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 always been part of the bearded life style since I was 15/16 years old. 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, it did 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 absolutely no idea of the impact this bottle would have on my life, my bearded life.
The reason for this blog post is just to highlight what has happened since making that first bottle of Braw Beard oil. I’m not covering every show, photoshoot, interviews, every stockist or orders, I don’t want to bore you.
We have a worldwide following now but everyone joins at different stages of the journey so since it’s our 8th birthday, I wanted to share the Braw Beard life story and timeline so far.
These photos were taken 2 weeks after the back injury (cracked C7 & T1, and obviously before I made beard oil…). You see, I was training for a 6hr endurance race at Fort William World Cup track when the crash happened. I’d been training for around 12 months for this race and with 2 weeks to go, the doctor told me I can’t race or get back on a bike for 6 months due to crushed vertebrae (wedge fractures). I had a race mentality at that point of my life, 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.
Started recovery with Richard White (Dr Wu) in Musselburgh.
This was taken in 2017.
Signed up to Richard’s courses to learn about the anatomy and recovery methods including sports massage techniques.
Raced the 6hr endurance again, finished 11th out of 120
After months of trial and error with natural oils…
I made the 1st bottle of my beard oil that I was happy with, that recipe became Wulver (it’s been improved slightly since).
In the months from October 2012 building up to June 2013, I’d been giving 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 which was 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 was going to burn folks faces off, it couldn’t have been further from the truth but hey ho. Much easier now.
Launched the original www.brawbeardoils.com with the help of Colin Usher
Mrs Braw and I drove 7hrs to our first event with our products and set up a stand at Kustom Kulture in Spalding.
We were laughed at by some people, the general public had never really heard of beard oil at this point. We made a few sales, not enough to cover costs but we made some friends (Kev Bambra, who still paints my bike helmets) and we had a blast.
Studio XIII Gallery in Edinburgh became Braw Beard’s first stockist! They still stock Braw Beard care products and we can’t thank them enough for taking us on.
Braw Beard Oils partnered with the Glasgow Beard and Moustache Club to produce their club beard oil, which we still do! £2 from every sale goes to Chris’s House charity.
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 on there…
I had my first newspaper interview . It was with the Edinburgh Evening News, word of this strange product was starting to spread.
At some point
Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst became a fan of the brand
Second newspaper article, this time the East Lothian Courier.
Dean Reilly becomes the first Braw Athlete.
2nd February First met Matt Nickerson, who would become a Braw athlete in 2015.
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.
Limp Bizkit gig at the o2 Academy in Glasgow. Fred had invited Mrs Braw and I along to hang out and watch the show.
After discussing with my family whether I should go or not, my dad convinced me of the opportunity and to go, I’m glad I did.
That was a crazy emotional 24hrs. Saying goodbye to my mum, then watching Limp Bizkit live with their crew stage side 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, then I told him why…
The Brotique (now Quarters) in Edinburgh became a stockist.
East Coast Inc in Sunderland become stockists.
World Champion mountain biker Brook Macdonald becomes a Braw Athlete
Fred Durst invited me down to Sonisphere to watch the Limp Bizkit show.
Back up to Fort William World Cup with the Braw Beard Experience.
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.
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, we liked him.
A Keep The Heid collectable was based on my likeness.
We shot the Viking video with Sean, Kevin and Chas
Braw Beard was a main sponsor of the British Beard and Moustache Championship. We also hosted the Pre-Party the evening before the event. This is where we first met the Liverbeards and finally put plans in place to host the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships. This would become Scotland’s 1st beard and moustache competition. Our annual party, but a much bigger scale than the previous one at the Brotique. We moved the party to February, the end of the year is a busy time in the Lab.
We took the Braw Beard Experience with Mohair to Manchester Tattoo Convention.
I moved the BrawLab into new premises in Musselburgh.
The Scottish Design Exchange in Edinburgh became a stockist.
I met Jack Jester at Mohair Barbers and he becomes a Braw Athlete, with his own special label beard oil, Big Kink.
Limp Bizkit are playing with Korn at the Hydro in Glasgow, Fred invites us along.
Mrs Braw and I finally get time to go on Honeymoon, we went to Reykjavik in Iceland…..where I ended up getting a stockist haha.
The BrawVan gets an upgrade to a Transit Custom, this is the BrawVan Mk3.
We head back down to the Tattoo Freeze event in Telford.
The 1st Braw Beard and Moustache Championships takes place at Drygate Brewery and sells out before the event even starts. We have competitors from all over the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
Braw Beard also featured on the contents page of The Scotsman Magazine.
Myself, 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
Scottish Motorcycle Show with the Braw Beard Experience. Braw athletes Lewis Rollo and Jamie Coward make appearances.
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 the first time we ran 2 shows at the same time with full set up.
Myself and Tony from Mohair took the Ulster GP in Northern Ireland & Mrs. Braw and our friend Charl took Tattoo Jam in Doncaster.
Braw Beard were nominated in the online influencer category of the i-on magazine awards. We made it to the finals but never won.
At the start of September, Braw Beard continues sponsorship of the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team.
I get a part as a farmer in the Netflix film Outlaw King. Start filming.
I get interviewed on the Gies Yer Chat podcast.
Triumph Glasgow invite the Braw Beard Experience along to their Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride event, then after being impressed with the brand, decide to stock Braw Beard products.
I finally leave 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 really stop me out of hours I know, but they did allow me 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.
Davie Wallace becomes a Braw Beard ambassador
At some point the website is re-designed.
The 2nd Braw Beard and Moustache Championships, again it sold out before the event day. Entries from all over the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Germany and the USA.
James Davis from Portland, USA, proposes to his girlfriend Lorraine, on stage and she said YES.
The Isle of Man TT PS4 & Xbox game is released, Jamie Coward is a playable character complete with Braw Beard helmet!!
Popup shop at Hillhead Bookclub in Glasgow with Mohair Barbers
Braw Beard are voted best beard care company in the world by USA based The Beard Whisperer!
The first official Brawtherhood meet up in Edinburgh.
The 2nd batch of Brawtherhood Brew beer is made at Drygate Brewery
Sean, Chas and I film the Braw-rriors video for a bit of fun. This is the first time we have ever used a script!
I’d 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 I was making massage oils but brought them back in 2017 to assist our athletes.
We hit 100 episodes of the vlog, check the video HERE
Released the grey snapbacks
The brand was gathering momentum and order volumes increased…
Lee Johnston appears on BBC again wearing his Braw Beard Camo hat
Ninja Warrior Ali Hay becomes a Braw Athlete.
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.
Indulgence shop (who 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.
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 2 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.
Triumph Glasgow invited us back for their Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride event.
The organisers of the Florida Hair and Beauty Expo hear the Braw Beard story and invited me to talk on their stage. My first international speaking gig! WATCH HERE
Braw Beard release a new beard oil to celebrate 6 years since the first Braw Beard Oil was made. It’s called Anniversary 18.
I am the guest speaker at Creative Mornings in Edinburgh telling the Braw Beard journey so far.
James, who proposed to Lorraine at the BrawBMC 2018, asks me if I’d do the honour of getting ordained and perform their wedding ceremony in Portland, Oregon!!
Photoshoot with Davie Wallace and Lindsay Houston at in East Lothian
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
I am a guest on the Keep Shotty podcast again. The video of the podcast is HERE
The Liverbeard’s Boss Beard and Moustache Championships takes place in Liverpool
At some point, world trials rider James Dabill becomes a Braw athlete.
I am a guest on the Adventures in the creative industries podcast. The episode is HERE
The 1st episode of The Braw Cast podcast goes live. Watch the video HERE
Jamie Coward gets us some prime advertising on TV again
We set up the Braw stand at the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup again, Orbit Smoke Barbers join us.
I head over 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
We take the Braw Beard stand to a local event, the Haddington Agricultural Show
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.
We take the Braw Beard stand to the Scottish Car Show.
We take the Braw Beard stand to the Ulster Grand Prix in Northern Ireland again. I interview Lee Johnston for episode 8 of the Braw Cast which is HERE.
We have a Brawtherhood meetup at the 13th Note in Glasgow which was great. There were 42 members there throughout the night!
I perform the wedding ceremony for Lorraine and James in Mount Hood National Park in Oregon. Such an honour. If you’re reading this James and Lorraine, you already know, but thank you.
In the summer, I was offered a place at university to work towards a degree in Business Management. Today is my first day.
We set up the Braw Beard x Mohair Barbershop at Triumph Glasgow for the Distinguished Gentlemen’s After Party
October marks 7 years of Braw Beard. Anniversary19 beard oil is released.
Our collaboration oil with Mikey Demus from Skindred and RedBeardEffects is released.
Braw Beard gets featured in the Herald’s Luxury Magazine.
Mrs Braw, Chloe, Lindsay, Davie and I head to the highlands for a photoshoot. Watch the vlog episode HERE
2020…this will be interesting to look back on in 8 years time.
Sean Mckenzie and Mandy Eaton-Maclean feature on BBC Radio Scotland talking about the Braw Beard and Moustache Championships
The 4th annual Braw Beard and Moustache Championships takes place to a sold out crowd yet again
Billy Kirkwood takes over hosting duties on The Braw Cast. Jimmy Brittain is the first guest of Season 2. Watch the episode HERE
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.
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.
The Braw Cast goes remote and LIVE! Watch that episode HERE
It becomes a Monday evening feature with a different guest every week.
We release a collaboration beard oil with the Liverbeards Beard and Moustache Club. £2 from every sale goes to Alder Hey Children’s Charity.
Mrs Braw and I become parents to wee Danny Jackson!
BrawVan Mk3 gets replaced for BrawVan Mk4.
The vlog moves away from daily features and becomes a weekly roundup episode.
The 1st entry of the new format is HERE
Braw Beard release a t-shirt with artwork drawn by Brawtherhood member Stuart Robertson. This becomes known as the Fan Art t-shirt.
22nd September Year 2 of university begins
Anniversary20 beard oil is released.
New red and green snapbacks are released.
Vlog episode 200 will is released! Watch is HERE
We had to make the difficult decision to cancel The Braw Beard and Moustache Championships 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Santa joins Billy on The Braw Cast podcast. Watch the episode HERE
The limited edition Santa Braws beard oil is released for the first time.
The Santa Braws limited edition t-shirt is released too.
Adventurer Sean Conway joins Billy on The Braw Cast podcast. Watch the episode HERE
2021 – the latest entry to the ongoing beard journey.
The Braw Beard YouTube channel hits 900 subscribers.
The YouTube channel hits 1000 subscribers.
We release a new beard oil to mark the cancelled Braw Beard and Moustache Championships event.
Limp Bizkit DJ Franko Carino joins Billy on The Braw Cast podcast, watch the episode HERE
The Braw Cast is ranked the 2nd best beard related podcast in the World by Feedspot, see HERE
Braw Beard gets it’s verified blue tick from Facebook
Marks 1 year of Braw Cast episodes with Billy Kirkwood as host.
For one day only, we offer the option of blue bottles to mark Danny’s first birthday.
22nd & 23rd May
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.
3rd year of university begins
Marks 9 years of Braw Beard! We release 2 new colourways of Brawbblehats, 2 new t-shirts, Anniversary21 beard oil and Tash Tickler Lager in collaboration with Winton Brewery.
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.
A Brawtherhood member, William McMahon and his family create a mini-film to mark the release of Mystery T-shirt 7 which is horror inspired. Watch it HERE
The Braw Cast Live event is announced to act as a placeholder for the cancelled Braw Beard and Moustache Championships on 19th Feb 2022. The live podcast will feature 4 special guests along with comedy and entertainment.
We host the Tash Tickler official launch party at Station Yard beer garden.
Santa Braws beard oil returns to the line-up for December only.
Braw Beard merchandise is seen on the WWE network.
Phew, writing this took way longer than I expected! Once I started looking through my calendar and photos, I realised I was in for a long night.
I wanted to write this to share this because we have fans who love following the brand and although that looks like an amazing 9 years, which it has been, it doesn’t show every event, every product release, every photoshoot, every interview.
Up until 31st Dec 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 I’ve managed to get a work life balance, even then 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, something which I am proud of at this point.
My mountain biking was sacrificed, I used to ride every weekend. This year, I’ve used the bike with a baby seat fixed to it for Danny. I’ve lost connections with some friends, but I’ve also made lots of new friends.
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 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 imagine creating, people who call each other family all over the world! All brought together by their love of Braw Beard products. Wow.
Let’s see what the next 9 years of the beard journey hold!
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 the 15th Feb 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?
Join the #Brawtherhood