WHAT A RIDE
I have only experienced one other emotional roller coaster like Shark Tank. Before we get into that, I'd first like to say how lucky I am for the experience and the opportunity to share Beardbrand's story with a national audience. All the people I interacted with at Shark Tank are top notch and the best in the industry.
The Sharks themselves are very fun-loving, energetic, and passionate people. For them to invest in so many budding businesses is a gift to society and I am lucky to have spent a portion of my life interacting with them. Robert, Lori, Kevin, Daymond, and Mark - thank you!
I can talk about what we are doing at Beardbrand for hours. We are so passionate about the company we are building, the customers we serve, and the community we are uniting. Before Beardbrand, beardsmen were typically stereotyped as lumberjacks, bikers, or outdoorsmen. Even though these are awesome beardsmen, I got really tired of the ZZ Top, Duck Dynasty, and Grizzly Adams references. I knew that there were guys out there who wore a beard, but didn't fit those traditional stereotypes.
Rather than wait for someone else to build the community, we (my co-founders and I) stepped up to the plate. We wanted to be more than a company that sells products, and instead we want to guide men to become the individuals they want to be (beard or beardless). For many of our customers, that means giving them the tools they need to grow their beards out. I'm talking about guidance on how to handle the growth of beards physically and psychologically.
When I worked as a Financial Advisor, I felt like I was living in a shell. Like the real me was hidden away in a cage and could only come out when I was among friends or family. It's not as stressful as someone who is in the closet, but I would think it's a similar feeling. As a Financial Advisor, you always need to be putting on a show - you need to look the part of a person who's capable of investing money. Unfortunately, the corporate environment wouldn't accept me as a beardsman.
What made my career challenging wasn't just the corporate veil I needed to wear, but the fact that my wife and I were struggling with infertility. That experience was and is the number one emotional roller coaster of my life. Infertility is a very private affair, and I'm a public guy. You don't frequently read about the struggles that couples have in conceiving, nor the tolls it puts on a relationship.
We tried for 5 years, and after 3 failed IVF procedures we were finally able to celebrate my wife's pregnancy in early 2013 - just one month after the Beardbrand store launched. That was a good year for us. It was at this time that I was most driven to build Beardbrand so that I could avoid the experience of going back to the corporate world.