Dressing for the Sharks
If there’s one thing my mom taught me, it’s that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This advice is taken to new heights when trying to impress over 7 million people and 5 “sharks.”
When we got word last May that Beardbrand was selected to present on ABC’s show Shark Tank, we did what every other company would do- we celebrated! The next thing we did was work to perfect our pitch. We lived the past 4 months as if each week was Shark Week. We divided up countless responsibilities and worked diligently to fine-tune our company introduction. One of my assigned tasks was to be the personal stylist for the our company presenter, Eric Bandholz.
You might argue that dressing Eric isn’t a critical task. I beg to differ. Beardbrand had 15 minutes to impress the world. We wanted to share who we were and what we represented within the first few moments after Eric walked onto the stage.
In an entrepreneur’s early days, they’ve spent endless hours stressing over the branding of their company. They’ve viewed countless logo drafts, website layouts, and worried about the look of their all-important business card (it’s all about the card stock, right?). While these are important, you can’t overlook the most important marketing tool: yourself. Or in Beardbrand’s case, Eric.
The good news is that Eric has an advantage. He created an authentic company where his personal style is seamlessly aligned with his company’s brand. He’s not forced to wear a suit and tie disguise. Beardbrand is a reflection of his authentic self and style. He would be representing his company and the beardsmen community that he has forged.
Eric’s 6’5″ stature and killer good looks (I better get a raise for saying that) don’t hurt! With a short amount of time and a handful of design inspiration photos, we began the fun (and strategic) process of reaching out to designers. By sifting through clothing, hosting private Bandholz runway shows for a small focus group, and following up with vague “do you like my outfit?” blog posts on sites like Reddit, we got to work.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the final selections:
Waistcoat: While Eric would look great in a traditional suit, he’s not a suit type of guy. Enter the waistcoat: a versatile wardrobe piece, as it can transcend dress codes from casual to formal. We reached out to our friends at Pendleton Woolen Mills, a family owned business that has produced exceptional goods for over 150 years. The waistcoat selected from the Pendleton Thomas Kay Collection provided a classic vintage gentleman look, and when utilized with the right pieces, it gave us a business savvy look with an urban edge.
Shirt: Nothing is more classic than a crisp white shirt, but for this occasion it wasn’t the right fit (unless we wanted to go for a Wild West reenactment look). Instead, we opted for a blue chambray slim fit shirt by Naked & Famous Denim. Naked & Famous is known for using very unique and rare materials from prestigious mills in Japan, and the results speak for themselves. The chambray’s mix of pale blue denim-like tones added a casual contrast to the very serious chocolate color of the waistcoat.
Pants: In a world where casual Fridays have taken over the workweek, jeans can still have a bad rap. However, when done right, they can add a perfect touch of modern sophistication. The pair we chose is a slim and tailored fit by AG Jeans. 30 years ago, wearing jeans to a business event, let alone an interview, would have been scandalous. Today, pairing jeans with a blazer (or waistcoat in this instance) has become a modern classic.
Shoes: From loafers to boots, we tried them all. We favored the trending rustic leather look as seen in current designer lines. To stay authentic, we simply settled on a pair of Allen Edmonds Clifton Oxfords that Eric already owned. Allen Edmonds has been making shoes in America for nearly 100 years using the finest of leathers. The pre-loved wear on Eric’s pair was something that we felt was genuine and classic (not to mention comfortable for long hours of taping). That’s a win-win for the sole.
Accessories: To complete the look, we needed a necktie. Long beards and ties have a love-hate relationship, as the tie tends to play peek-a-boo with the beard and can be a distraction. We opted for Pendleton’s Plaid Wool Necktie ,which matched the waistcoat and blended in with Eric’s ginger beard. A classic brown leather belt, by an unknown maker, was a necessity. Along with a full-grain leather wrist cuff, made by Leather Works Minnesota, complemented the distressed leather from the shoes and belt.
With or without a deal on Shark Tank, we’d be able to show the world Eric’s killer personal style, confidence, authenticity, rock solid company, and badass beard … 5 things the sharks could never bite off!
CONTEST ALERT! From now until the end of November 7, we are giving away almost all items mentioned above (or something very similar)! That’s close to $850 worth of swag. A total of 7 lucky winners will be contacted for sizing information. Follow the instructions in the box below. Good luck!