The beard is the essential mode for facial hair these days, and two Dallas entrepreneurs are trying to ensure that it receives due care with a new line of oils. Josh Read and Cody Murphey launched Beard Supply Co. earlier in November after years of dealing with scraggly beards.
The epiphany came one night over beers as Murphey, who has been with beard for years, was coaching Read through the finer points of beard maintenance.
"I didn't even know that oils existed," Read says. "I'm the entrepreneur of the two of us, so I looked into products and saw a big opportunity to create something here since nobody in Dallas was doing it. There are tons of groups like the North Texas Beard Alliance and a lot of the breweries that do beer and mustache competitions. There's a lot of local culture, but no company doing anything."
"We want to be the brand for the gentleman who has always had a beard, not the hipster guy who got it because he saw it on a model," says co-founder Josh Read.
In his research, Read saw there were products for grooming your beard to keep it from looking nasty, but he thought the next step would be to elevate the products from simple grooming to improving and caring for the facial follicles. He compared it to the jump that soaps and shampoos made from simple cleaning to the myriad varieties available today for all types of hair and skin.
"We felt the big gap was that because beard oils were new, people were just thankful to have them," Read says. "They weren't looking into the functional aspect of helping a beard from coming in frizzy. The thickness and length matters for type of oil.
"We've been doing a lot of research and are coming out with products that are functionally useful."
Murphey is the chemist side of the duo and spends much of his time developing oils that will work on beards that range from wispy to burly, new to well-developed, while making sure the skin under the hair stays clean. They use all-natural, local ingredients and develop new oils based on the season. Winter months call for heavier oils to keep the beards from drying out and becoming brittle.
Beard Supply Co. launched at Dallas' Untapped craft beer and music festival back on November 1, which Read says was perfect, because beards and craft beer have a large crossover.
"Those guys loved it," Read says. "We were giving out free samples and had a line for eight hours."
In fact, Beard Supply Co. will send free samples to anyone who requests them on the website. So far, Read has been surprised by how many women are interested in the oils for their boyfriends and husbands.
"The functional thing is that it makes your beard soft and smell good," he says. "Obviously if they're kissing you, they don't want to get poked in the face."
For now, Beard Supply Co. is selling the oils online only, but Murphey and Read are in talks with several shops and salons to carry the products. They also are developing new products in addition to the five current oils in time for the Christmas season and beyond.
"We're working on a beard wash that's all local and handmade in Dallas," Read says. "There's a beard balm, so if you have a really curly beard that's thick and hard to manage, you can shape it so it's not all puffed out.
"We're also coming out with a series of wooden beard combs. Wood is great for the beard. The oils are absorbed into the wood, just like with leather, and the longer you use it, the better the comb becomes instead of wearing out."
Read says that it's all about making sure that the beard is as well-groomed as any other part of a man's outfit.
"We want to be the brand for the gentleman who cares for his beard and who has always had a beard, not the hipster guy who got it because he saw it on a model," he says. "Society is finally saying, 'You're not a dirty guy. We get you.'"