It cannot be denied that female appreciation for male facial hair has grown with the help of famous bearded figures such as Drake, David Beckham, Jason Momoa, Liam Hemsworth and even Rick Ross.

The reality is that some men just look better with beards.

With that in mind, Rhaj Paul W, Barbadian designer of the conscious streetwear niche label Brand Evolve, has stepped into a whole new market with an ambitious mission, and his mission is to “Balm every beard in Bim, and beyond”.

 

Photo Cred: Photography by Benjamin Drakes
Photo Cred: Photography by Benjamin Drakes

As a popular bearded figure and established creative designer in Bim (more widely known as Barbados), it was natural for Rhaj to look for inspiration on social media; however, whilst he saw a growing trend of men wearing stylishly groomed facial hair, he noticed there was an absence of beards representing the Caribbean islands.

At the same time, the Law of Attraction kicked in, as Rhaj was receiving praise and attention for his own impressive beard, leading to a movie role offer to play a bearded Shaolin Master in Once Upon A Time in Ichirouganaim. Shortly after filming finished, he was approached to be one of the famous faces in an Addy Award-winning marketing campaign for FAME – an exclusive men’s grooming club in Barbados.

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As all of these signs aligned they led Rhaj to the conclusion that there was a gap in the Caribbean market for superior facial hair care products and developing a brilliant beard balm made perfect sense for him to do.

After linking up with an associate who specialised in hand-made, small-batch organic body products, the idea went through months of research and testing, trying out various combinations of oils, ingredients and scents to get the right consistency. Rhaj also worked on the branding for the product using his design skills and eventually, Beard Island Gang was born.

 

Photo Cred: Photography by Benjamin Drakes
Photo Cred: Photography by Benjamin Drakes

The organic balm currently comes in two scent options: the Red Blend, which consists of the essential aromatic oils cedarwood, lavender and lemongrass, and the Blue Blend which has the cooling essential oils, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint. Both blends have the benefits of nourishing, moisturising, repairing and protecting a manly mane.

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Soon after the product was ready, Rhaj promoted his beard balm using his social media channels and he began to receive orders from his followers. His vision to represent beards from the islands started to manifest, as those who placed orders posted photos on Instagram of their moisturised facial hair, whilst proudly stating they were a part of the #BeardIslandGang. This led to a ripple effect on Facebook when a mutual friend reached out to him with a prospect to supply his beard balm in Trinidad.

The international interest and demand for his balm at such an early stage has exceeded his expectations, as he has also attracted interest from the UK, Denmark and the US. Those who have contacted him want to know how they could get a tin of Beard Island Gang balm, and the fact it comes from “the islands” has made it even more exotic and attractive.

In Barbados, word of mouth has been a significant marketing tool, as he is often approached on the streets with requests for his beard balm. He now carries a few with him on his travels, so that he can fulfill any instant order requests.

Bearded men would come up to me and say ‘I heard you’ve got something for beards’ and when I asked them what they used, I found that 1 outta 10 already had a dedicated product, about 30% would ‘steal’ their lady’s shea butter, coconut oil or hair moisturising products! And the majority used nothing at all! The funny thing is, I was part of that huge untapped market myself. Up until my balm I used nothing much, but now it’s everyday. It made me realise that not only was there was a void in the market for a beard balm, but the void was created by limited awareness and limited access, and now my product was filling that void.  So for me right now, it’s like with some good money we could make some real money cause The B-I-G is only growing!”

When asked how he cares for his own own beard, his answer to that is simple. “I just tell them to give that thing some love man … and keep your routine simple.” Clean it (daily wash), feed it (balm up), and stroke it with love are Rhaj’s main maintenance tips.

Photo Cred: Melissa Chandler
Photo Cred: Melissa Chandler

With such a positive response to his new product and the growing #BeardIslandGang following on social media, it may not be long before Rhaj Paul’s mission to “Balm every beard in Bim and beyond”, becomes a reality.

 

For more information on B.I.G. and to place orders, visit the Beard Island Gang Instagram page @beardislandgang or email Rhaj at beardislandgang@gmail.com

Orders can also be placed via @Perfected.Class on Instagram.

Check out the Beard Island Gang’s promo videos

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