Megan and Daniel are the creators of a new product called Beard Sauce. When we spoke they were in the midst of crowd-funding their new small business and have since finished that campaign and launched the company. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them, and I hope you will too!
Tell my readers a little bit about you guys.
Megan: I met him when I was in school in South Carolina and I was friends with this hardcore band. I would hang out with them and travel with them. I met Daniel because he was in this other hardcore band that would sometimes play with them and travel with them – so that was how I met him, but we actually didn’t really talk to each other or even really become friends until 2009. He liked one of my best friends, and I liked another person and so we became close.
Daniel: We both became friends because we were like, “Why won’t the people that we like like us back?”
Megan: So that kind of turned into…we got together. So our story is kind of fun. He’s an audio engineer at our local music shop.
Daniel: It’s a music shop and sound company. So we have a store and we do outside stage productions. I’m an in house engineer.
Megan: Since we’ve been married I’ve done a lot of things here and there. While I was pregnant and for the first year of Abram’s life I didn’t work, I was a stay at home mommy. I was kind of re-entering the workforce last year. I worked with Daniel at a sign company for a couple hours a week. Then I hopped on staff at my church to be the Creative Arts Director last October. It doesn’t pay, so all of our income was coming from Daniel. Recently though, I felt like I needed to apply to Starbucks because I’d worked there previously. I got the job about an hour after I interviewed. It’s been great because it’s part time, I work in the morning, I open, so I’m done by 11 a.m. So it’s kind of funding our lives while we do this Beard Sauce thing.
That’s so great! It also brings us to what we’re talking about: What is Beard Sauce?
Daniel: Beard Sauce – the short is that it’s a beard conditioner that she created for me.
I’d had a beard for…I guess 2005 was the first time I realized, “Holy crap I can grow a full beard”. So I’ve had one since then just depending on what job I’ve had. If I couldn’t have it I’d just shave it, whatever. If I could have it, I’ve had one since then. The problem I would have is that I would get dry skin un the beard and the dry skin would flake and I’d get beard dandruff [“beardruff”] on my shirt and especially if it was a dark colored shirt it was just a bad day. And it was inevitably going to itch, it didn’t matter what kind of shampoo, conditioner, or soap I used it was just always going to itch. So, she’d gotten into some home cosmetic type stuff and it was all oil based to begin with – facial and hair treatments – and so for kicks she decided to try and make something and see if it helped. And after a few days I realized, “Holy cow I’d gone through the whole day and it hadn’t itched at all.”
So then we got some friends using it to try it out and thought, “Holy cow, we might be able to sell this stuff!” So she started doing a little market research to see what was out there that was just beard specific products. We knew there were moustache waxes and stuff like that.
Megan: And there are different brands of oils for beards, there’s just not a lot, and they’re all really, really obscure and so expensive. And super hipster – you really have to search to find it, and then it costs $60 a bottle. One of the things that separates Beard Sauce from others is that you don’t have to have a special beard shampoo or conditioner and then you can use the beard oil. You can use straight up Dial – whatever you want to wash your beard and Beard Sauce does the rest for you. So you don’t have to invest in a lot, and you get a really great beard. It’s an all-in-one product.
So Daniel had this beard, this itchy beard, you made the product and then you tried it with some friends. What happened from there, after you had friends try it out?
Megan: After we had friends try it out and say they liked it we actually just left it alone for a little while. I don’t know exactly why, but I know I’ve always struggled with fear and that keeps me from pursing things. So I didn’t think we could do it – I was being a quitter and just really lame.
Then the local Moustache and Beard club was doing a booth at a Father’s day festival so I brought some of the Sauce and put it up on their table. I used baby food jars and just drew the logo on! It was raw, not attractive, and people were interested in it. We also gave out samples at 4th of July.
Daniel: That was after we’d made up our mind that we could do something with this, so let’s start to and give out some samples. Was that after that…?
Megan: It was a few days after that – I was having a really overwhelming week and not even thinking about a kickstarter campaign or anything and I just didn’t know how we were going to do this without getting money from somewhere – I was being prideful and didn’t want to do a campaign.
I ended up watching this TED talk about a girl who’s a musician and started asking her fans for things and doing stuff in return and it turned into this huge following that was successful and that was when I realized we needed to do this.
Then the Start Experiment started. You’re in the Start Experiment, right?
Yeah, I saw the tweet about it and thought, “That sounds like it could be crazy. So, yeah.”
Megan: YEAH! And the thing is, I hadn’t been on twitter for months and for some reason I just got on that night and was like, “What is this?” So I sent the e-mail not thinking I’d get anything back, and then I got his e-mail.
It’s pretty much changed my life. Beard Sauce wouldn’t be where it is without the START Experiment. We wouldn’t be having this conversation.
So, how has Jon and the START Experiment played into all this?
Megan: I’ve been following Jon for years – back since the early days of Stuff Christians Like. I think he’s brilliant and hilarious.
When the START Experiment started and we had that week where nothing was really going on – we were all just talking to each other. I was thinking, “I don’t know about this,” but then we started our indiegogo campaign and about three minutes after we launched it I put a link up on our FB page that said, “Alright, here’s my START!” and there was just a flood of comments full of love and encouragement. The first donor was someone from the START Experiment.
Then I met Melissa [our mutual friend], who is the coolest person ever, and knows so much, and has been so helpful.
It’s been a really big deal, the amount of exposure we’ve gotten, because of the Experiment.
You guys did an indiegogo. Was there any reason you picked them over kickstarter or someone else?
Megan: Kickstarter doesn’t allow any kind of beauty or cosmetic products. I read through their policies, and that was one of the only things you can’t do a kickstarter for.
Your indiegogo did just get fully funded way before the deadline though, right?
Megan: Yeah, seven days before the deadline.
Wow! Does it still go on? I know you don’t get funds unless you get fully funded, but does that mean you can’t go over the goal?
Megan: No, we can go as far as we want and on the last day it stops.
What does that feel like? To know you not only have the funding, but you have it early and will likely get more? When you saw that, what were you thinking?
Megan: I was actually asleep because I had to get up really early the next morning and I was really upset because I wanted to see it when it happened. He was the one who actually saw it.
Daniel: When it was coming down to it I just knew it was going to happen because it was so close. It would have been a little more climactic if we’d been at $1,500 and we logged on and someone had given $500.
I saw that it was gradually creeping up – it was still awesome when I did see it though. Just the fact that people had responded. We just said “Hey let’s try and do it by midnight, because we’re on the way,” so people just decided, “We’re going to help them.”
Megan: They were probably tired of hearing about it! We’d been posting about it on twitter all day every day.
I saw that, I really enjoyed following the campaign. You mentioned the local beard and moustache club had a booth at the Father’s day festival…is there a beard community? Is that a thing?
Megan: Yes. It’s all over the country – well, all over the world right now. Your local beard and moustache club. There’s probably one where you live, because we live in a small town.
Daniel: Our group isn’t huge. There’s about five or six of us. They have great intentions though. The guy who started it started it because he wanted – well he likes beards – but he wanted to give back to the community. They haven’t grown a ton, but it is a good excuse to get together and talk and have beards.
Megan: My hope is to be able to help them. Now that we have a little bit of an audience I want to help them grow.
Is the beard community a newer thing? Or is it just that it’s more recently gaining popularity?
Megan: I think it’s both.
Daniel: It’s not a new thing. The whole competition Beard and Moustache thing has been going on for a while. Beard clubs and stuff like that. It’s definitely become a little more mainstream, so you hear about it a little more right now. You’re seeing more interaction online through social media about it because of stuff like Duck Dynasty, and Axe men – big time shows. And that’s even mainstream subculture because they’re these country guys doing their thing.
On the other side of things, you have your big-time celebrities. I read an article that said something about beards being on their way out because George Clooney and Ben Afleck had these beards at some award show. Not huge beards, but beards, and they haven’t had them in the past. The article was saying they’re on the way out because Clooney isn’t going to wear one anymore, but the subculture is still going to be there.
Megan: Beards are going to stand the test of time.
Daniel: There’s plenty of people out there, I’m one – think back to the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, businessmen, political leaders, men had beards. Huge beards. Everyone had ‘em. Things come back around – I think it would be awesome to see a president with a bead again.
Megan: With a product that makes having a beard easier and inexpensive then I think it will make beard life a lot easier, and everyone will want one.
Megan you mentioned to me about how community has been important to you guys, can you talk about that?
Megan: 2013 has been all about community for us. Redefining that word through our church, and everything we do.
Daniel: Our church is big on community and we promote community groups.
Megan: In our personal lives we spend a lot of time together. Helping each other, fighting with each other.
Daniel: It’s because of that, trying to live like the church in Acts. We don’t live on a compound together, but we are living life together and holding each other accountable. It can be financial, spiritual, whatever – just being there for one another.
Through the discipline of “let’s be in community together” we’ve really come to appreciate community. At first it’s not a fun thing because you’re going, “We have to take a day out of my week to go talk with people that we’re not really friends with, but we’re becoming friends with…” but we slowly started building these relationships.
Megan: So when we approach things now, we approach it with “How can we approach this as a community?” That’s my hope for Beard Sauce. That we create a community for people with beards – but also for people without them.
The purpose for Beard Sauce is to create the best beard product out there, but also to fund community restorative projects. We want to start right away promoting community by helping community. If we communicate that clearly and well from the beginning then hopefully people will want to jump on.
I love that. I think it’s important. I think we compartmentalize our communities of work, church, friends, and I like that you guys are figuring out how all your communities can come together.
Daniel: It’s been really interesting to see. I was looking yesterday and saw on our twitter followers and a lot of them are from the START Experiment and a lot of them are Christians. So on their bio or whatever it will say “Child of God”, or what have you.
But then you look at the other half of our followers and they’re these beard clubs and bearded folks and a lot of them are decidedly not Christian and opposed to it. You can see it in their descriptions too. “Atheist and proud” or something like that. So we’re establishing relationships on both sides of the spiritual spectrum.
Why do you think it’s important that your faith influence the things we’re doing that aren’t inherently faith driven? Like starting a small business.
Megan: Our faith is our identity. Our identity is in Christ, so in everything we do we’re going to approach it with that mindset. At this point in my life it’s impossible to separate spirituality from everything else I do.
Yes this is a business. Yes we want to sell a product. It’s not worth compromising what we believe in though.
Daniel: One big thing I’ve thought about with all this is that in the beard community there’s almost an alienation of people who don’t have beards. Some guys don’t have beards because they don’t want to grow one; some guys don’t have beards because their wives won’t let them have one, some guys just can’t grow beards. A lot of these beard enthusiasts tend to alienate people who don’t have them with jokes – are a funny – but like, “If you don’t have a beard, you’re not a man”.
Melissa: And that’s not true!
Daniel: And just the idea that beards are manliness, and if you don’t have a good beard how are you going to be a man? If you don’t have one, grow one so you can be a man. The jokes can be funny, but they’re not at all true.
There’s a lot of adult little boys who are out there with beards. Something I’m really passionate about is men stepping up and being men. Whether you have or can grow a beard doesn’t matter. Especially when it comes to family. I try to put Christ above my family because I will then be a better husband and father. If I’m not worshipping him first then I’m worshipping her, or my son, and they’re not God and they’re going to fail me and I’m going to be disappointed.
So that’s me spiritually and what I believe. Whether you’re a Christian or not I think that what a man should do for his wife is universal. If your wife isn’t satisfied then examine yourself and make sure you’re not a part of the reason. And the same with being a dad, looking at that and figuring out what it means to be a dad and a man. I obviously have my Christian view of what that looks like, but there’s also some universal truths to what a dad’s responsibility to his kids are.
I’m excited because I think I’ll be able to use Beard Sauce as a platform to talk about those things, and not alienate people without beards. Just being able to communicate that just because you have a beard doesn’t make you a man, but also just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you’re not.
Megan: Beard doesn’t equal man!
Daniel: Just being able to say, “Here is what a man should do.” I’m not claiming to have figured it out by any means, but I know that I fight for being a better husband and father. But I know people who are friends of mine that I would ask, “Are you really working and fighting to be the best husband and father you can be? Or are you just settling?”
In my short time talking with you guys I can tell that your faith is important to what you’re doing, and I love that. It makes me want to grow a beard to use your product, or buy it for the beard haver in my life!
Megan: You can also use it to shave with! It is for everyone – you could even wash your face with it! We’re to work on cross marketing it that way as well.
You’ve got your product, you’re funded, when and where can people get Beard Sauce?
Megan: Because it’s completely funded we’ve started getting money in our paypal – we don’t have to wait until the last day. We’re going to start ordering stuff to make the product right away.
Our goal is to launch the website on August 1st. BeardSauce.me, so “beard sauce me”. So we’re be open for business in less than a week.
Daniel: That’s our goal for that, but it will probably be around the end of August before the product is shipping. We have to do a first initial run of a lot of it. We have to make sure the distributers of our ingredients are in stock.
Megan: I know we’re going to hit some bumps in the road because this is all the first time we’ve done it on this scale. Hopefully everyone will be really understanding and gracious.
There’s this lady I follow on instagram who makes hand-made moccasins for kids. Kim Kardashian ordered a pair of them off of her Etsy site and she exploded! It took months for her to get shipments out because she was hand making them! She had to get a bunch of friends who sewed and sew day and night for weeks. She just kept apologizing and working.
So people can find you guys on August 1st at www.beardsauce.me; where else can people find you?
Megan: Facebook.com/beardsauce, twitter.com/beardsauce, we’re working to get the name on instagram right now. We’d made ourselves a brand and gotten the other names and then a week later that handle showed up on instagram.
Daniel: Facebook and twitter are the biggest things, we’re going to try for instagram, and we got the vine just in case.
Megan: Once we make a bit of a profit we’ll probably pay a friend to handle the social media side of things for us. We want to have a big social media presence, but it’s a lot of work.
One last question Daniel: What advice do you have for the aspiring beard grower?
Daniel: The biggest thing is just to stop shaving. Don’t try to shape it unless you have to for work or something. If you’re not careful with the shaping you’re going to end up with a chinstrap and that’s not what you’re going for. Other than that, you just have to push through the itchy stage-
Megan: But not with Beard Sauce!
Daniel: If you can get a month in without doing anything to it you’ll be set to start shaping it and pick a style and everything. Be careful with your mustache. It’s going to curl and get in the way and you’ll want to trim it. The size of the mustache helps the way the beard looks – if you have a big full mustache then your beard is going to look fuller.
Then, just being mindful of the crumbs and water droplets you’re going to get.
Thanks for taking the time to read – I hope you’ll check out and connect with Megan, Daniel, and Beard Sauce.
Grace & Peace,