It’s rare to find a successful DTC brand that’s been able to scale up and crush the market without help from outside investors, but BeardBrand, whose Founder CEO Eric Bandholz I recently interviewed, has done exactly that. BeardBrand — which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, successfully cultivated an important niche — beard grooming — at a time when there was very little information on the subject. Today, it offers a wide range of products for beard care, skin care, and hair care on its website, and is a seven-figure business.
I wanted to catch up with Eric — who describes himself as “the first urban beardsman” — to discuss his company’s interesting origin story (which includes having his project roundly rejected by Shark Tank in 2014 (big mistake, Shark Tank!)).
As we discuss, the beard care space is very different today than it was in 2012, with big brands, including Gillette and Old Spice, muscling into the space, and I wanted to learn about how Eric views these changes. “It’s clearly a different environment now, than it was five or eight years ago, and I still think there’s a lot of opportunity for growth. I don’t think we’re at this point where there’s blood in the water. I think to a certain degree there are a lot of guys who are not familiar with how to groom a beard, or how to grow a beard, and the fact that there are products out there that can make the experience that much better.”
Eric is definitely bullish on beards becoming more ubiquitous on male faces and doesn’t see beards as a fad. “Beards are essentially part of being a human,” he observes. “If anything, what we’ve seen in the past — in my early lifetime — is just this fad of shaving, where the unnatural status of man was that we would shave every day, which is not tied into our DNA; it’s not really human to go around looking like guys looked with a completely shaved face. So I do think we are kind of ending that shaving fad we had going for about 50 or 60 years — I don’t think that that was the status look for the majority of men.”
I was curious about how Eric’s been able to grow his business mainly through organic content development, including a robust YouTube channel with 1.94 million subscribers, a strong blogging effort, a podcast, and a pervasive presence on Facebook, TikTok, and other
We also discuss the proportion of BeardBrand’s products that are gifted to men by women, generational changes in males regarding haircare/beard care product consumption, how Beardbrand leverages online communities, BeardBrand’s current stance towards Amazon, and the importance of brands providing creative packaging as part of a superior customer experience.
Will less and less men shave, creating a rising tide of customers for all beard care products? It’s certainly possible.