Which way does your beard point tonight? In 1956, Alan Ginsberg made reference to Walt Whitman’s beard in "A Supermarket in California." Almost sixty years later, beards are still a part of popular culture, and the Beat Generation is being revived through Famous Beard Oil Company, founded by Eric D. Lough. Now the man behind the beard explains why beards are here to stay and why they need a little TLC.
Westword: How did you, as a beard aficionado, break into the facial-hair industry?
Eric D. Lough: Well, I’ve always been a beard man. I’ve always taken care of my beard pretty well, and I have used beard oils from other companies. After being unsatisfied with beard oils, I decided to start making my own. I have a background in the alternative-medicine field and I know my oils really well. I just started experimenting with my own, and soon I was getting a lot of compliments on how it looked and felt. After a while I decided I should just start making it and selling it to others.
What sets your company apart from the rest?
I never wanted to be like all these other companies that sell beard products and other stuff; I just wanted to make it personal. I wanted to do everything myself, from the marketing to the designing to the printing. I have no team; I do absolutely everything for the company. I run Famous Beard Oil Company right out of my condo, in an extra room that I turned into my office. It’s filled with packing materials and bottles and oils.
How did you come up with the unique names of your oil scents?
Everything I do with Famous Beard Oil Company is an offset of myself personally, and I love the Beat Generation. That’s why one of my oils is called Urban Kerouac Blend, and I have another called Monk’s Dream, which is based off Thelonious Monk and my love of jazz. Savant Fusion comes from me being a writer and published poet, and overall I think I have an advantage of being able to describe my beard oils a little more personally.
Have people been receptive to Famous Beard Oil Company so far?
Well I’ve created eight beard oils that everybody seem to really love, and even Chuck Nazty — aka Charlie Blackmon, the Colorado Rockies outfielder — has shown his support for the oils. He liked my company on Twitter to show interest and now he’s using my oils.
What are the Famous Beard Oil Company’s next steps?
I plan on just sticking with the eight oils that people really enjoy and love using, at least for a while. I want to keep the company very beard-oil-oriented and not expand. If anything, in the future I might do a beard wash if I love what I can come up with. And people can catch Famous Beard Oil at a few different trade shows this summer. I’ll be at Man Craftable in the Baker District on June 20 and Harry’s Urban Farmer’s Market on July 11.
You've mentioned that beards are here to stay. What makes you so sure?
Beards have always been fashionable, especially in Denver, with the so-called hipster scene. They’re becoming more acceptable than ever. Men are taking care of themselves and the way they look with their style, which is where beard care comes into play. As a man who loves taking care of himself and grooming, I know. Beards are in, and people love them.
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For more information on Famous Beard Oil Company or to rub some on your own face, visit the company's website.
Let me see what you're working with: tweet me photos of your beards at @Laureneverytime.