A BEARD FOR ALL OCCASIONS
For Jo’burger Mohsin Begg (34), founder of The Gentleman’s Beard Club, it was the maxim that “numbers never lie” which persuaded him to establish his start-up in 2014.
As a research analyst, he’s always had a keen interest in consumer trends and he noticed that men around the globe were investing in personal care and highend grooming. “My research showed that men in the UK and the USA had started growing beards and I knew that it was only a matter of time before South African men followed suit. So I developed my first product, The Gentleman’s Beard Oil, which became a household name. We now have eight more products,” says Begg, who holds a Master’s degree in information science.
However, he’s had to overcome a number of business-related obstacles.
“With a start-up, you never know if you’ll succeed. I launched my first product at a time when beard oils were extremely scarce in SA. Even though male grooming was on the up, men in this country were still sceptical about spending so much on personal care. I also had no idea about pertinent topics like packaging, where and how to sell the product and whether to venture into the online retail space,” he says.
All he knew for certain was that he was onto something significant with his beard oil – and, indeed, stockists soon opened their doors. Begg’s range of beard oils, skin- and haircare products is now available from various stockists in Johannesburg and Durban. Business is going so well that his premium offerings are being sold in Australia and will soon be available in the USA.
What’s attracted customers to The Gentleman’s Beard Club – besides its use of high-quality, natural ingredients sourced from countries like Morocco and Mexico – is the way the start-up differentiates itself in a niche market.
“It’s critical for any entrepreneur to be a disruptor and an innovator. That’s what success is based on these days. Others may try to copy you, but you’ll be the first to market.
“For instance, we have a product called The Gentleman’s Beard Club Growth Serum, which helps African hair to grow. We’ve noticed more black men are growing beards, and because that type of hair grows in a spiral, we have to treat it differently. This is how we’ll continue to be pioneers,” he notes.