Imagine having crafted, perfected and sold a 6 figure beard care brand… at just 22 years old.
That is exactly what Paul Lee, a young Korean-American entrepreneur, has done with his starter company HuskyBeard. What’s more, he plans on doing it all over again this time next year with another online store.
From a desire to grow his own beard to creating a popular beard care line, Lee has shown what hard work and lots of trial and error can accomplish.
Here’s how HuskyBeard came to be and what the future has in store for this young businessman.
With a strong desire to grow his beard, Lee stumbled upon Rogaine in 2016 and decided to document his experience with the popular product for one year.
He explained that prior to using Rogaine, he had a “pathetic, pubic-like patch on our chins, after a full month” noting that “most Eastern Asian males are bare-faced.” A desire to stand out among fellow Asian males helped inspire him to start his YouTube channel and document his journey to beard growth.
His channel did well, generating nearly 2 million views, and through this popularity he realized that he was not alone. Lee recalls, “I learned that hundreds of thousands of men had the same desire as me: to grow facial hair.”
Suddenly this young entrepreneur had a group of hungry consumers and an idea for a business. “I decided to execute the idea of a beard growth cosmetic and solve this problem.”
Almost immediately Lee experienced backlash from the YouTube community and was accused of being a scammer.
Despite the hateful and disbelieving comments, Lee pushed forward with his idea of creating a beard growth cosmetic. He would go on to spend hundreds of thousands of hours researching various ingredients, studying the science behind hair growth and interviewing various professionals. He had even put about $1,000 of his own money into the project.
However, all of Lee’s time and energy was about to put to a haunt. Under FDA regulation, this beard growth formula was considered a drug and would require a minimum of 8 years of experimentation as well as “$2,500,000 for it to be approved and ready for the market.”
It was becoming clear that Lee’s beard growth efforts were becoming less and less probable.
From Growth to Care
This was a major setback for Lee and he considered throwing in the towel altogether. But instead of giving up, he decided to alter the course – from beard growth to bead care.
Lee went back to the drawing board researching, analyzing and studying successful businesses and how to emulate them. He started up his first Shopify store, huskybeard.com.
“To test the viability of the business, I started off with the low-risk business model of dropshipping from Aliexpress,” says Lee. Suddenly he had found a “winning” product.
And it was “winning” indeed. Sales skyrocketed from $200 to $2,000 in just three months. However, this success was not without its initial setbacks including “very slow shipping times, angry customers, poor retention rate, damaged products upon delivery” and more.
It became clear to Lee that dropshipping his products was not going to bring him the long-term success he was seeking.
So, once again, Lee found he had to change his course, this time to begin shipping everything from his own home.
During this time Lee had to play the role of marketer, customer service representative, product producer and more – all while juggling an additional part-time job.
“Working all night until 7AM was very common during these times,” Lee recalls.
At this point Lee was “ordering only the best-selling products in bulk from Aliexpress/Alibaba, getting them branded by talking with the supplier, and dropshipping the other products” like combs and brushes.
Now it was time to think about his own brand and what he wanted out of his business.
The Creation of HuskyBeard
Lee recalls that he settled on the name “HuskyBeard” because it was catchy and he knew “everyone likes dogs,” – a fact that he thinks contributes to the large numbers of wives and girlfriends who purchase his products for their husbands and boyfriends.
To gain traction, Lee decided to do most of his marketing and promotion through Facebook – specifically Facebook Ads. “I told myself I would master Facebook Ads first before I touched the other platforms.”
Through Facebook Ads Lee experimented with keywords and popular searches related to beards and men’s hair care, narrowing down his audience to a more specific group – ie: those willing to try and buy his product. He notes that Facebook Ads can be difficult to get a handle on – in fact, it took him nearly 6 months of playing around to really understand and use to his advantage.
Slowly Lee’s Facebook ads started making him money and he decided to expand to other platforms like Amazon, EBay and Etsy.
Lee also says that email marketing really helped him get in tune with his customers. He would address his potential clients as “brother” or “man” in an attempt to be more personal. Lee would also take the time to figure out what each person’s goal was, the state their beard was in and what they ultimately wanted out of a product.
Lee is currently currently working with a business partner on another e-commerce store and is expecting to find success in the same way he did with HuskyBeard.
He is also still posting content on YouTube and even takes on a few clients every month to offer 1-on-1 business consultation.
“With these clients, I guide them on how to build their own successful Shopify store, how to implement effective branding practices, and how to succeed with Facebook advertising, brand ambassadors, and influencer marketing.”
His Secret to Success
In addition to endless hours of research, networking, marketing and trial runs, Lee also notes that in order to really see success, you need to be willing to give up ordinary comforts. “Anything great worth achieving requires you to sacrifice your comfort, your time with friends and family, and many of your hobbies/interests.”