Tired of sitting in front of a computer screen for a living, Tyler Goelz wanted to make something tangible. The 28-year-old web developer only had to look in the mirror to find inspiration.
Facial hair is back in full force. Whether they are making a trendy statement, or are just lazy shavers, guys are rockin' ZZ Top full-length beards, swoon-worthy scruff or even just a wispy hipster mustache. But men are arguably clueless when it comes to skin care, said Goelz, so with his own beard in mind, he knew he could help.
Soon after concocting beard oils in his spare time, he found two business partners, and Organic Beard Supply was launched about a year ago.
The St. Petersburg company started selling oils to men with furry faces. Goelz hand-mixes and hand-bottles everything in his Pinellas County home. And he prides himself on using only the best ingredients. After getting to know his indie market customers, and making a few recipe changes, the St. Pete native realized he could grow more than just a long beard.
But that meant moving his tech job to the side to focus more on OBS. Goelz hopes that toward the end of the year, with help from Kickstarter, he can expand the product line to more men's skin care products.
"Right now we're head to shoulders, basically. Soon we'll have a facial spritzer, beard balms and mustache wax," said Goelz. "... We're working on soaps and deodorant. We're transitioning from just beard care, to more just body care for men."
However, Goelz is quick to mention that he's not just selling products.
"We sat down and asked ‘What are we doing this for?' Our overarching goal is to improve human rights, and equal rights," said Goelz. "Right now we're finalizing a partnership with PFLAG," where some of OBS's profits go to the LGBT family organization.
Recently we spoke with the local entrepreneur about his morning routine and getting into the men's skin care business.
What's your beauty secret? What makes you feel and look good?
My mom always said, "Walk into the room like you own the place. And everything falls into place from there." That's not necessarily a beauty secret, but I can only think of what I do to cover up insecurities, rather than what makes me feel good. There's not necessarily anything that I do before I go out. I shower! Like, if I'm going out on a date, and I want to feel good, I'm going to shower. Don't get me wrong, I shower often! (Laughs.) That's really not that much of a secret.
Well, thank you. Showering is much appreciated.
Yeah, I don't have a lucky shirt or anything. I mostly wear black shirts. It's not necessarily about what I do to feel good, but how I can make me feel better about my insecurities.
So your beard is not your invisibility cloak?
(Laughs.) Not really. I thought about that. There's articles that say (beards are) an insecurity thing. And long hair, same concept. And I thought, "Do I have (a beard) because of that?" But I've had a beard since I could grow one. And honestly, I hate shaving. Well, I shave my head now. But I don't really enjoy shaving my face. I don't know, I think I look better with a beard. I have a baby face. But I'm going to embrace that when I'm older. I'll probably shave my face when I'm older because I'm going to want to look younger.
My dad has had a mustache since ... forever. I would never recognize him if he shaved it. Do you think people would recognize you without a beard?
With a shaven head now, I don't know. (Laughs.) Honestly, for me, I feel more comfortable with a long beard than with scruff. I feel like I look sloppy when I have (my beard) short. (And that would mean) I'd have to shave my face more often. But honestly, what makes me feel most confident is the advice my mom gave me. If you walk in like you own the place, make eye contact, shake hands, you've already won half the battle. Even if you're nervous as hell.
So, confidence is your beauty secret.
Yep, I guess so! That sounds so ... terrible. My mom's advice, that's my beauty secret. (Laughs.)
Beards are super trendy. How do you have a beard in Florida? It's hot, right?
Of course, but it's no different than having long hair, in my opinion. I've had long hair. When I was in high school, I had hair down my back. I've had long hair, and a long beard. I guess I don't know any different. It's funny, when I was in high school and had long hair, I would wash it and let it dry naturally. Girls would ask me all the time "What did you do to your hair?" Absolutely nothing.
But at least with long hair, like mine, I can put it up in a ponytail when it's hot. You can't do that with your beard.
I mean, I guess I could. (Laughs.) No. Probably not. But, to me, it's worth it. Not having to shave or even take care of scruff is worth it. Don't get me wrong, scruff is great. On certain faces. I have a round face. It does not look great on me. It just makes me look like I haven't worked for years. Plus, I don't have hair on my head. And I travel a lot. I'm not always in the heat in Florida. My girlfriend and I are planning on becoming snowbirds, 30 years early. Six months here, six months up in Bend, Ore. This is the first summer I've spent in Florida in about two years, actually.
Why do you think beards are so trendy now?
It's celebrities and magazines, like everything. (Laughs.) There's articles out there that say men look better with beards. But that's probably influenced by trends.
Like those articles that say it all goes back to our Neanderthal days?
Yeah, that all sounds like a marketing scheme. (Laughs.) But probably. I can say that I've seen men with and without beards and they've been attractive both ways. I just heard an analogy that was really great. You know the show New Girl? Schmidt finds a guy attractive, but Nick just didn't get it. He was like "How do you find men attractive? You're a straight man." Schmidt said, "If you wouldn't mind waking up with that guy's face, and that guy's body, you find him attractive!" And Nick was like, "I find that guy attractive!" (Laughs.) So, I've seen men with and without beards, that look better with or without beards. Some look better with and some look better without. I don't know if there's any science behind the whole Neanderthal thing, but really, it's marketing that makes (beards) so trendy. I have a marketing background, so yeah, probably marketing.
SCOTT KEELER | Times
So let's talk beard grooming. Tell me your daily routine.
I'll take a shower, and I use a beard scrub soap first, so I get the beard nice and sudsy. It allows the natural and essential oils (in the soap) to set into the hair and the skin. I rinse it out, and after a shower, I use the wide-tooth comb to get all the big knots out, and then I apply the oil, about a dime size. That's actually the same amount for all men. Our faces are generally the same size. It's not as much about the hair. When you apply it, you want to get as much of it as you can on your skin. What happens is when the hair grows out, it can absorb your natural oils from the skin — most women know this, but most guys don't — but it dries the skin, which causes itchiness, irritation and dandruff. The whole nine yards.
The oil actually mimics the oils that the face produces. Our beard oil is made of argan, grapeseed and jojoba, which each have properties for the skin and hair. Our products are actually guaranteed to prevent itch beneath facial hair.
So, anyway, get a dime size (of the oil) in your palm and rub it in. I go up underneath and I rub it in as much as I can. Any excess, I'll go back over and use a fine-tooth comb to get the smaller knots out. And then I'll use the balms after, and that's more for the shaping of the hair. It has properties that help the hair. (The balm) is more about the hair than the skin. It has shea butter, to give it a little volume, and beeswax to give a shape. And I'll run the comb through it after that.
Can you use the oils for shaving?
Make sure the shower is as warm as possible, to help open the pores. After your shower, apply the oil first, which again, it's basically a skin moisturizer. What happens when you shave is the tips of the hair become frayed, so when they grow through the skin again, they can cause irritation. So even if you have a five o'clock shadow or stubble, that still can cause irritation on the skin. Once you've applied oil, put the lather on and shave. And then you apply the oil again after you rinse everything off.
What else can you use the oils for?
You know, one thing I hear about out West, and the Midwest, are dry eyebrows. It's drier out there. But you wouldn't want to use this on your T zone. That's already oily. But you can use it anywhere there's dry skin. (The beard oil) is basically just a skin moisturizer at the end of the day. But the ingredients we use (in the products) are really for where hair grows.
Where to find the products: Central Oak Barber Co., 735 49th St. N, St. Petersburg; Gray Space, 189 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg; Bambu Eco Salon, 406 11th Ave. N, No. 1, St. Petersburg; Salon Zed, 19241 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz; St. Pete Indie Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 2, State Theatre, 687 Central Ave. N, St. Petersburg.
Cost: Beard, scruff and shave oil $12 and up; beard comb $20; beard, scruff and body soap $6.
This interview has been edited for clarity. Know someone in the Tampa Bay beauty industry we should interview for this feature? We'd love to talk trends, tips and business. Email Brittany Volk at [email protected].
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