Cue Beardition's founder + CEO, Mark Williams. A business savvy, CPA mind in the healthcare world by day, he decided on his 30th birthday (circa 2012) it was time to try a new route. Influenced by his entrepreneurial uncle, he knew he someday wanted to run his own company. What he didn't know was that the idea for this company would soon come to him on a much needed, month-long hike on the Appalachian Trail.
As Mark continued on the hike and grew out his beard (first time beardsman) he figured there must be a way to tolerate the new-growth itchiness and gnarliness of an unkempt beard. So out of personal need, Mark thought long and hard on the trail just how he could keep his newly grown manliness in check, once he returned to civilization. There had to be a cool and useful way to use all natural ingredients (no way would he be adding chemicals + alcohols to his face) to condition and soften a fella's beard. Hmmm...condition a beard, beardition. Alright, a possible idea was born.
Kristin Schleihs, the Chief Creative Officer of Beardition and former neighbor of Mark. Not wanting to lose his momentum, Mark decided it was time to call an old friend and catch up over coffee, to get a designer's take on his idea. It had been about a year since the two had seen each other (Kristin had moved across town). Expecting the clean shaven, suit + tie Mark, Kristin was a bit thrown to find the fresh-off-the-trail, bearded version of her friend. Yeah, she had a few questions for him.
As Mark shared his new career freedom, trail stories and finally the kicker, his idea to create a beard conditioner. "A what??" Yeah, that was Kristin's reaction. "So I have a name for the company, Beardition...you know, like to condition your beard. Get it?" ::crickets:: "Ummm...yeah, good one, ha." That's pretty much how the first talk of starting Beardition went. As Mark mentioned he was already researching and mixing up formulas at home, it became a bit more real just how serious he was.
In the end, he gave his pitch to Kristin again, fully laying out some ideas for maybe a small line of 4-5 products to start. In need of a new creative challenge to go along with her standard 9-5 design job at the time, Kristin agreed to do the company branding. Little did she know she would soon be a co-owner and the entire creative department.
And there you have it folks, the story. It started with a month-long hike and ended with two former neighbors catching up over a cup of coffee.