ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALICE MARY HERDEN
In the beginning there was man and folks- they had facial hair.
When you hear the word beard you may think of Abraham Lincoln, Vikings, Lumberjacks or even ZZ Top, but the beard is becoming increasingly popular for today’s young men.
With a lack of quality beard care products available in the marketplace, two friends from Hernando County saw an opportunity for a business venture.
Best friends since their school days at West Hernando Middle, Shan McQuown and Garrett Homan, now 24, have remained close since graduating from Central High School in 2013. It’s not surprising, since they realized in middle school that their mothers had been best friends in school as well and the two mothers even took photos of their baby boys together.
“His (Shan’s) aunt and my mom were best friends at Hernando High,” Garrett said. “We have baby pictures [of us].”
“Yeah, I thought it was just some baby and it ended up being Garrett,” Shan said.
Shan, a systems analyst for Pasco County School District moved to Tampa after high school while Garrett, in the process opening his own car lot, moved to Land O’ Lakes. However, both young men eventually moved back to Spring Hill and became neighbors.
Soon, the beard growing began.
“I was a few months in of growing my beard and I wanted to see how long I could grow it, at that point Garrett started growing his,” Shan said.
Growing a beard means a demand for beard care products, and learning about keeping a well-kept beard, not only for personal appearance but also for the workplace.
Shan and Garrett found that there was a need for specific products designed just for beards as there were slim pickins in over the counter selections.
“You have to find a nice balance, because most of those products you put in your beards will be greasy, that’s not what you want,” Garrett said. “You want it to be absorbant, you want to make your beard soft and healthy.”
A hobby, experimenting with what ingredients gave the best results for their beards, turned into a business venture, which officially began in January 2018 with a brand launch in July.
“We realized the ingredients in these products are very basic,” Shan said. “There’s tons of carrier oils to take advantage of, that you can use for your beard and skin and really help make a good quality product. That’s when we started doing something on our own.”
Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy.
For months Shan and Garrett would test out combinations of essential oils to create their own unique scents.
“For example, we have a one called Crusaders Coast, and it’s pineapple and coconut, well they don’t make a pineapple essential oil, so you have to mix the essential oils to figure out what’s going to make that scent, that’s the hard part,” Garrett said.
Garrett and Shan would have their friends try out their creations.
“I think we hit something right, because all of them have beards now,” Shan laughed.
Each scent must pass an important test… it must be ‘female approved.’
“We do get a lot of feedback from my girlfriend,” Shan said. “There are some she doesn’t like but there are some she is able to give a whole new perspective on.”
“I enjoy the scents more than anything,” Crystal Anderson said.
Included in the Royal Beardsmen brotherhood is another long-time friend, Thomas Maynard, a software technician for Pasco County Schools. Maynard, 23, is acting as the brand ambassador for the company. One way he is looking to expand business in the county is through introducing their product to locally-owned barber shops.
“We don’t really have a brick and mortar establishment yet, so we thought it would be a great idea to see if we could branch into that atmosphere first,” Maynard said. “Our main goal, is trying to get out there.”
Shan remarked that their goal is to remove the stigma that if you have a beard you are not well-kept.
“So with these products you have the ability to give yourself a clean appearance and keep your beard well-groomed, nice and styled. That is what we are all about,” he stated.
With the new business taking shape, “It’s just surreal,” Shan said. “I never thought we would be doing this together and where we are right now.”
“Definitely over the moon,” Garrett added.
Meet the Royals Beardsmen crew at Marker 48 on Sunday November 25th @ 1pm.
Check out their product line at https://www.royalbeardsmen.com/