Materials Matter – Beardbrand

More than 10 years ago, I got the idea for Beardbrand and never knew where it’d take me. I always had a vision for what it could be, but sometimes reality can have different ideas.

To a certain degree, building this company has been about the things that bring me the most joy. It’s never really been about finding a market opportunity and maximizing it to all ends.

The result is a business that I am deeply passionate about, with amazing customers and a team who loves what we’re working on.

Could we be selling more on Amazon? Probably.

Would we have more customers if we made ingredient and material decisions based on price? Possibly.

Would there be more opportunity if our company name didn’t have “beard” in it? Sure.

But again, doing those things takes us away from why we are building this business. Our core values of Freedom, Hunger, and Trust have been our guiding lights since the beginning. There is an aspect of growth with our “Hunger” core value, but that’s tapered by our desire to be free and independent. Our core value of “Trust” allows us to build lasting relationships with an outlook on the world that is positive in nature.

Every decision is a test and an opportunity to get things right—or to get things wrong. We’ve made plenty of wrong decisions over the years and plenty of right ones. You can’t grow without making mistakes.

Our 10th anniversary is a time for us to look backward, which also helps us look forward.

I am writing this article in Denmark and admire the cities here. You can tell they’ve been built up over hundreds of years. You get quaint alleyways, unique building shapes, and a bit of charm. But the trade-off is inefficiencies and a city that doesn’t entirely run as smoothly as one being built for today’s standards.

For Beardbrand, this year has been similar to changing a city from the old European style to a new, ground-up, modern city.

We’re making that change by streamlining our product offering and repackaging our products. As we announced at the beginning of the year, we’re retiring Four Vices, Tea Tree, and Spiced Citrus fragrances. Many of those items have already sold out.

We’re also switching our glass and plastic packaging to aluminum, and I’m super excited about this evolution.

When looking at materials, you always have trade-offs. If I had a magic wand, everything we’d produce would be in a glass jar that couldn’t shatter and was lightweight. Unfortunately, that material doesn’t exist yet. It’s not safe to have glass shampoo bottles that are kept in the shower, and the fragility of glass means we must package it in boxes to avoid them breaking in transit.

When you start thinking about your impact on the world, you realize it doesn’t quite make sense to ship around heavy items and print boxes that will be immediately thrown away.

Plastic was always a material I felt we had no choice in choosing. It was safe in showers and for travel, but it’s such a cheap material. The nice thing is that it’s lightweight, so you don’t need the extra boxes for shipping, but recyclability is questionable. But at least we could get it in the same amber color as our glass jars and bottles.

Planning for the next 10 years allows us for that fresh look, and aluminum seems to be the better solution. It’s lightweight, feels great, requires no additional boxes, is very recyclable, and is safe in showers. Furthermore, we can use it for all our products—both liquid and solid.

The downside is the material dents easily. But, personally, I think that’s part of the charm of using the product. I prefer dents over the shattering of glass and the scratching and dulling of plastic.

**Some categories are subjective based on interpretation by the Beardbrand team. All metrics were considered in the decision-making process (hitting a baseball was not considered). A higher value was placed on some metrics. Metrics are not listed in order of importance. While plastic, glass, and paper are recyclable, we feel the market price for aluminum demonstrates a much higher recyclability score.

With the new aluminum packaging, we’re going to eliminate the “gold” and “silver” lines and bring them all into one family. We’ve been able to streamline our operations which allows us to improve our costs, and in a time of inflation, we’re going to pass those savings onto our customers.

So with the new packaging, you’ll see 96% of our grooming products have a better price per ounce.

We’re rolling out the new products over the next three months, and I’m excited to share them with you.

Eric Bandholz

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