Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - AMY COLES Re­porter amy.coles01@trin­i­tymir­

ATREND-SET­TING Welsh male groom­ing busi­ness went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia af­ter it started sell­ing fes­tive beard bells – and now they sell thou­sands a year.

Adam Wicks, 33, and his wife, Ni­cola, 30, from Cardiff, launched on­line store Gruff Beard in 2014 af­ter spot­ting a gap in the mar­ket for beard oils and balms.

But their busi­ness re­ally took off when they spot­ted two Aus­tralian men wear­ing beard baubles on­line – a minia­ture ver­sion of the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tion in their beards.

They wanted to cre­ate their own ver­sion and be­gan stock­ing packs of multi-coloured beard bells in 2015.

The prod­uct in­stantly went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia, was fea­tured on fash­ion blogs and the cou­ple were in­un­dated with thou­sands of or­ders through their eBay ac­count.

That year they sold thou­sands of the bells alone.

Adam said: “We weren’t pre­pared when it hap­pened. I woke up to £500 in my PayPal ac­count from all the eBay or­ders.

“We were post­ing thou­sands at a time. We nearly fell to bits. We were up at night pack­ing and my phone was go­ing off all the time with or­ders. “It did won­ders for our busi­ness.” It in­spired many copy-cat de­signs, but two years on the com­pany is go­ing from strength to strength and the £4.99 bells are still their most suc­cess­ful prod­uct.

In peak fes­tive sea­son they still sell hun­dreds of pack­ets a day.

Adam, who works full time as an art teacher, said the cou­ple have em­braced the prod­uct’s suc­cess and say they make great Se­cret Santa presents or stock­ing-fillers.

He added: “We have ac­cepted it. They are fun. We know they are tacky and not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea.

“But it’s dif­fer­ent and gets you into the fes­tive spirit.”

The cou­ple, who have two chil­dren, came up with the idea for Gruff Beard af­ter they no­ticed you couldn’t buy beard groom­ing prod­ucts any­where on the high street.

They now jointly run the busi­ness from their Cardiff base.

Adam said: “It started in 2014. I was grow­ing my beard out. I thought ‘I’ll put a balm on it.’

“I bought some off eBay but it was just Vase­line with blue dye in it. You could not buy a beard oil or balm.

“We cre­ated the busi­ness, and lit­er­ally within a week we were sell­ing up to 40 balms a day on eBay. Over the course of the next two years we built up. It was a big learn­ing curve.”

Dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son they are tak­ing their prod­ucts to Christ­mas mar­kets across Wales, in­clud­ing Cardiff and Barry, to sell as presents.

They will be at the Rhi­w­bina hand­made mar­ket and the PPodd Christ- mas Mar­ket in Pe­narth on Novem­ber 19, then the Vale of Glam­or­gan Christ­mas mar­ket on the 25th and 26th, fol­lowed by the Eden Christ­mas Mar­ket De­cem­ber 9, the Radyr hand­made mar­ket on De­cem­ber 3 and the De­pot Christ­mas mar­ket Cardiff on De­cem­ber 17.


Adam Wicks shows off the Christ­mas beard bells which he sells with his wife, Ni­cola

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