Before we begin the beard journey, thank YOU for your support. If you have bought products, followed the pages, sent us photos, flipped the middle finger at the van or even if this is your first time at www.brawbeard.com, THANK YOU.
I've been part of the bearded lifestyle since I was 15/16 years old. You can check out THIS BLOG for more details.
My real beard journey started after breaking my back in a mountain bike accident in 2011 when recovery led to studying sports massage therapy, Tui na and acupuncture. I then began to make massage oils for use on the course, my wife was using hair oil, so I made some for her. I had facial hair, so I figured it would work on my beard too, but it wasn't great, so I played with the recipe until I was happy with it.
The 1st bottle of beard oil I was happy with would become the recipe now known as Wulver. This was made in my living room in October 2012; I never kept track of the exact date because I had no idea of this bottle's impact on my bearded life.
The reason for this blog post is to highlight what has happened since making that first bottle of Braw Beard oil. I'm not covering every show, photoshoot, interview, stockist or order; I don't want to bore you.
We have a worldwide following now, but everyone joins at different stages of the journey, so since we've passed our 11th anniversary, I wanted to share the Braw Beard life story and timeline so far. From the beginning...
The real beard journey began in 2011
9th July - The Crash 23rd July These photos were taken two weeks after the back injury (cracked C7 & T1, and obviously before I made beard oil...). When the crash happened, I was training for a 6hr endurance race at Fort William World Cup track. I'd been training for around 12 months for this race, and with 2 weeks to go; the doctor told me I couldn't race or get back on a bike for six months due to crushed vertebrae (wedge fractures). At that point in my life, I had a race mentality; anyone who races will know what I mean. Nothing was stopping me, and I did race. I finished 18th out of 133! Very stupid in reflection, but it started this whole story.
August Started recovery with Richard White (Dr Wu) in Musselburgh.
This was taken in 2017.
November I signed up for Richard's courses to learn about anatomy and recovery methods, including sports massage techniques.
July Raced the 6hr endurance again, finished 11th out of 120
After months of trial and error with natural oils...
October I made the 1st bottle of my beard oil that I was happy with; that recipe became Wulver (it's been improved slightly since).
From October 2012 to June 2013, I gave bottles of Wulver beard oil to friends and family with facial hair. All of the feedback was very positive. I used £300 of my own money to buy ingredients and equipment. At some point, I moved the operation into a wee workshop, the first BrawLab. I got all the safety assessments and insurance needed to start selling to the public; THAT was a nightmare because no one knew what beard oil was! Insurance was mega expensive then because they thought it would burn folks' faces off; it couldn't have been further from the truth, but hey, ho. Much easier now.
19th June Launched the original www.brawbeardoils.com with the help of Colin Usher
31st August Mrs Braw and I drove 7hrs to our first event with our products and set up a stand at Kustom Kulture in Spalding. Some people laughed at us; the general public had never heard of beard oil. We made a few sales, not enough to cover costs, but we made some friends (Kev Bambra, who still paints my bike helmets) and had a blast.
29th September Studio XIII Gallery in Edinburgh became Braw Beard's first stockist! They still stock Braw Beard care products; we can't thank them enough for taking us on.
The concept of The Brawtherhood starts as fans of the brand send in photos by email. I added a gallery to the website to showcase The Brawtherhood
2nd November We shot Braw Beard Oils 1st video with Colin Usher, Liam and Stuart (in the mountain bike pic above). We shoot random videos for fun; check our YouTube channel, although that video isn't there...
11th December I had my first newspaper interview. With the Edinburgh Evening News, word of this strange product started spreading.
At some point Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst became a fan of the brand.
10th January Second newspaper article, this time the East Lothian Courier.
25th January Dean Reilly becomes the first Braw Athlete.
2nd February I first met Matt Nickerson, who would become a Braw athlete in 2015.
8th February I'll never forget the phone call. My mum passed away. At this point, I was ready to give up on Braw Beard; my world was turned upside down.
15th February Mum's funeral.
16th February Limp Bizkit gig at the o2 Academy in Glasgow. Fred had invited Mrs Braw and me to hang out and watch the show. After discussing with my family whether I should go, my dad convinced me of the opportunity; I'm glad I did. That was a crazy emotional 24hrs. I'm saying goodbye to my mum, then watching Limp Bizkit live with their crew on stage while Fred wears a Braw Beard Flat Out t-shirt on stage! Fred never knew about my mum passing until I visited him in October; he said I seemed quiet at the Glasgow gig, and then I told him why...
26th February The Brotique (now Quarters) in Edinburgh became a stockist.
29th April East Coast Inc in Sunderland become stockists.
8th June World Champion mountain biker Brook Macdonald becomes a Braw Athlete
6th July We shot the WolverDean Reilly video with Colin Usher at the Griphouse in Glasgow.
30th August We return to Kustom Kulture in Spalding with a slightly better set-up.
16th - 19th October I flew out to LA to visit Fred for a few days.
17th November I released the Grand Eckson 1918 beard oil, named after my grandfather after he passed away.
29th November Braw Beard had a product feature in a local magazine, which I learned about when reading the magazine in a cafe!
1st January The first day of the Braw Beard calendar featuring Braw athletes and fans of the brand. All profits went to the Anti-bullying Alliance charity.
26th February Braw Beard had a 2-page article in the Daily Record.
22nd March We had a photoshoot with Kenzie Photography, where I first met Teeniebash and Katie (still friends now and help out at some events).
21st May Rock band, The King Lot become Braw Beard ambassadors.
22nd May My sister (Heaven Floral Design) and I appear in a joint release of the front covers of Welcome to East Lothian magazine
At some point here, Lee Johnston becomes a Braw athlete
6th - 7th June Braw Beard's 1st appearance at Fort William World Cup as a trader with Mohair Barbers.
28th June Brewdog invite Braw Beard to do a pop-up shop at the brewery in Ellon
17th July Robert Whiteford becomes a Braw athlete, and we go to watch him win at UFC Glasgow the next day.
7th August We travel to TattooJam in Doncaster to set up the Braw Beard trade stand.
13th September I watched the motorcycle racing at Scarborough and met Jamie Coward for the first time, who later became probably one of Braw's most iconic athletes.
24th October We teamed up with The Brotique in Edinburgh to host our 3rd birthday party. The party was small and included Braw athletes, friends and family.
13th December The Delivery video shoot with Katie, Steven and Colin Usher.
30th January Tattoo Freeze event
21st February The Braw Beard Experience became a service at Mohair Barbers, and we shot a video explaining the treatment.
7th May I am interviewed by Eye Entrepreneur and meet Chas for the 1st time, who will later become one of Braw Beard's main camera guys.
14th May A Viking photoshoot with Sean, John and Chas. Footage from that shoot ended up in Amon Amarth's Raise Your Horns video - 1.47.
3rd June Back up to Fort William World Cup with the Braw Beard Experience.
7th June Appearance at The Ramsey Sprint in the Isle of Man to support Lee Johnston and Jamie Coward.
5th - 7th August TattooJam in Doncaster again
11th - 14th August Our 1st appearance at the Ulster GP with The Braw Beard Experience, Lee Johnston, ends up wearing the Braw Beard hat on the BBC for an interview.
27th August Mrs Braw and I get married after 12 years together.
At the start of September, Braw Beard sponsors the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team.
Kyle Flemington became a Braw Athlete, he didn't like his beard getting touched, but we liked him. He later went on to become an NHL linesman.
September A Keep The Heid collectable was based on my likeness.
1st October We shot the Viking video with Sean, Kevin and Chas
15th October Braw Beard was a primary sponsor of the British Beard and Moustache Championships. We also hosted the Pre-Party the evening before the event. This is where we first met the Liverbeards and finally devised plans to host the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships. This would become Scotland's 1st beard and moustache competition: our annual party, but on a much bigger scale than the previous one at the Brotique. We moved the party to February; the end of the year is busy in the Lab.
29th October We took the Braw Beard Experience with Mohair to Manchester Tattoo Convention.
2nd November I moved the BrawLab into new premises in Musselburgh.
12th November The Scottish Design Exchange in Edinburgh became a stockist.
1st December I met Jack Jester at Mohair Barbers, and he became a Braw Athlete with his special label beard oil, Big Kink.
14th December Limp Bizkit are playing with Korn at the Hydro in Glasgow; Fred invites us along.
29th December Mrs Braw and I finally got time to go on Honeymoon; we went to Reykjavik in Iceland, where I got a stockist, haha.
7th January The BrawVan gets upgraded to a Transit Custom, the BrawVan Mk3.
28th January We head back down to the Tattoo Freeze event in Telford.
18th February The 1st Braw Beard and Moustache Championships occurs at Drygate Brewery and sells out before the event starts. We have competitors from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
Braw Beard was also featured on the contents page of The Scotsman Magazine.
24th February Tony Wright (judge) and Iain Walker (category winner) end up on live TV talking about the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships.
At some point, Jamie Coward becomes a Braw Athlete
5 - 6th March Salon Expo trade show
11th March Scottish Motorcycle Show with the Braw Beard Experience. Braw athletes Lewis Rollo and Jamie Coward make appearances.
9th May I get interviewed on the Red Room podcast with Keep Shotty TV
2nd June Braw Athlete Jamie Coward gets interviewed on ITV's TT feature and wears his Braw Beard hat.
3th - 4th June Back up to Fort William World Cup with the Braw Beard Experience.
9th - 13th August This is our first time running two shows simultaneously with a complete set-up. I and Tony from Mohair took the Ulster GP in Northern Ireland & Mrs Braw, and our friend Charl took Tattoo Jam in Doncaster.
24th August Braw Beard was nominated in the online influencer category of the i-on magazine awards. We made it to the finals but have yet to win.
At the start of September, Braw Beard continues sponsorship of the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team.
1st September I get a part as a farmer in the Netflix film Outlaw King. Start filming.
12th September I get interviewed on the Gies Yer Chat podcast.
24th September Triumph Glasgow invited the Braw Beard Experience along to their Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride event, then after being impressed with the brand, decided to stock Braw Beard products.
6th October Ford get in touch to feature Braw Beard in the first episode of Transit Tales
10th October I get my 2nd role as an extra in Outlaw King, today shooting as a villager.
12th October My first public speaking gig. Business Gateway asked me to chat at one of their events.
5th November She brought the Braw Beard to stand at The Urban Market at Drygate Brewery, which would attend very often and still do.
30th November Natalie Johnston sent a photo of her wearing her Braw Bobble Hat on the Great Wall of China!
8th December Recorded episode #001 of JJ's daily vlog. And meet up with the Brawtherhood members at the Stone Sour gig.
14th December Braw Beard partnered with the Edinburgh Beard and Moustache Club to produce their club beard oil, which we still do! £2 from every sale goes to Cash For Kids charity. Available HERE
21st December Christmas market at Triumph Glasgow
28th December We brew the 1st ever batch of Brawtherhood Brew beer at Drygate Brewery, ready for the BrawBMC 2018.
I finally left my 'real job' to go full-time with Braw Beard. I need to thank my old employers at Eastern Exhibitions for being so cool with me running Braw Beard alongside. They couldn't stop me out of hours, I know, but they did allow me the flexibility to finish early or take last-minute days off if I needed to. So if you're reading this, Ewen and Janet, thank you.
28th January Davie Wallace becomes a Braw Beard ambassador
At some point, the website is re-designed.
24th February The 2nd Braw Beard and Moustache Championships, again, sold out before the event day—entries from the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Germany and the USA. James Davis from Portland, USA, proposes to his girlfriend, Lorraine, on stage, and she says YES.
6th March The Isle of Man TT PS4 & Xbox game has been released; Jamie Coward is a playable character with a Braw Beard helmet!!
18th March Popup shop at Hillhead Bookclub in Glasgow with Mohair Barbers
24th March The Liverbeards and Braw Beard host the Boss Beard and Moustache Championships.
28th March Braw Beard is voted the best beard care company in the world by the USA based The Beard Whisperer!
30th March The first official Brawtherhood meets up in Edinburgh.
19th April The 2nd batch of Brawtherhood Brew beer is made at Drygate Brewery
22nd April Sean, Chas and I film the Braw-rriors video for fun. This is the first time we have ever used a script!
29th April I've been using the Braw Relax and Recover Bath Salts and tracking my sleep to see the effects; read the results HERE. I originally made these before Braw when making massage oils, but I brought them back in 2017 to assist our athletes.
1st May We hit 100 episodes of the vlog; check the video HERE
4th May Released the grey snapbacks
The brand was gathering momentum, and order volumes increased...
24th May Lee Johnston appears on BBC again wearing his Braw Beard Camo hat
25th May Ninja Warrior Ali Hay becomes a Braw Athlete.
28th May An Arctic Explorer (Ted Jackson) takes Arctic Explorer to the North Pole!!
2nd - 3rd June Back up to Fort William World Cup with the Braw Beard Experience.
8th June Indulgence shop (that stock Braw Beard care products) in the Isle of Man hosts a meet and greet with Lee Johnston, Jamie Coward and myself in TT week.
15th July We take the Braw Beard Experience to the Scottish Car Show
21st - 22nd July We take the Braw Beard Experience to the Scottish Festival; this is the 1st time we have used our two tents together side by side; it was huge compared to what we were used to!
8th - 12th Aug Back at the Ulster GP, I've always been a motorcycle racing fan. READ MORE HERE. I used to stand watching and would be too nervous to ask riders for their autographs. Now I've built friendships with riders and teams; it's crazy. When the Padgett's Team trusted me with Lee's bike, even if it was only for a few minutes, I was a complete fanboy again.
30th September Triumph Glasgow invited us back for their Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride event.
7th October The Florida Hair and Beauty Expo organisers heard the Braw Beard story and invited me to talk on their stage. My first international speaking gig! WATCH HERE
26th October Braw Beard released a new beard oil to celebrate six years since the first Braw Beard Oil was made. It's called Anniversary 18.
14th December I am the guest speaker at Creative Mornings in Edinburgh, telling the Braw Beard journey.
Late December James, who proposed to Lorraine at the BrawBMC 2018, asks me if I'd do the honour of getting ordained and performing their wedding ceremony in Portland, Oregon!!
9th February Photoshoot with Davie Wallace and Lindsay Houston at in East Lothian
23rd February The Braw Beard and Moustache Championships 2019 takes place at Drygate. A news crew come along to interview some of the competitors. CLICK HERE for the news feature video CLICK HERE for the event video
18th March I am a guest on the Keep Shotty podcast again. The video of the podcast is HERE
23rd March The Liverbeard's Boss Beard and Moustache Championships take place in Liverpool.
At some point, world trials rider James Dabill becomes a Braw athlete.
18th April I am a guest on the Adventures in the creative industries podcast. The episode is HERE
3rd May The 1st episode of The Braw Cast podcast goes live. Watch the video HERE
19th May Jamie Coward gets us some prime advertising on TV again
1st June We set up the Braw stand at the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup again, Orbit Smoke Barbers join us.
4th June I head to the Isle of Man TT to support the Braw athletes Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston. I interview Jamie for episode 4 of the Braw Cast, which is HERE
29th June We take the Braw Beard stand to a local event, the Haddington Agricultural Show
11th July Billy Kirkwood is a guest on episode 6 of the Braw Cast HERE Billy becomes the host of the Braw Cast Season 2 in 2020.
14th July We take the Braw Beard stand to the Scottish Car Show.
7th August We again take the Braw Beard stand to the Ulster Grand Prix in Northern Ireland. I interview Lee Johnston for episode 8 of the Braw Cast, which is HERE.
24th August We had a Brawtherhood meetup at the 13th Note in Glasgow, which was great. There were 42 members there throughout the night!
7th September I perform the wedding ceremony for Lorraine and James in Mount Hood National Park in Oregon—an honour. If you're reading this, James and Lorraine, you already know
September 19th In the summer, I was offered a place at university to work towards a degree in Business Management. Today is my first day.
October marks 7 years of Braw Beard. Anniversary 19 is released.
October 9th Our collaboration oil with Mikey Demus from Skindred and Redbeard Effects is released.
November 29th Braw Beard gets featured in The Herald’s Luxury Magazine.
2020…this will be interesting to look back on in 8 years time.
February 21st Sean Mckenzie and Mandy Eaton-Maclean feature on BBC Radio Scotland talking about the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships.
February 22nd The 4th annual Braw Beard and Moustache Championships takes place to a sold out crowd yet again.
February 24th Billy Kirkwood takes over hosting duties on The Braw Cast. Jimmy Brittain is the first guest of Season 2.
March 19th Braw athletes Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston feature as playable characters in Isle of Man TT, Ride on the Edge 2. To see the Braw Beard logo immortalised in two PS4, Xbox, Switch and PC games is awesome. They’re both wearing Braw hats in their profile shots.
March 24th Scotland goes into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production at the Lab ceases until we figure out what the rules are. Then it’s advised that online business is encouraged. I have no staff so after a few days, I get back to work.
March 28th The Braw Cast goes remote and LIVE! It becomes a weekly feature with a different guest every week.
April 2nd We release a collaboration oil with the Liverbeards Beard and Moustache Club.
April 24th Mrs Braw and I become parents to wee Danny Jackson!
September 22nd Year 2 of university begins.
October 2nd Vlog episode 200 is released! Anniversary 20 is released.
February 12th The Braw Beard YouTube channel hits 1000 subscribers.
February 20th We release a new beard oil to mark the cancelled Braw Beard and Moustache Championships event. It is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 4th Limp Bizkit DJ Franko Carino joins Billy on The Braw Cast podcast.
March 12th The Braw Cast is ranked the 2nd best beard related podcast in the World by Feedspot.
March 26th Braw Beard gets it’s verified blue tick from Facebook
March 29th Marks 1 year of weekly Braw Cast episodes with Billy Kirkwood as host.
May 22nd & 23rd Davie Wallace, Lindsay Houston and I head down to Scarborough with the Braw Beard stand for the Olivers Mount Spring Cup to support Braw athletes Lee Johnston and Jamie Coward. Our first event since COVID-19.
September 28th 3rd year of university begins
October 1st Marks 9 years of Braw Beard! We release 2 new colourways of Brawbblehats, 2 new T-shirts, Anniversary 21 beard oil and Tash Tickler Lager in collaboration with Winton Brewery.
October 21st Again, we have to announce another Braw Beard and Moustache Championships (2022) is cancelled due to COVID-19. The mask mandate indoors prevents us from holding a beard competition.
October 31st A Brawtherhood member, William McMahon and his family create a mini-film called Beardo Myers to mark the release of Mystery T-shirt 7 which is horror inspired.
November 1st The Braw Cast Live event is announced to act as a placeholder for the cancelled Braw Beard and Moustache Championships on February 19th 2022.
November 6th We host the Tash Tickler Lager official launch party at Station Yard beer garden.
December 1st Santa Braws beard oil returns to the line-up for December only.
December 4th Braw Beard merchandise makes several appearances on the WWE network.
January 16th I try Pro Wrestling at FPWA for epsiode 2 of Give It A Go on YouTube. Click To Watch
February 19th The Braw Cast Live takes place at Drygate Brewery with Lee Johnston, Calvin Gowland, Dom Herbertson and Jack Jester as guests alongside Billy Kirkwood and myself. It marked episode 100 and was a sell out! Click To Watch
May 5th Braw Beard supports the Beards Of Mann campaign.
June 12th We record episode 110 of the Braw Cast driving around the Isle of Man TT circuit with myself, Lewis Rollo and Stuart Rollo. Click to Watch
July 2nd We take the Braw Beard stand to the Haddington Show.
July 4th Richard White (Dr Wu) passes away. This hit me hard, he was there at the start and played a role in setting me off in this Braw Beard direction. I hope I’ve made him proud.
August 1st Braw athlete Jamie Coward enters the Armoy road races for his first time and wins!
August 7th We launch the limited edition CRG recovery bath salts with Braw athlete Calvin Gowland.
August 13th We take the Braw Beard stand to the World Pipe Band Championships.
October Braw Beard turns 10 years old!! We launch the Original Series beard oil pack with original labels and branding.
October 5th Braw Beard gets featured in The Scotsman newspaper.
October 11th Braw Beard gets featured in Gramersi.
October 18th I launch the ItsABrawLife coaching programme where we build confidence through mindset, physical presentation, instilling daily habits and discipline.
October 24th Braw Beard gets featured in the Herald newspaper.
October 25th Braw Beard gets featured in the Newsweek newspaper in New York.
November 11th Vlog episode 300 is released! Click to Watch
December 1st We launch the Brawsty The Snowman beard oil alongside Santa Braws for December.
February 18th The Braw Beard and Moustache Championships takes place for the 1st time since the pandemic and sells out yet again. Click to Watch
March 31st Today marks the last day in the BrawLab in Musselburgh.
April 1st Day 1 in the brand new BrawLab!
April 13th The final day of my Business Management degree at Queen Margaret University.
May 11th Braw athletes Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston feature as playable characters in Isle of Man TT, Ride on the Edge 3. To see the Braw Beard logo immortalised in three video games is awesome! Available on PS5, Xbox, Nintento and PC.
June 30th We take the Braw Beard stand to the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace.
July 4th I graduated from university with a First Class Honours Degree in Business Management.
July 22nd The Brawtherhood entered a team into the Viking Longboat World Championships where we finished 30th out of 78 teams! Click to Watch the Vlog
September 12th I am the guest business speaker at Ross High School for their Celebration of Success event. This is the high school I attended so it's an honour to be asked back.
September 24th The brand new redesigned Braw Beard website goes live! www.brawbeardoils.com
October marks 11 years of Braw Beard.
We release the very first issue of the Braw Beard magazine which is created by QMU student Liliana Horvath.
We also release 2 new hats and Anniversary 23.
Let’s see what the future holds!
I wanted to write this to share this journey because we have fans who love following the brand and although this timeline looks like an amazing 11 and a bit years, which it has been, it doesn’t show every event, every product release, every photoshoot, every interview etc.
Up until December 31st 2017 I was working another job and running Braw Beard afterwards and at weekends. I’ve worked 6-7 days a week for probably 5 years. It’s only in 2018 that I managed to get a work life balance, even now it’s not where I want it to be, yet. I started the brand with £300 of my own money, it’s never had external investment and that is something I am proud of at this point.
My mountain biking was sacrificed, I used to ride every weekend. The last few years, Danny has been riding alongside me at the local pumptrack which is something I am really proud of.
I’ve lost connections with some friends, but I’ve also built lots of new friendships.
It still makes me laugh when I get called a hipster. When the bearded hipster bandwagon started in 2013-14, I was already 13 years into growing facial hair. If these people took the time to read the background, they’d see the work that’s been put into this brand too. I didn’t jump on the beard bandwagon, I was quietly crafting Braw Beard beforehand.
The Brawtherhood is something special that I could never have imagined creating, people who call each other family all over the world! All brought together by their love of Braw Beard products. Wow!
I want to thank every customer who has ever bought a Braw Beard product, everyone who has helped me out at events, my dad (for convincing me to keep going on February 15th 2014 & motivating me) my family and Mrs Braw for putting up with me and the long hours I work.
And thank YOU for reading this, I hope you’ve enjoyed it.