With support from the Liverpool city region Enterprise Hub, The British Bearded Baby is now shipping products as far afield as the US. Tony McDonough reports
Walk down any crowded street and you are certain to see at least one man with a beard – probably more.
Facial hair has become all the rage for men and this has led to a boom in male grooming products. And it has inspired Merseyside-based entrepreneur Daniel Bridges to launch is own business venture.
Daniel has a beard himself and was disappointed that the array of grooming product options available on the high street shelf such as beard oils and soaps mainly contained synthetic chemicals.
When their first child was on the way, Daniel and his partner became more aware of the ingredients of the everyday products they were using. He explained: “I had used cheap products and honestly, I never really bothered to look what ingredients were.
“My partner became conscious of what was in certain products and one day this made me read the label on a product. I wasn’t sure at first if it was in English and then realised that it was just the fact that I had no clue what the ingredients actually were. After a bit of research I realised most of them were synthetic chemicals.”
“I decided to see what healthier options were on the market and although there were a few out there and when I looked into the certification they had it showed that, although they stated they were ‘organic’, in some cases they actually only contained 30% organic ingredients.
“I lost my trust in the saturated marketed already out there and decided to have a go at making my own and just have some fun with it as I went.
And so his business, The British Bearded Baby, which sells products for beards using natural and organic ingredients, was born. And with the support of Liverpool city region’s Enterprise Hub, the venture is off to a flying start. But it was initially a steep learning curve.
He added: “A little over a year later and many, many terrible blends tested (on myself!) along the way, I was pleasantly surprised with myself and the products I had created. So, why not share them with others and have some satisfaction in knowing my products were 100% what they claimed to be.”
Although still a one-man band, Daniel has enlisted the help of a team of ambassadors, mainly in the UK and one in the US, who help to promote the brand and products through social media channels. This has led to a growing client bases both in this country and overseas.
With no previous experience, Daniel admits that starting a business of his own presented its fair share of challenges. Not to mention the daunting task of tackling EU legislation to ensure his product was safe for sale.
Months of meticulous online research led him to Liverpool Library’s Business & Intellectual Property Centre, a partner of the Enterprise Hub programme.
Balancing his busy new workload between being a dad to son Henry, his bar and restaurant work, as well as perfecting his business model, Daniel decided to take advantage of Enterprise Hub, which can support businesses in the Liverpool city region who are in their first three years of trading.
Working alongside a business adviser, Daniel was able to adapt his business plan and begin looking to the future ensuring that The Bearded Baby survives and thrives past its first year.
“I found the most help was bringing me back down to earth and making sure that the basics and fundamentals were covered and in place,” he said. Starting a new venture can get very exciting and you can get carried away with ideas and plans, forgetting to build a solid structure for all this to actually stand a chance of working.
“I run the business from my home here in Liverpool, as I am mainly based online, location ‘should’ really be irrelevant but I have actually found my most loyal and regular customers are actually based here in Merseyside area. Feedback from them has shown this not only to be the fact that they love the products but they also love the idea of a local start-up.”
One of Daniel’s major challenges has been to fit everything in around his life and says the support network and family are the key to his success, adding: “Other than juggling the 20/30 hats that a founder has to wear daily when starting a business, I am a father to the most wonderful boy Henry and my fiancé is my rock.
“Both of us not coming from Liverpool, we have no family here and work full-time, so we have had to juggle between us parenthood and starting a business, but I personally feel that I am now art of the most amazing team I’ll ever be part of.”
And he offers advice to those also looking to take the plunge and start their own business: “Don’t be scared, it is going to be the hardest choice you have ever made, but you are going to love it. Don’t become a perfectionist as you will just waste time trying to create something in your mind that is never going to be perfect and you will miss out on so much.
“But mainly, buckle up tightly as this will be the craziest ride you have ever gone on.”
To find out more about The British Bearded Baby, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thebritishbeardedbaby.com
You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
If you’ve been inspired by Daniel’s story and would like to see how Enterprise Hub, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, can help you, then get in touch. Email email@example.com or call 0151 706 8111.