From our Founder - Mohsin Begg
My name is Mohsin Begg, founder of a start-up called The Gentleman’s Beard Club. I am about to share my story with you about how this all came about. In the summer of 2014, I had the vision to start a side hustle while still being in a full-time job. I had the desire to create something that offered a customer a gift-like product without the need to re-wrap it again - in other words, a person could simply gift it to a loved one exactly as it was bought. The journey started on a very small scale, in the dining room of a one bedroom apartment, experimenting and crafting the various elements of a product which would later become known to many as The Gentleman’s Beard Oil – our hero product of the range and a product very close to me - close in the sense that I had no idea that a 30ml bottle of oil would be capable of having such an impact on my sleep, free time and occupying so much of my thoughts.
Then, there I was with a completed product, with ingredients sourced from five different countries, perfectly scented, that needed to find a permanent spot on the shelves of stores. For the next few months, I spent days and nights walking the streets. Literally with a bag of freshly prepared product in my hand I knocked on shop owners’ doors, introducing myself and delivering a 30 second sales pitch on why they should be buying a product they have never heard about. I already sensed they would think it was too expensive. Suddenly, from nowhere, I was this newfound sales rep with no training or education on the subject that is expected to sell a dream to people. It was tough but I loved every part of it! I was rejected by many, many people while others reluctantly gave my unfamiliar face half a chance in their store – and it turned out that half a chance was all I could work with. I found myself placing the product in as many stores that made sense to get the brand into and constantly followed up with owners to hear about any stock movements and customer interest. In a period of about 4 weeks, I noticed something fascinating – a few stores had recorded sales in their first month and that gave me hope in my dream.
The product had now made itself into the hands of customers and surely onto their bathroom shelf. Somewhere in-between, an online store had been set up as another means of distribution to get the brand to customers even quicker. It just made sense to follow the route of scale, which it did. Soon the brand was in over two dozen stores and counting, being featured in magazines, with feedback coming in from customers saying that they enjoy using the product so much so that they have purchased their second bottle. Over the next two and a half years, my after hours, weekends and public holidays were hours that I needed to scale and bring new ranges of researched products from the ground up. You can imagine that there were all these plans, with hardly any time to execute so that’s when I realised I needed extra pairs of hands. That’s when the process of outsourcing and employment began. Research and development, production, deliveries, hiring sales reps, social media management, photography and blogging had all been outsourced to capable individuals in order to give me time. Things looked in good shape.
But, I do remember the painful times; the times that make one weak, the frustrating phone calls trying to motivate a person to promote the brand in their store and having my request ignored; I also remember the negative feedback from some owners who didn’t share the vision of my dream. I also remember loneliness; you’re definitely on your own, don’t be fooled because I’ve learnt that not one person in the world of business would do for you what you need to have done for yourself. I also remember the times setting up at events, and not really making it as I hoped. These were all important to go through, I suppose.
So why did I do this? Three years down the road feels like the beginning which hasn’t even started. I can really say that being involved in this for the past three years has given me more life experience than the 10 years in a job, absolutely no doubt about that. There is a rush you get from the climb, the daily grind, the hustle being out in the open with no rules but your own and if you stall, you will be left behind so it really is up to me to make this something for you.You can guess where I have the most fun and where my eyes are. One day, I’ll make my move to bring you all of me, that I promise.
Take your time to look around our store, I really want you to walk away with knowledge on how to look and feel better about yourself. If you don't find what you are looking for, please let me know. I’m available at all hours on +27 71 551 4886. Even if you are not already a customer, send me message and I’ll gladly call you back. Nothing makes me feel better than connecting with you.
All the best.