We hung out with Jason Kloess of Roosevelts Beard Co. at their facility in Germantown, where we had a chat about national parks, received a short history lesson on Teddy Roosevelt, and discovered a shared appreciation for Nick Offerman's sweet, sweet beard.
First things first. How long have you had that beard? Eight, maybe nine years? It’s usually a lot longer. I’ve been thinking about shaving it off, but I don’t think anyone would recognize me!
Is that how Roosevelts Beard Co got started? Yes, one year for Christmas, both me and my band mate received beard oil as gifts, and we started talking about how we liked it, but neither of us was in love with the smell or overall product. We were pretty sure we could make one that smelled better, so we started experimenting.
What was the first scent you created? Acadia -- it’s got sandalwood, cedar, fir, and clove. Nice and woodsy.
When did Roosevelts Beard Co start to take off? Our band name is The Roosevelts, and we started selling beard oils at shows alongside our merch. When we started selling more beard products than band swag, we knew we had something, and officially launched the company in 2015.
How long does it take you to make the product? Everything is hand poured, so it’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” I think my best time so far is pouring 110 beard balms in two hours.
So your band is named The Roosevelts, and your company name is Roosevelt Beard Co? Big FDR fan? No, Teddy! C’mon! Teddy is the manliest man there is! Teddy Roosevelt started the first calvary, killed a bear with his bare hands, and founded the National Parks system. All of our products are named for National Parks, and we try to encompass the spirit of each one with the scents we use. We also donate a portion of our proceeds to the National Parks Foundation, so I think Teddy would be proud.
Do you have a favorite National Park? Have you ever seen any wild animals up close? Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. And yes. Yes, several moose. They’re huge -- as tall as the ceiling. Standing, I’d come up to their stomach, and then add the antlers on top of that, and they’re terrifying. They will also run you right over, so you want to stay out of their way. I’ve also seen a few black bears. The closest I’ve gotten is a few feet away, and we all just sort of froze, and backed away slowly. Good thing it wasn’t a grizzly, or I’d be dead!
When did you start making candles? Are there any products you’re thinking about adding to the lineup? We started making candles this year, around March or April. Our bestselling candle is the Zion, which has aromas of vanilla, amber, clove, and cedar. It’s a pleasant, musky smell, and it fills a room really nicely.
Have you ever owned a business before? When I was 12, I started a lawn care company, and did pretty well, but it was mostly just to earn gas money for the boat!
What would 12-year-old you say if you went back in time and told him he’d be making candles for a living? Oh, he would definitely laugh and be like, “You’re crazy. There’s no way that’s correct.”
Was there a tipping point in your business when you thought, “Well, there’s no going back now!” We were featured in Men’s Health for their Grooming Awards, and also had spotlights in GQ, Southern Living, Men’s Journal, and Garden & Gun, and those all gave us some great momentum.
What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned that you’d pass on to a new business owner? Learn what you’re actually really good at, and figure out what’s best for you to delegate. You can’t do it all. Don’t be afraid to outsource to people who can do things better or faster than you, so that you can deliver the best product and service to your customers.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your work day? I love being hands-on, so my favorite part is definitely the experimenting and creating. Least favorite part? Emails and Instagram. I can’t wait for the day when we can hire someone to take on all of the digital marketing and content creation.
How do you spend your time when you’re not hand-pouring beard balms and candles? I like hiking at Fall Creek Falls and Cummins Falls, playing with my puppy, Maximus, playing lead guitar and keys in our band, The Roosevelts, going to the gym, and listening to Alex Judd’s podcast, Entreleadership.
If you could have any celebrity spokesperson represent Roosevelts Beard Co., who would it be? James Harden -- he’s a basketball player for the Houston Rockets, and his beard is fantastic. Or Nick Offerman. Nick Offerman would be awesome.