Fall beards. If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon yet, I’m sure you’re not alone. For some, it’s kind of a new thing. However, I will caution you against confusing the Fall Beard tradition with a current trend (think manbun). As long as I can remember, men in my family have grown beards in the fall, only to cut them off later in the year--some did so at the immediate end of hunting season (with no-so-silent urging from the wife), while others waited until spring. Still, year after year the beards showed up and disappeared as if on some sort of schedule.
This is the tale of one very lucky Fall Beard. This seasonal habit--or maybe a tradition if you want to split that hair--is the one that changed Eric’s life (and mine for that matter). In the fall of 2013, Eric’s Fall Beard is what drove him to formulate and bottle our first Mountaineer Brand beard oil. Eric said that he had always wanted to keep his Fall Beard, but eventually got frustrated and shaved it. Frustrated with what, you ask? Frustrated with trying to make his beard look good. His beard became unruly after a while and he always ended up looking like he had been wrastlin’ a bar and pert-near wun (that’s WV speak for wrestling a bear and almost winning--that’d be one messy beard, huh?).
Beard oil was beginning to make its way to the market and there was a little bit of a buzz beginning to surround the beard trend and the accompanying beard oil market; the market, at the time, was very different than it is today. In 2013, there were only a few companies who were making and selling beard oils and conditioners and they were doing so at boutique prices, making this search for a solution to a bristly beard an uphill climb.
Determined to keep the beard, the exasperation and the economic constraints were just enough for Eric to focus his energy in another direction. In the end, he concluded that if given enough research and experimentation he could come up with a product that was every bit as good, or better than, any already on the market. So he did. What luck for everyone of us that Eric tends to be single-minded and focused when he makes a decision.
I saw a few articles that debated the merit of a Fall Beard; a few bearded gents weighed in on the pros while others chimed in on the cons. Of course, what it comes down to is preference (and that of your spouse or the one who has to kiss your face). But I would like you to consider this. Is it possible that a Fall Beard can be lucky? You tell me. Mountaineer Brand sprang to life from this perfect storm of events and has been gaining speed since with no signs of slowing down. And to think, it all started Once Upon A Fall...
Our evolution from the baby steps in Eric's kitchen to our current space has been thorough and will never be complete. We are in a constant state of change. Some of the changes are easier to trace than others. Take a look at some of our first labels:
Without changing our labels from this, our first attempt, Mountaineer Brand would not be what you know it to be today.
After adopting our iconic logo (below), we added stories to our first 3 oils (Timber, Coal, and Barefoot). The labeling requirements left little room for the stories, but we're still fond of them.