ADAM TAKES CHRISTMAS ON THE CHIN
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