Having good taste and impeccable style doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it takes learning from the best in the industry to truly perfect dressing like a fashion-forward, modern man. Welcome to our series, “How to Be Stylish,” where we pick the brains of some of the most respected figures in fashion for their ultimate style tips.
When it comes to looking good, every style-conscious guy knows that sporting cool, covetable threads is only half of the battle: Making sure your grooming game is spot on is the other. While the art of moisturizing your skin and coiffing your hair with some extra-hold pomade may be second nature to you by now, do you give your beard the TLC it deserves?
Enter Eric Bandholz, the facial hair-loving founder of Beardbrand, With over three years of grooming success and a boatload of products — think waxes, oils, and cleansers — geared to caring for your mustache, beards, and goatees, Beardbrand has transformed itself into a medicine cabinet essential. Here, we chat with Bandholz about his grooming rules and creating the perfect beard-friendly blends.
The Cheat Sheet: How did you get to where you are now, career-wise?
Eric Bandholz: My journey to where I am now started in sales and progressed through a variety of companies (and a few failed business ventures). I’ve always been entrepreneurial at heart and had several ideas for businesses that never got started. With most of those projects, I was the sole owner. It was through connecting with my current business partners that I found success.
CS: Why did you decide to start Beardbrand?
EB: The idea for Beardbrand came from attending an event with like-minded individuals. Traditionally, bearded guys were thought of as lumberjacks, bikers, or outdoorsmen — I never fit those communities. Instead, I viewed myself as a more “city bearded guy” and the idea for “urban beardsman” was formed. It was Beardbrand that was going to unite the community of urban beardsman and provide the tools necessary for men to wear a beard in environments that traditionally were not acceptable for men to wear beards.
CS: Whether getting ready to lead to the Beardbrand team or primping for yourself, what is the one grooming tip you always follow?
EB: I will never leave the house without applying some beard oil. It is something that genuinely makes my day much better. The average guy will stroke his beard 720 times a day (myself included), and the difference between a beard with beard oil and one that has been stripped of its natural oils from washing is night and day.
CS: We know that picking a favorite cannot be easy, but what is the one Beardbrand product our readers must pick up?
EB: Well, I know I just mentioned that beard oil is my favorite product; however, we have nine scents to pick from with slightly different blends. My recommendation for someone getting into the Beardbrand family is to try Tree Ranger: it’s our most popular blend, [plus it’s] light, refreshing, and bold. It’ll kick your day off with a bang!
CS: Creating quality grooming products that feel nice and actually work can’t be easy. Can you walk me through how you and your team came up with these blends?
EB: It certainly isn’t! It’s even more challenging for us because we have a list of ingredients we won’t work with: silicones, SLS, and parabens. We start with a vision and goal for how we want the product to perform and refine it until it meets our expectations. Sometimes we get lucky and it’s a short time frame; other times we go through multiple revisions and months of work to get the perfect product. We won’t release a product until we are completely committed to it and can stand behind it.
When it comes to the scent family, it’s a similar direction. Sometimes we’ll get the name of the product and then formulate the scent to match the name; other times we come up with the scent first and try to name it based on the aroma. The fun thing is there’s no one exact strategy. My two favorite names are Tree Ranger and Four Vices. Tree Ranger came out because I was trying to remember what my friend did (he’s a forester), and blurted out the title “Tree Ranger.” Ever since then, I loved the name. With Four Vices, I thought about what a beardsmen’s favorite things are and how we could build a fragrance around those things.
CS: Besides beard-friendly concoctions, what are five items that every grooming-conscious guy should have?
EB: Quality pocket comb, a matte moisturizer, lip balm with SPF, medium hold hair wax, deodorant, and tea tree oil face cleanser.
CS: Beardbrand is very vocal about companies that require their male employees to be completely-shaven. What is Beardbrand doing to bring awareness to this issue?
EB: We focus on the individual and helping individuals take control of their lives. So it’s about giving the guy confidence in wearing a beard to an interview and how to dress appropriately when wearing a beard. In addition to that, it’s about how he grooms his beard so he can rock it and break down those terrible stereotypes about how a beard is not clean, and how it’s not appropriate for work. Just recently, I was talking with a small business owner who had to change their policy about being completely-shaven because they simply couldn’t find anyone who didn’t have facial hair. That’s how we make change.
CS: Where do you see Beardbrand five years from now?
EB: Beardbrand will continue to grow our product line to help men take care of not only their beards, but also their hair and body. We will continue providing excellent information on how to improve as men and further build our community for urban beardsman.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs