AFTER a run in with police, Paul Branham decided it was time to apply his entrepreneurial spirit in a law abiding manner.
“I used to grow a lot of weed,” he said. “Had a run in with about 5 branches of law enforcement one St. Patrick’s day about 10 years ago.”
Paul is a trained chef from Portland and the creator of Rex Wax, a humble line of grooming products he holds responsible for turning his life around. From the challenges of the drug trade to the struggles of small business, he knows what it means to ‘hustle.’
“I was at a hippy jam concert and someone decided to call me Rex. As I didn’t want to associate my real name with these illegal activities, it kinda stuck.”
Not one to regret anything, Paul has used his most recent venture as a means of redeeming himself. Rather than disowning the persona of Rex, he’s chosen to use it as the inspiration for the branding of his business.
“I’ve always been a sort of psychedelic minded individual,” he said. Perhaps it was a natural progression for him to become the “wild zombie man mascot” of the company.
It’s been a hard road building a company from such humble beginnings, but Paul is proud to have been on the scene since 2009. He’s riding the recent facial hair frenzy despite the hurdles left in place by his past.
“I’ve made some lifestyle choices that have made things difficult these days, such as employment opportunities or countries I can travel to,” he said.
As a man who is proud of his appearance, it’s no surprise that he’s helping others in keeping their ‘staches on point. “I’m an extremely vain person, the song is written about me, I know this,” he said.
In a time of struggle, Paul was down to his last 25 bucks and was out of moustache wax. Prioritising essentials over aesthetics, he decided to make his own. “I sold tins of wax over the bar while I was working and gave some away for free to the bands that were playing.”
Before long, moustachios were coming to him for blank tins with ‘Rex Wax’ written on them in permanent marker. A far sight from the high quality products he’s creating today.
Paul is quite the underdog, having found success in a number of ventures prior to taking on men’s grooming full-time. “I made jewellery out of chicken feet with my brand Fashionist Pig, and still do,” he said.
Side projects aside, Paul’s passion lies on the hirsute end of town and he’s a huge fan of beards and moustaches.
“I like that a beard gives you an elongated sort of face. I look at a before and after photo of a bearded man and can’t help but realise that they looked like a chipmunk, now they look like a warrior.”
Photo Credit: Travis Haight