FIYB Highlights – Ep. 98: “Show Your Real Face”

Eric Bandholz, Founder of Beardbrand, a men’s grooming company focusing on beard care, joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez and Marc Raco on the floor of the Innovation Center of the 2016 ECommerce Show USA in Atlanta, GA. This interview is sponsored by Alert Tech, a powerful tool for retailers to understand the performance of their retail stores and make better business decisions.

How The Urban Beardsman Was Born

Beardbrand was born out of a beard competition, where Eric learned that there was other people like him. The typical guy wearing a beard before was a woodsman, a biker or a hippy-type. From there he realized there was a small, but growing audience for beard-care items.

Reaching & Teaching the Beard

One of the reasons Beardbrand has been so successful is because they have developed their online audience, especially through their YouTube channel. Eric believes the reason behind that is because the brand is just not about selling a product but also helping guys feel comfortable–both physically and socially–with wearing a beard. Beyond YouTubem the site reaches out to customers on the site’s blog and through their podcast.

Facebook Killing the YouTube Star?

Eric explains why he likes creating content on YouTube more than on Facebook as the former better rewards creating content over time on the site. This leads to discussion about how video is used on the two sites. Pavan summarizes it as using Facebook to discover video content whereas Youtube is used to search for and find video. Marc adds that Facebook tends to generate more views. Eric asks about Facebook’s video analytics as YouTube is able to measure watch-time of videos.

Swimming in the Shark Tank

If you’ve heard of Beardbrand before it’s probably because of Sharktank. Eric walks our hosts through the process, noting that part of the reason the company got on the show is because they had a story to tell. (Always think about your brand’s story!) It was also that it was leader in the market since it was one of the first. Eric was also comfortable in front of camera after being on YouTube. Though he didn’t get a deal on the show, it was great exposure for the brand

Growing It Out

Eric had a core vision–to change society views beards and fostering a community. However, he conceived of the brand as more of a lifestyle and apparel brand than the men’s grooming brand that it turned out to be.

Be Customer Number One

Marc asks about how customer feedback and interaction has changed products and experiences. Eric talks about finding the balance between listening to customers and having your own vision. The brand pays attention to social media, but also recognizes that they are a leader in the space and get to define good beard-care.

Eric explains that he’s “Customer No. 1,” as in he’s living the lifestyle. He also test products with customers in the market, which how the brand found out that they should shift away from apparel. He also follows Nordstrom’s model of customer service, where they solve customers’ problems with few questions asked.

Featured image credit: Nychos


Alex Tunney

Alex is Managing Editor of Open Source Fashion. His work has appeared in The Billfold, Lambda Literary, The Inquisitive Eater and The Ink and Code. Alex earned his MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.