One company hoping to ride the stubble of all those new beards is Dollar Beard Club, which launched this past June with an introduction video parodying Dollar Shave Club, the wildly successful mail-order razor company that garnered tremendous visibility and traction in 2012 when its video went viral.
Underneath the parody and the beards is a unique and talented team of businessmen. While the long-term success of their company will depend in large part to their ability to encourage more men to grow more beards and subscribe to the service, the startup has succeeded already because of the unique and talented team they have assembled.
Chris Stoikos, the well-groomed spokesperson and co-founder of Dollar Beard Club, describes how the company went from an idea between friends to a fledgling startup.
1. Build a team.
Stoikos and his friends, all of whom are avid makers and DIY enthusiasts, work together regularly on projects in a shared home in California. As the need for additional services or talents arose, such as the need for a videographer or graphic designer, they would invite new people to their space to participate. Over time, they found themselves with their own co-working space of “eight bearded entrepreneurs,” all of whom eventually became co-founders of Dollar Beard Club.
“Surround yourself with great people,” Stoikos says. “Nobody can do it all themselves and having multiple opinions and viewpoints is extremely valuable.”
2. Build a community.
Stoikos estimates that the bearded population accounts for about 30 percent of men in the U.S. Although this may seem small in comparison to their shaving counterparts, bearded men are part of a tight community. Dollar Beard Club’s goal is to tap into that community by creating a sense of belonging and nurturing the relationships with its customers.
“By making your customers feel like they are part of something bigger than the company,” Stoikos says, “you build trust and respect, which ultimately leads to loyalty.”
3. Recognize when a trend is not a trend.
When the idea for Dollar Beard Club first came about, it was extremely difficult to get anyone to take it seriously. Many people to whom Stoikos and his co-founders pitched the idea believed beards were trendy and unsustainable.
The team stuck to their guns, however, as Stoikos explains, “This is not a yo-yo. Beards have been around as long as man, and the natural thing for a species that grows hair from its face every day is to let it go and learn how to manage it. Our larger goal with Dollar Beard Club is to encourage men to embrace their manhood and educate and provide them with the tools they need to do it right.”
4. Prioritize your single greatest asset.
As is clear in his 90-second introduction video, Stoikos is not a man who has a problem with his physique. There is good reason for this, as he is an avid health advocate who places great importance on his body and mind. This includes regular daily routines, a regimented sleeping schedule and strict healthy eating habits. This allows him to maintain energy for his extremely busy entrepreneurial lifestyle.
“Our bodies are no different than cars,” Stoikos says. “To get the most mileage out of them, you need to treat them right and maintain them routinely. I am utterly shocked at how many entrepreneurs I meet that fail to see this.”
5. Be passionate in work and in life.
As an entrepreneur, the line between your work and your personal life often gets blurred. For this reason, it is crucial that you pursue interests in work and life that compliment each other and that you are passionate about.
6. Don’t celebrate too early.
It's good to take a second and pat yourself on the back from time to time, but do not celebrate before the party. Too many entrepreneurs get caught up in celebrating and lose sight of the road. Be grateful for the moments of success, but know that it is just the beginning of a very long journey.
7. Stay positive.
All entrepreneurs will run into trouble at some point with their businesses. Perseverance is crucial, but so too is keeping a positive attitude. If you never give up and stay positive, you are more likely to find the opportunities that arise in difficult situations.
8. And finally: Be manly.
Grow a beard. Because you can. In case you have doubts about growing a beard, consider the utility they offer.
“My beard houses items when my pockets are full,” Stoikos says. “These items include spare change, toothpicks and raw black olives. My beard also goes by the name of Grizz.”
Grizz declined to comment for this column.