me clear my mind and get my body moving. I follow this with a cold shower using our all-natural body wash, then exfoliate my face, apply moisturiser, and finish with our natural deodorant. This routine energises me and ensures that I start my day feeling refreshed and ready.

What are your favourite British brands?

I strongly advocate for British craftsmanship and innovation, particularly those I’ve met through the Walpole Brands of Tomorrow program. Brands like Holmes Bespoke and Maison Margaux are redefining interiors, focusing on sustainability and ethical craftsmanship. Anglo-Italian and Navygrey stand out in apparel for their commitment to quality and sustainability. In the wellness sector, alongside BAZ & CO, brands like AKT London and MONPURE are pioneering with their focus on natural and effective products. Roxanne First and Makers Cabinet impress with their ethically sourced materials and innovative designs. At the same time, Difference Coffee captivates with its exclusive selection of beans, showcasing what British businesses offer.



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