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If you feel like you’re seeing more beards lately, you’re not alone. The beard-growing trend kicked off around 2005, gained steam in the late 2000s and has steadily risen ever since as more men opt-in to a fashion not seen since the 1970s. When the pandemic hit, and more people began to work remotely, previously clean-shaven men continued to adopt the trend. In fact, 33% of American men currently sport beards. Although beards are often seen as low-maintenance, the extra facial hair actually brings some unique grooming challenges with it. The beard trend means the beard care market is also booming, with many new companies joining in. Arkansas has its own group of bearded entrepreneurs.
Read on to learn how a few of these Arkansans stepped into the beard care niche and how to purchase great beard care products for your beard or the bearded ones you love.
Nick Hardin quit shaving four years ago. Once he did, he realized he needed a good beard oil to keep the hair conditioned and keep the skin beneath his beard from drying out. He tried a few oils from big-name companies but was dissatisfied with the service and quality of the product. He decided to research beard oils and make his own with more natural, high-quality ingredients. Once a few friends tried it, they encouraged Hardin to create his own business. Though not many people started new businesses in 2020, Hardin got Razor Back Beard Care off the ground.
He creates made-to-order products in his kitchen in small batches, which ensures the product is fresh. Hardin uses all-natural essential oils and premium-grade scents. He sells online across the U.S. and locally in Oppelo, Arkansas. Hardin’s motivation behind the company is two-fold. First, he wants “to help anyone that wants to buy top quality beard care products at prices they can afford.” The second reason is so he and his wife can donate to some non-profit organizations they would like to support more. Hardin’s wife grew up in the foster care system and wanted to find a way to support foster care in Arkansas.
Razorback Beard Care, Etc. donates at least 10% of all sales to non-profit organizations. Hardin has also received some positive reviews online with beard product reviewers (yes, it’s a thing). You can find beard oil, beard butter and beard care kits online at razorbackbce.com or on Facebook at Razor Back Beard Care.
If you thought one beard care company in Oppelo, Arkansas (population 735) was unlikely, think again. When Nick Hardin ran into his friend, Randy Sponer, after time apart during the pandemic, the friends discovered they had both started their own beard care companies. Sponer has sported a beard for more than 10 years. He has tried many beard care products and was an ambassador for another beard care company. He came to the same conclusions at Hardin. When he couldn’t find all-natural, affordable beard oil, he decided to make his own.
Sponer makes his beard oil fresh for each order. He doesn’t store any products and offers both beard oil and beard butter in pleasant scents. His products are all online and Sponer admits it’s challenging to get the word out, but he’s confident in the quality of his product. “We only make products made from naturally occurring, organic ingredients that are healthy for you and for the planet,” Sponer says. He also adds the products are not tested on animals, “only on bearded men!” Find out more at kabookybeardco.com and on Facebook at Kabooky Beard Co.
Jared Stewart dipped his whiskers into the beard care business back in 2014, but he soon got discouraged and located a local barbershop and salon, Sulfur Springs Curated Style, that sold locally-made products. When the local beard products company went out of business due to Covid-19, the shop asked Stewart if he would be interested in starting his company again, and Stewart agreed. He worked hard to create and refine his products until he had something he was proud to wear and sell.
Stewart, who is from Romance, Arkansas, says his goal is “to capture the deep roots of southern Arkansas in a bottle.” Southern Whiskers Beard Care sells in four shops in Central Arkansas. Find beard oils and balms at Sulfur Springs in Searcy, Diamond J Farm and Home in Beebe, Cuts and Colors in Heber Springs and Genesis Salon in Benton. Find out more about Southern Whiskers’ “Beard products for the ultimate Southerner” at Southern Whiskers Beard Co on Facebook or check out the products locally.
Though Stirling Soap Company is based in Arkansas, the genesis of the company came from a trip to Scotland. Co-founder Rod Lovan had just finished his last tour to Iraq in 2011. He married Mandy, who also served, in 2009, and the couple took a belated honeymoon to Scotland and decided to create their company while in the town of Stirling. In 2012, they began making soap.
The Lovans wanted to create a product that was affordable and natural. They make small batches of soaps, lotions, shampoos and a full line of beard care products as well. The company is as sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible. From their location in Booneville, Arkansas, the company has shipped across the U.S. and the world. They’re branching out now, as they dip into coffee sales with Stirling Roastery specialty coffee. Outside of their company, the Lovans have purchased the old theater in downtown Booneville and are renovating it in the hopes of opening a theater, candy shop and arcade that will provide a fun family destination right downtown. Find an array of products at stirlingsoap.com and keep up with new products on Facebook at Stirling Soap Company.
If you’re searching for a Father’s Day gift for the bearded man in your life, or you have a beard and want to support great businesses in Arkansas, check out these local companies and their products.
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