Eye-Entrepreneur interviews John from Braw Beard Oils. What made you start Braw Beard Oils? Well, I've always been into mountain biking and adrenaline sports, I crashed in 2011 up at Fort William, mountain biking, I broke my back. Which then led me to sports therapy. Getting treated and rehabilitation. The person who was treating me at the time, he realised I had an understanding for the anatomy. So he offered to teach me sports massage therapy, even just for my own knowledge to get through the injury. From there stemmed making massage oils which then led on to making beard oils. I knew people were using hair oil for their split end n stuff. So, I had facial hair, I thought I might as well give it a shot.
What’s the process you went through to create the first oil? The person who taught me the sports massage therapy, he (taught me) the basic ingredients for those, the knowledge of the different oils, hempseed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, these kind of things, I just played about to get the right mixture. It took about 6 months to get a mixture I was happy with and then give it to friends and family. It just kinda snowballed from there.
Did it help having a good level of knowledge of your product? Definitely, you've got to have a good level of knowledge. There's a lot of people I'm sure will jump on the bandwagon, just make a product, sell it out and burn people's faces off, y'know, you've got to know what you're doing.
Did you have a marketing plan before launching the product? Not at first, but then I realised there was a market and people were interested in the product. Then we sat down and actually came up with a plan. Because at first it was just, sell it to a few people and then it started to snowball a bit. Facebook has been a, it's been a great tool for getting it over. Y'know when you start coming up with a product, your friends share it on Facebook and that gets a wider network seeing it. Then you can do Facebook adverts. Twitter is good for it, you can contact anyone through Twitter. Whether they get back to you, that's a different story, but, you can try. So, yeah, social media is definitely good.
How long did it take to start picking up? It took a few months to get the ball rolling, I dunno, the first few months there were only a couple of sales. I was thinking is this worth it, is it worth it? People were liking the logo as well, so people were responding to that and they quite liked the tshirts, so people were buying it just for the logo on the tshirts as well, then that raised awareness as well, then people started buying the product.
How did you manage to get high profile athletes to notice the brand? Robert Whiteford, that was pretty easy. Dean Reilly who trains at the Griphouse in Glasgow, he is good friends with Robert and training partner as well. Dean got in contact in 2013 asking if he could endorse the product. I was fan of Dean at the time so, I thought definitely. So that led to, down the line that led to an open door for Robert, who loves the product as well. Fred Durst, he got in contact through Twitter, he doesn't actually endorse the product, he is just a fan of it. I stuck something up and he wrote back "that's cool" and I seen Fred Durst and I was like, "naah, there's no way that's Fred Durst" and I contacted him back, it turns out it was. So, we met up at gigs and I've been over there to stay with him at his house, pretty cool. He is a nice guy, really nice guy.
What got them to recognise your brand? I dunno, I've been quite lucky in the fact that people like the brand so like even Bull James, he approached me. 2 years ago, he just wanted to buy some of the products so I said yeah definitely, then we became friends through that. But if I was going out searching for someone now, it would just be a case of contacting. You can only ask, they can only say no. If they do say no and you really want them, just keep pushing, trying, trying.
Any other businesses you are looking to start? I've got a few ideas in my head, but the main focus just now is Braw Beard Oils. I like the way it's going, I like meeting people, just doing a bit of everything. I enjoy it so I am just going to roll with this just now. The ideas I've got in my head, they'll last a while.
What does your typical day involve? Well, we spend a lot of time in the BrawLab as we call it. It's just the lab where we make the products, so a lot of time spent in there, social media, dealing with social media, dealing with emails, obviously contacting barbershops and places we want to stock the beard oils. Then posting out orders, there's not a big team of us so, we're all hands on.
What advice would you give out to someone looking to start a business? I would say, I you have got a product, if you've got an idea for a product, it's something you need to know and be confident in. You have got to have confidence behind your product, if you go to a tradeshow and someone asks you a question and you don't know anything about it, you're going to look a bit of a fool. So you need to know your product, you need to be passionate about it and just be yourself as well. There's no point in trying to live up to other people's expectations, just be yourself, just be real and people will take to you.
Thanks for watching/reading. We hope you enjoy Braw Beard Oils as much as we do.