Are Beards the Decline of American Culture?

At Beardbrand, we know that it’s our job to produce the best beard care products out there. As a fellow beardsman and editor of Urban Beardsman Magazine it’s my job, and the job of all of us, to show the world what we represent as a bearded community.

Coming down from the high of positive press from publications like Forbes & Fast Company, our local newspaper, the Spokesman Review, recently published the article: “Beardism: A lifestyle or the decline of culture?” In this article, Shawn Vestal questions the validity of the bearded lifestyle, and asks Beardbrand Founder Eric Bandholz to “turn it down a notch or two.”

As I write this, UB Magazine is fast approaching over 100,000 monthly readers. We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support for our “little” bearded community, and this increase in readership is reassurance that we are on the right path, but there’s still work to be done. Because of you, our customers and readers, we will never stop the fight to end the negativity that exists toward the bearded guy and the bearded lifestyle. This is our promise to each of you.

The following is our response to Shawn Vestal’s “Beardism: A lifestyle or the decline of culture?” published on the front page of the Spokesman Review, November 15, 2014:

November 17, 2014

Dear Spokesman Review,

On behalf of myself (editor of Urban Beardsman Magazine), Beardbrand Founder Eric Bandholz, and everyone else at Beardbrand, thank you for publishing Shawn Vestal’s commentary questioning the validity of the bearded lifestyle and highlighting our company, Beardbrand.

As a leading beard care products company and advocate for the bearded lifestyle, Beardbrand has been incredibly visible in the press. We’ve received an amazing outpouring of support nationwide for what we are accomplishing, and this is something we will never take for granted. The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and, most recently, Fast Company, have all covered our story. Imagine our surprise, and excitement, when a Spokesman writer lands a front-page story questioning our company and what we represent.

Yes, Beardbrand is an advocate for the bearded lifestyle, and yes we strive to break down the typical stereotypes of beardsmen that are mentioned in the article (lazy, self-centered, apathetic, etc.). The bearded lifestyle we promote is much more than guys with facial hair. It’s about guys that are family-oriented, involved in their communities, career-driven, and stylish. Are these traits contributing to the “decline and fall of the entire American culture?” Nah … but “curmudgeonly attitudes” could be.

The bearded community that we have forged is impressive. It’s made up of hundreds of thousands of men with beards, men who want beards, and men and women who simply support the awesome lifestyle we represent. When a Spokesman writer, a bearded writer I might add, asks us to “turn it down a notch or two” we view this as an exciting challenge–It means we still have a lot more to accomplish in terms of getting our word out. We accept his challenge head (or beard)-on.

While it is true that Eric Bandholz has relocated to Austin, Texas, our company is still very active in Spokane. A handful of employees reside here (including myself). In addition, our distribution center in Spokane Valley continues to ship out thousands of orders each month and our manufacturing plant still remains in Airway Heights, churning out thousands of bottles of Beardbrand Beard Oil and tubes of Mustache Wax on a weekly basis. Since Beardbrand’s first day of sales (around $10) shipped out from a South Hill home, to our most recent month of over $200,000 in sales, Spokane and its residents have been a gift to our company.

Just as the world has experienced a bearded renaissance in recent years, Spokane has experienced an entrepreneurial renaissance. Business incubators, local mentors, Spokane Start-Up Weekends, and other local business groups have played a key role in the creation and growth of our amazing company. In a region where the recruitment of innovative large-scale companies has been a challenge, Spokane has realized that small business plays a vital role in our economy and the future of our incredible community as a whole. Beardbrand has been recognized as a pioneer in this newly created entrepreneurial culture that Spokane has embraced. We will continue to mentor other Spokane start-ups, educate area college students, share our success secrets with members of the business community, and use our mistakes to help forge the path of success for other Spokane start-ups. And we think that’s awesome.

At the end of his article, Vestal asks the question, “who cares?” We would love to answer his question! All of us at Beardbrand care, hundreds of thousands of Beardbrand supporters care, and, well, based on the fact he took the time to write the article, we have a sneaking suspicion that Vestal himself cares.

With this article, he’s presented us with the thrilling challenge to do a better job getting the word out about the bearded lifestyle. In return, we’d like to present Vestal a challenge of our own: Go beyond the “about” section of our website, put your stereotypes aside and do some research, ask others what the lifestyle means to them, dive into the information we continue to provide our followers at, read the stories about how we are changing lives one beard at a time, and celebrate an incredible company that will have a lasting impact on the Spokane business community.

Shawn, while you might have always had a great man mane for most of your lifetime, by embracing the modern-day bearded lifestyle with an open mind you might find ways to further your leadership skills, confidence, and style. When that happens, reach out to us and we’d be honored to include you as an Urban Beardsman Profile within our online magazine. We’d even consider publishing you on the front page.

Beard On!

Currie Corbin
Spokane, WA


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