After years of getting shunned by those in the white-collar world, beards are finally starting to get some mainstream love. But for the rebels who’ve always rocked a full-beard, the craze is nothing new. With the explosion in popularity, products have been popping up to help keep facial follicles looking clean and crisp. But there was never a product made specifically for men with coarse, curly hair until now. Bold Beardsmen is here to fill up that spot in the market and make major moves.
The Urban Daily got a chance to sit down with Neville Hall, one of the Bold Beardmen co-founders, to talk beards and starting a company.
Check out our exclusive with Neville Hall below.
The Urban Daily: Can you explain what inspired you to start your own business?
Neville Hall:It started with me and my partner just trying to find something to groom our beards with. We just thought about how there are so many different hair care products on the market but nothing really for your facial hair. I was starting to get razor bumps and my hair used to break off at the ends. From there, we decided to mesh with the natural hair community and just find the most natural and organic products we can use. We literally went around New York City taking account of the different types of men, beards, and textures. We asked them what products they were using and if they worked. And once we found out they the overwhelming response was that they didn’t work, we knew that it was something worth exploring.
TUD: Starting a business is never an easy feat. I read that you started the business in your mom’s basement.
NH:Actually, we still make the product there. It’s been a struggle but also a learning an experience. Just being up late nights and making the product and trying to find room to store it. It’s definitely been rewarding. It wasn’t until recently that we started looking for a new place to move the business to.
TUD: What do you feel was the biggest hurdle with starting a business?
NH:Just getting into the market and trying to find your space. Consumers are smarter than ever before. Creating an authentic brand and speaking to the consumer has been one of the hardest things. And not just getting our message across but also informing. It’s a product that some men still don’t see as an essential to their entire lifestyle. It’s still seen as an accessory. We tried to cut through the noise of other companies just slapping a label on a product to build a message that resonates with the people.
TUD: Why do you think beards have become so popular?
NH:I don’t think it’s something that has become popular, not that it was ever out of style. Historically hair has always meant something, like power or leadership. Now its just more so lifestyle. individuality, style and strength. What’s happened is stardom has helped carry it there.
TUD: In term of stardom, what celebrity beard styles are you feeling the most?
NH:Look at influential African-Americans in music and entertainment. You’ve got Idris Elba, Chiwetel Owkifor, Drake, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross. It’s these huge superstars now who are living life on their own terms, and the beard to some extent defines them.
TUD: I noticed how much work you put into the online magazine. Stepping away from the product, how important was it for you to develop a lifestyle experience around it?
NH: Very important. There really aren’t any other brands marketing to us. But we really understand the interests and attitudes of trying to appeal to the interests and attitudes of our culture. It’s important to inspire guys so we can just pitch to them what we feel is most important. We get an understanding of what they like, and find relevant stories that people will be interested in.
TUD: Any tips for guys with beards to keep it looking fresh throughout the day?
NH:Definitely need to find some sort of conditioner to clean the beard. Some people think it’s okay to wash with soap and water but that’ll just dry your skin out. You need something that’s organic with shea butter to restore those healthy oils to your skin. So washing your beard about twice a week is absolutely fine. Balm is also very important, especially for African-Americans because it holds, it shines, it’s good for the skin and it doesn’t clog pores. Some guys put the same stuff on their face that they do on their heads, and that’s terrible for their skin. Beard oil is a good thing to use more so as a styling agent, and it’s perfect to put in right after a shower when the beard is still moist. It’s very important to remember that the hair on your face is just important as the hair on your head.
TUD: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the beard community?
NH:I’ve learned to not judging a book by its cover. I feel like there’s a perception on what a bearded man should be or embody. And in working with people close to our brand, we’ve learned that these guys are so multifaceted that it’s important to tell their story. And that even led to our series Behind The Beard. In the series we’ve learned so much that these guys can be involved in. When you look at a bearded guy you think of a very machismo, rugged dude but some of the guys we spoke to are very soft-spoken. One of the tough guys might be very soft-spoken, volunteer his time at the soup kitchen, and do poetry. It’s been very interesting to see the dynamics in the community.
TUD: Where do you see the brand in a few years?
NH:I see us doing a lot more collaborations with bearded men in other industries and helping the brand cut through other spaces like culinary arts or engineering. Doing the corporate thing but also remembering the artistry. We also see ourselves booming in the African-American hair industry. We’d love to be on the shelves, or in bespoke black barber shops.
TUD: What advice would you give new entrepreneurs?
NH:8 hours of sleep is gone once you decide to set out on this lifestyle. You should never be afraid of wanting to venture out and start something. The journey’s been full of self learning and putting in work.
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