Online beard grooming business launches
Brody Williams meticulously drips a drop of oil into a small bottle as he works in his one-man makeshift studio in a three-room, decades-old chateau on Bryce Mountain creating scented oil for beards.
Williams is the sole employee – and owner – of Backwoods Beards Company, a recently launched online business that has enjoyed quick success marketing organic beard grooming products.
“A lot of companies use chemicals in their products,” said Williams, 28. “We are totally organic and I never sell anything I haven’t tested on myself first.”
Williams communicates personally with each customer – “I love the interaction with people” – and, written on craft paper or wooden blocks, sends a personalized thank you with each order.
The beard grooming business has sprouted recently with celebrities, sports stars, millennials, office workers, hunters and others – all proudly displaying unshaven faces.
Despite the booming competitive market, Williams launched his business Oct. 5 and earned $2,200 his first month, garnering quick unpaid endorsements from bearded customers and celebrities.
A TV show’s survival expert, a pro wrestler, a motivational speaker and a music producer – all bearded – have enthusiastically endorsed William’s company on his Facebook page.
Helping the hirsute facial craze for three of the past four months, beard growing was popularized to raise money for a particular branch of cancer research – Septembeard, Movember (No-Shave November) and Decembeard.
Williams points out beards are believed to reduce exposure to harmful ultraviolet sunrays by 95 percent, thus reducing skin cancer risk.
“Shaving is the fad; it is natural for men to have beards,” he noted.
Something of a modern renaissance man, Williams has done original sketches (illustrations) used on unique trading cards printed by Upper Deck; been a certified physical fitness trainer; created sculptures/paintings/murals and is currently enrolled at Lord Fairfax Community College specializing in cyber security.
But his creative energy – he began drawing at the age of 3 – was temporarily doused while attending Stonewall Jackson High School in Quicksburg.
“My art teacher said I would never be an artist,” he remembered. “For two years I didn’t draw and just read art books, and one day I picked up a pencil and did a sketch. She was wrong.”
Married for eight years, Williams said, “I’m lucky to have a wife who supports my creative side. She believes in me when I start to doubt myself.”
Williams likes to create things and be his own boss, already having declined offers from inquisitive investors in his company.
“I wanted something I could be passionate about and enjoy at the same time. I didn’t start the business just to make money. I wanted to create a community of people who have beards and love the outdoors,” he said.
Williams grew up surrounded by hard-working, bearded men and wrote he strives “to incorporate the type of vintage work ethic that lived inside my father and grandfather.”
His grandfather’s full beard and a younger photo without a beard inspired the company’s logo, Williams said.
That work ethic shows in the numerous hours and days experimenting with various oils that don’t pan out.
“Failure is just a time to learn,” he said, and he often sends free samples to customers to get feedback. It’s all shared on social media and that is probably the biggest aspect of our success,” he said.
Luck also helps.
One customer used the Pine Oil scent to mask his natural human odor while hunting.
“That was (a) fluke,” Williams laughed.
The salesman side shows when Williams notes chemical-enhanced products often dry out the beard and make it itchy while natural oils and beeswax help moisturize the skin, soften the hair and add control.
The creative side shows when Williams says he wants to work with the local community to create “Beard and Brew” or “Coffee and Beard” promotional campaigns.
“I feel if I am always moving forward, life is not passing me by,” he said.
His formula combines essential oils from bark, roots and plant leaves to create a scent and mingles that with carrier oils derived from the fatty portion of plants such as seeds, kernels or nuts.
Williams has created grooming supplies and balm to work with his six beard oils – Black Vanilla, Orange-Spice, Pumpkin-Spice, Sinister Black Coffee, Timber Pine and Whiskey Bonfire, designed to duplicate the outdoor smell of a wood fire and “create a memory,” said Williams.
Concerning the competition, Williams has one message: “We just beard better.”
Tom Crosby is a freelance writer and former communications director for AAA Carolinas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org