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The Beard Shed interview with Eric Bandholz


Celebrity beard, Eric Bandholdz

 

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and knew I’d eventually find success, but those early years required a lot of learning and humility.

Eric Bandholz - on life before Beardbrand

 

Eric, being fellow entrepreneurs we believe the early bird catches the worm, tell us how you start your working day

Well, I’d like to say that I’m the best at a scheduled routine, but I like to sleep in like the rest of the world. That being said, I have a 3 year old daughter and “sleep in” means 7am. I would like to consistently wake up around 5:30am or 6am, but haven’t been able to get there yet. My morning routine is pretty consistent though. The first part is in the bathroom, showering and grooming, then getting dressed and eating breakfast. I feel like that extra 5 to 10 minutes in the bathroom really helps me feel confident about taking on the day. From there it’s letting the dog out and commuting into the office.

 

What does the average day running Beardbrand involve?

At this point in my career everything I do within Beardbrand is different. Currently we are spending a lot of time hiring and training team members. From there I spend time coaching my team, helping them to understand the direction we are wanting to go and best ways to implement those strategies. Once a week I’ll get into the studio to knock out a few videos.

 

Tell us about life before Beardbrand.

Before Beardbrand I was a struggling entrepreneur, I couldn’t seem to get my marketing business off the ground. I ended up pivoting it to a freelance graphic design position but didn’t like the longer term prospects of that job. I was pulling in lousy revenues, thankfully my wife had a job that could support us both. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and knew I’d eventually find success, but those early years required a lot of learning and humility.

 

Celebrity beard, Eric Bandholdz

 

You just gotta go out there, make many mistakes, but no mistake that will put your company out of business.

Eric Bandholz - advice for budding entrepreneurs

 

What was the inspiration behind Beardbrand?

As an entrepreneur & business person I never felt like I fitted into the traditional stereotypes for bearded guys. Before Beardbrand if you had a beard you were either a biker, hippy, outdoorsman, or vagabond. While those are cool dudes, they just weren’t me. It was after meeting a bunch of people with similar backgrounds that I got the inspiration for Beardbrand and a way to unite a community of Urban Beardsman (A group of people who I would describe as similar to me).

  

For the UK Beardbrand fans, some might not know about your infamous appearance on Shark Tank (we have Dragons Den in the UK) tell us about this experience.

Oh man, Shark Tank was an incredible experience, I’m really grateful to be able to share our story. It was very intense, the stress of being in front of millions of people on national TV. That being said, I think the Sharks were pretty reasonable with me, they didn’t slam the business or me personally. Unfortunately, they didn’t see the same opportunity that I saw and none of them made any offers. If I had another chance I’d do it all over again, it’s a great program for helping entrepreneurs get exposure and to inspire people to become entrepreneurs.

 

Beardbrand were one of the first companies to bring beard care to the mainstream market and now everywhere you look there are beard care brands setting up, how do you maintain such a strong lead in a crowded market place?

I’ve got a funny story to talk about this. When we started we used to go to trade shows to talk about our products, no one had heard of our type of products so it was always an explanation of what our products did and why they needed it. About a year into the business, I had a person ask, “What makes your product different from other companies”, I was totally unprepared and caught off guard because no one had ever asked that question.

We’ve always had the strategy of taking the long road when building this business. That means doing things the right way, even though they may be less profitable or don’t show clear revenue potential. To us, investing in education, teaching our customers before selling, to launching industry leading products that haven’t been developed before, and to offering best in class customer service.

Really, a brand is a promise and we are working hard on delivering our end of the promise. There have been a lot of knock off Beardbrand products, and I’m sure more will come over time, but those companies aren’t in it for the long haul - only to make a quick buck.

 

What was the first beard care scent that Beardbrand launched?

We launched with our silver collection which included Tree Ranger, Spiced Citrus and Tea Tree. We did three because each of the founders wanted their own fragrance. Tree Ranger was my idea, Spiced Citrus was Lindsey’s idea, and Tea Tree was Jeremy’s idea. Personally, I think Tree Ranger is the best,  I’m sure my business partners will disagree.

If I could only have one fragrance for the rest of my life, it’d probably have to be Tree Ranger. It’s really a personal product to me.

My favourite scent from of the Gold Line is Old Money and of the White Line, Lumber Yard.

 

What’s in the pipeline for Beardbrand?

Hmm, I don’t know how much I can say publicly, we are planning to expand the current line of products to all the fragrances, beard washes and softeners will eventually be available in the Gold Line, and we’ll be launching a Silver Line sea salt spray soon. Beyond that, I’ll just let you know that we will continue to develop products for the beard, hair & body.

 

What’s been the toughest hurdle to overcome establishing Beardbrand?

I think we were pretty lucky to have established ourselves early. The biggest hurdle in the early days was just trying to get enough products and not sell out, not something most businesses deal with. After a few years, our challenges definitely shifted towards building the right team and having the internal processes in place to help us scale to the next level. We’ve learned so much about hiring and building a team that it makes me excited for the future.

 

Celebrity beard, Eric Bandholdz interview

 

Have any Beardbrand ideas failed?

Hah! We’ve got a whole slew of failed ideas and projects. We no longer produce our podcast, which I think was pretty cool. Our customer’s weren’t pleased with the performance of our Solid Cologne, so we decided to pull that product. We had an entire store of lifestyle products for Urban Beardsman that also didn’t live up to expectations. We tried our hands in custom designed button up shirts, which also failed, I’m sure there are many more that I’m forgetting. We’ll continue to embrace failure as it means we are growing and trying new things.

 

How do you keep the Beardbrand team inspired?

Beardbrand is built on the core values of Freedom, Hunger & Trust. We look for driven, talented individuals to join the team. By giving them freedom to make decisions, trusting their capabilities, their hunger takes care of the rest. There isn’t anything to do for inspiration other than give them the direction of the company and they take care of the rest.

 

Which entrepreneurs inspired you to start Beardbrand and who inspires you today?

From a 35,000 foot view it’s pretty impressive what Elon Musk can do, however it’s not as applicable for a smaller, privately held business like Beardbrand. I have many friends who are entrepreneurs and they provide guidance and inspiration. Just a few off the top of my head are Noah Kagan (Sumo), Aaron Marino (Alpha M Consulting), Antonio Centeno (Real Men Real Style), Ryan Seiders (Yeti Coolers), Peter Keller (Fringe Sport), Joshua McKee (Atlas Staffing), Jeff Raider (Harry’s), Ian Schoen (Tropical MBA), and Ben Hebert (Natural Stacks) just to name a few.

 

What advice would you give to other budding entrepreneurs

You just gotta go out there, make many mistakes, but no mistake that will put your company out of business. There is no one right or wrong way to build a business, you have to do what you find comfortable, one that gives you the lifestyle you desire. A business can destroy relationships, families, and wealth, but it can also build and establish relationships. Find the balance in your life, do things the right way.

Keep up to date with the behind Beardbrand by following him on his Twitter and Instagram