660
8 min 21 sec

Beard Oil Behemoth Expands to 35 Countries

How one man grew his $46 idea into a six-figure monthly sales machine selling beard oil.
Health & Wellness High Profit Product Tribal Identity

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What It's About

A Georgia transplant with an itchy problem turns $46 into six-figures ... using beard oil.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Experimentation & Product Development
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Although he’s experienced some major success along the way, Ryan’s not really sure if he’d have similar results if he had started Dream Beard today. Dream Beard’s success was kind of a perfect storm—beards had really taken off in pop culture (seriously, they were on baseball and basketball players, Duck Dynasty stars, and even the hipsters took on beard culture), social media for business ventures was still relatively authentic, and the market was severely less saturated.

Fun Fact

Dream Beard began on his father-in-law’s dining room table but quickly expanded throughout his entire home. It overtook the entire dining room. Then the kitchen, followed by the living room. Eventually, his father-in-law’s home was consumed by boxes, tables and shelves and had become their shipping and receiving warehouse. But as long as his pop-in-law could sit in his comfy chair and watch his favorite television shows he wasn’t bothered by any of it!

Notes from Chris

Episode 660
Ryan Lane is the founder of Dream Beard—an e-commerce shop that sells hair, beard, and body products—and he runs it alongside his wife and fellow beard enthusiast, Brittany. Although it was a humble project that they started with the last $46 they had in their bank account in 2012, six years later, this trailblazer in the world of facial hair brings in over six figures a month in sales.

But how exactly did they turn a $46 idea into something so profitable and with a huge, cult following of bearded fans?

Well, it started with an itch. The itch heard ‘round the world.

When the 9 to 5 grind just wasn’t cutting it anymore, Ryan Lane discovered that he simply wanted more out of life than his desk job could give him. And after talking about it at length with Brittany, the two of them decided to do something a bit hairy...

Despite this being the era of the Great Recession, Ryan and Brittany both quit their jobs and relocated from Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia. They wanted to be closer to family, and since neither of them had anything lined up yet, they moved in with Brittany’s dad.

They applied to hundreds of different jobs, but despite their best efforts, nothing came through. It was totally nerve-racking. For many, being unemployed and sleeping across the hall from your father-in-law might feel a bit demoralizing, but Ryan immediately got down to business—and this time, that business was one of his own.

Around this time, Ryan had what he called a “short corporate beard,” and it was itching like crazy. He tried a few products that claimed to help with that awkward, short beard growth phase, but nothing was working. They either left a funky scent that made his wife consider kicking him out of bed, or they just promised a lot without actually delivering results.

Not willing to give up his manly badge of pride, he started doing a little experimenting of his own. And these experiments led him to the wonderful world of essential oils. When he found a combination that he really liked, he started sharing it with friends who in turn shared it with their friends as well.

This sparked an idea—what if he created a product that could combat the pesky problems that come with growing a beard?

His timing really couldn’t have been better. Facial hair was in the middle of transitioning out of a “don’t mind my 5 o’clock shadow, girl—just look into my beautiful eyes” phase and moving into a more “lumber-sexual” phase. Since Ryan had already done quite a bit of research in order to look for a solution to his scratchy beard woes, he knew that essential oil blends specifically for beards didn’t really exist in the market.

So, in 2012, with that $46 in the bank and the small space provided by his father-in-law’s dining room table, something beard-ah-riffic began to take shape. He called it Dream Beard, and since Etsy seemed like a natural place to get his start, he signed up for an account.

His focus was aimed at drawing the attention and support of beard lovers everywhere, and his timing was perfect for another reason as well: it was also the rise of social media. Between leveraging the power of word of mouth and some very strategic social media posting, he ended up selling roughly 30,000 bottles of his signature beard oil concoction in the first year. And that annual bottle count has risen to roughly a million bottles sold in 2018 to beard growers in over 35 countries. Kid Rock is a fan, and so are the original bearded, sharp-dressed Texas legends themselves—ZZ Top!

His business isn’t the only thing that’s seen some serious growth—his “business beard” has reached great lengths and is now braided and down to his waist! (He once thought about trimming it, but realized that would be off-brand.)


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Dream Beard: Join the beard revolution and pick up a bottle of your own beard oil over on Ryan's website, and while you're at it, check out Ryan's podcast, Life Gets Hairy too!
  • Shopify: Ryan used Shopify to setup the website for Dream Beard, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
  • ShipStation: The amazing platform that Ryan and Brittany use to help them get orders out and delivered in record speed. They're also a partner of the show, and you can get two months free when you click on the microphone in the upper right-hand corner of the page and type in "HUSTLE"!
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Everything but now is a story, and we live for a good story. Social media and the internet have become nothing but noise—tell a story that cuts through that noise and resonates with your audience."
—Ryan Lane #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau