Eric Bandholz: The beard behind Beardbrand

You’d be forgiven for thinking this self proclaimed ‘Urban Beardsman’ was of another era, as he leads the way into a ‘bearding renaissance.’

A figurehead for the uprisal of the bearding industry, Eric Bandholz has his feet firmly grounded within what many perceive to be a trend. He believes the latest resurgence of beards around the world to be the establishment of a full fledged sub-culture that’s here to stay.

Hailing from South Carolina, Eric has made his mark on the bearding community at a global scale. Needless to say, it didn’t happen overnight and prior to his Shark Tank appearance, came very humble beginnings.

“There’s a charity called Beards BeCAUSE that raises money for domestic violence and battered women, I participated in that for a couple of years,” said Eric. “That was really my first exposure to the bearded lifestyle other than going for a few weeks growth between shaves.”

His fascination with the hirsute lifestyle led him to sharing his passion via YouTube (where he recently celebrated reaching 50,000 subscribers). In the meantime, Eric was pursuing another passion of his, business.

After many failed attempts, including another venture with his current business partners and co-founders of Beardbrand, Eric came to realise that an opportunity was right under his nose. Having built a reasonable following on YouTube and through his blog, a mention in a major publication was on the horizon.

Eric and his business partners hustled to get a few products up on the Beardbrand blog, hoping to generate a few sales from an article in the New York Times.

After a stint of reselling existing beard products, the team decided to take what was once a blog to a dominant player in the field of beard grooming. “Beardbrand is more than just me, or an extension of me, we’re trying to make it much more than that,” said Eric.

When asked about his thoughts on the public perception of beard growing as a trend, Eric stands firmly in favour of facial fuzz.

“I like to use the word ‘renaissance’ and firmly believe being beardless was a trend,” he said. “We’re finally coming to the end of the shaving trend that’s lasted for about a hundred years, 90% of guys had some kind of facial hair back in the 1890s.”

Eric’s affinity for the yesteryear is projected through his personal style, something of which he is clearly very proud of. Attached to Beardbrand is Urban Beardsman Magazine, where Eric and his team equip readers with advice on successfully living the bearded lifestyle.

You may be familiar with Eric’s appearance on Shark Tank where he faced a panel of much richer, less bearded entrepreneurs. What many of us beardsmen would’ve seen as a great opportunity was dismissed entirely by the investors who are collectively worth billions.

Despite being unsuccessful in securing investment, Beardbrand has gone from strength to strength. Business endeavours aside, it’s humbling to know that Eric’s committment to the bearded lifestyle stretches far beyond the monetary perks.

“It’s more about the man becoming himself, we wanna change the way society views beardsmen,” said Eric. “We just wanna get to the fact where having or not having a beard is a non-topic.”

“Beardbrand is obviously not a non-profit, but we’re excited about our sales funding our mission toward indifference,” said Eric.

It’s reassuring that even those who have found great success capitalising on an emerging industry, relish in the passion that as beardsmen we all share. It’s a brotherhood wherein we can all focus on doing something good through that which unites us.