“Turning heads and creating loads of Beard Envy.”
Christopher Sobel proudly served aboard the USS John F. Kennedy CV67 from 2003 to 2008. First as a Damage Controlman (shipboard firefighter), then as a Hospital Corpsman and ending his service as an ‘8404’ or Combat Medic.
During his time of service, Christopher had restrictions when it came to his beard growth. Since he’s been out of the Navy, Christopher has always worn some type of facial fur and for the past three years he has allowed his manly mane to grow.
“Anytime I shaved, I immediately felt emasculated and like I wasn’t me.”
Christopher says despite the fact that his wife wasn’t a huge fan of the size of his beard, “She knows it means a lot to have it.” Recently his beard has begun to show it’s age and is now peppered with grey hairs throughout. Christopher fully accepts the grey and would agree that it only adds to the uniqueness as well as the identity of the beard.
When it comes to life, people and beards, Christopher’s philosophy is to “Celebrate and embrace difference.”
The last time Christopher bought oil for his beard was in 2014. Although it worked for him, Christopher didn’t see any reason why he couldn’t create his own. “Being the type of guy I am, I thought to myself, I can make this,” he said.
He started experimenting with different scents until creating one that he really liked and would wear. The more Christopher wore his signature scented beard oil, the more compliments he received on it.
During this time period, Christopher’s daughter who has Autism, was in need of extra therapy that his health insurance would not cover.
“Applied Behavioural Analysis is a therapy to try and get these children suffering from Autism to their highest functioning levels to learn basic skills,” he said. “As a parent of a child with Autism, you celebrate all the small things.”
Christopher figured he’d give it a shot and put his beard oil up for sale to the public in hopes of raising some extra cash to pay for his daughters much needed therapy. “I was getting a lot of compliments about the way my beard oil smelled. People I met were really digging it!”
In April of 2014, Beard Envy was established. Christopher had originally planned to name the company ‘The Beard Dr.’ Definitely a good name, but then his Wife suggested the name ‘Beard Envy.’
“I was skeptical at first, wasn’t too comfortable with it,” says Christopher, but he gave it a go and has received only positive feedback about it. “I have to admit, she was right.”
Word of mouth spread as did Beard Envy’s popularity within the bearded community. People from all over the world are buying, wearing and loving Christopher’s beard oils and waxes. “I do it all for my daughter and genuinely enjoy knowing that bearded guys all over the world are wearing my beard oil.”
Shipping worldwide from Clinton, New Jersey, Christopher’s oils and waxes are presently being worn by the bearded in countries such as France, Germany, and Norway. “Australia and Canada are by far my biggest overseas purchasers,” says Christopher. “We get a huge response from London as well.”
All of Beard Envy’s oils and waxes are 100% natural, free from chemicals and petroleum. “All oils start with the same base of grape seed, safflower and castor oil.”
“Then it’s just a matter of adding different scents and combining them for each particular oil.”
Christopher pairs his oils and waxes by scent. “You can use the wax on your stash, the oil on your beard and not have conflicting scents.”
The entire process is very personal to him, even when it comes down to naming the oils. Christopher likes to smell the completed oil for a few days before coming up with a name. Once that scent sparks a memory, that memory will often lead to the name.
Beard Envy’s ‘Cabin In The Woods,’ uses eucalyptus and cedar and smells “like you just walked out of a cabin and into the woods.” His top seller, ‘Happy Camper’ is Christopher’s personal favourite and happens to be the most popular with the ladies as well!
“It’s a warm scent that smells like you are sitting in front of a campfire at night.”
Christopher is hoping that his beard oil and wax sales will continue to generate extra cash for his daughter’s therapy. He also hopes to raise awareness about all those with special needs and circumstances.
“Through education we create awareness. From awareness we can promote acceptance.”