Peak Beard? Fuggedaboutit

Good news for the all the bearded brothers, beard lovers and makers of beard care products like us. Beards are here to stay! Well, maybe, if I am reading the tea leaves right. You see, despite all that’s been written and said about the inevitable victory of the razor over the beard and the imminent downturn of the moustache, it looks more and more like the beard doubters are looking into the rear view mirror. Looking forward it seems there may be some serious tailwinds that will push this baby forward for some time.

The Peak Beard calls started back in 2013, when it looked to some like the quest beards of the 2012 World Champion Boston Red Sox were about as good as it would ever get. The top was called but it never happened.

Rather, a big push forward for beards came at the 2013 Academy Awards when Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, George Clooney and more showed up looking amazingly bearded as shown below.

2013 Academy Awards when Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, George Clooney

I believe that was a significant moment that we have not yet have fully understood. I will explain why I say that shortly. Having underrated that event, what followed was the usual staggered predictions of peak beard to this day, with one writer asking not long ago, will the beard boom ever end?

Well, being in the beard care business, this question is of more than a little interest so I did some looking around and found a lot of very interesting stuff. 

There are the stories of CEOs growing beards and the mandatory beards of Silicon Valley and college professorships. I have read the words of sociologists exploring the minds of Hipsters seeking individuality in an ever more homogeneous, hi tech/lo tech world and have contemplated more than once whether I am a Lumbersexual, since I live in Brooklyn, wear jeans, boots, and flannels and dream of being somewhere on a mountaintop a good part of the time.

I have recently contemplated the possible connections between environmentalism and beardedness, reflecting on Al Gore’s “retirement beard” that preceded his launch into saving the planet, and the environmental activism of most if not all of the Hollywood actors pictured above, not to mentions Leonardo DiCaprio.

I have postponed a planned trip to the Park Slope Food Coop to find some local, live evidence that connects green activism and beards. But after watching a few videos on youtube that provide some pretty convincing anecdotal evidence, I am wondering if that is even necessary. Still, it seems a must at the first opportunity, to confirm and update.

And I have searched for clues from different quarters. I read up on Paul Ryan’s recent, come and go, “hunting beard”, which raises the question, are beards politically correct?  Ryan’s beard having been carefully calculated to win trust and support as he postured as an independent, bearded, beltway outsider. Is that good or bad for beards?

I have read about the “unemployment beard” that is grown by the rising number of unemployed as they escape bosses and corporate culture. As a side note, one of the managers at the Park Slope Food Coop said on a video that the number of their members skyrocketed in 2007-2008 with the economic downturn as people needed to save money on food and found that they had the time to put in the required work to be a member. Seems like ripe soil for some green beards, no?

Granted, I am not a sociologist or seer or historian, and I have not spent a great deal of time looking into this, but it seems there are some pretty powerful forces that keep the beard boom rolling along. I hope to find some interesting clues are in the areas of environmentalism, technology, economics, sociology, psychology, gender relations and religion.

For example, I am thinking that as gender differences become blurred at home and in the workplace, the beard becomes a man saver of sorts. Or, as we become more and more urbanized, the beard represents a retreat to the quiet and privacy of the woods where one might or might not hug a tree. Or as we live in an increasingly wired, transparent, environment, the beard becomes a sanctuary of individuality. These are just some directions I am thinking of looking at more closely. But even entertaining them briefly I think that one can see some merit in the idea that the beard boom is related to some long term trends that will help it grow. To explore further I hope to read quite a bit, look into these ideas more closely and share my thoughts as I try to understand what is going on in the world and the world of beards.

You might think one would look at the whole question of beards, beard history and peak beard long before starting a beard care company. The truth is when Rachel and I started OneDTQ at the end of 2012 we had no clear idea of the direction we were headed in, What we did know is that she was good at creating organic and natural skin, beard and hair care. We also knew that we were a good team, that our talents complimented each other and that we could work out our differences. Most importantly, we knew that our marriage was way more important than the business would ever be. With little to lose and a healthy sense of adventure, we dove in.

Since then, thanks to my beard care needs and Rachel’s talent creating great products, we have evolved into a Beard Care Company, offering a variety of products that you can explore here. 

This has offered me the very comfortable, but somewhat precarious position of being in a very manly business that depends so much on my wife. This comfort, I must admit, I have taken for granted, while the precariousness has recently raised its head. You see, Rachel, with our beard care lines more or less settled upon, has begun to focus and create some really fine skin and hair products for women that she uses and shares with friends and family.

Where does that leave me? Well, wanting to grow my beard thicker and longer, that’s where. Plain and simple, that was my first reaction to the idea that we may be nearing the day when OneDTQ Beard Care becomes OneDTQ with lines of Beard Care, Hair Care, Skin Care and, I don’t want to say it, Shave. 

Now, did I just say shave? Well, here's how it all began:

A few months ago we received a very complementary message on Etsy from a woman whose husband loves our Calming Beard Soap and has been buying it for some time. The thing is, he doesn’t have a beard. He’s been using it to shave because he found that it helps him with his shaving bumps. He’s had a hard time finding something that works and he’s very happy.

So, she contacted us to thank us and let us know that she is in the business of luxury men’s skin care and...

Here’s her message:

I wanted to say my husband enjoys your beard soap very much. It helps with his shaving bumps and he uses it every day as a face/beard cleanser.

I am in the business of men's skin care, more specifically manufacturing luxury shaving goods for men. We have been in contact with a few higher end stores about getting our artisan shaving kits in store fronts, and we are having some really great success at making connections and getting our foot in the door.

We envision a product with our packaging with a complete artisan shaving set and samples of your shaving soap, beard oil, and beard soap.

At the moment I noticed you do not make a shaving soap. This was a project I was hope we could collaborate on.  It would be a sample size, included in our starter shaving kit, with information on how to order more. Please let me know if you have an interest in this.

At first I thought, why not, sounds like an interesting idea and we can develop a new product, get some help with exposure and maybe turn it into something good. It’s always great to work with people that love your products and believe in you. 

On second thought, I became concerned as to how it would look for a beard care company to sell shaving products. But Rachel argued that even bearded men often shave parts of their face and neck and if we can help them with problems like razor burn, ingrown hair, shaving bumps etc. we should do it. I said, OK, you are right, I can live with that, that’s how we will present it. 

With a little help from me, Rachel formulated the products and designed the labels of what looks to be our first shaving products - Shaving Gel and Aftershave. Both have a fine, manly, wood scent. We posted a few images on instagram  to get some feedback on the color and design of the labels and bottles and the response have been quite positive. Off  went the samples to our friend from Etsy and we wait for feedback from her and her husband. Step by step.

With my worries about bringing a Shave Line on board quieted, the question still remains as to  how to bring women’s skin and hair care in as there is no stopping Rachel and her talents. I mean, the women she gave it to are really excited and to tell the truth, just so I can write about the products, I tried them myself, no choice. I have to say they feel awfully good and really help my skin, even if the scents are not designed for a man. But Rachel is promising to take care of that for us guys so stay tuned for that. In any case, We have ideas, and we’ve talked about how to bring a women’s line in and while it’s too early to talk about it too much, it looks like we will in the not too distant future be diving in. I am not sure but with this adventure we may become the   first beard care company ever to go into women’s skin and hair care products.

Why am clutching my beard???

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