Although Beardsgaard Barbers has been open for only four months, it has been alive in our hearts and minds for the last two years, the name coming to us like a bolt of lightning straight from Thor in December of 2012.
Even until April of this past year, we still assumed we were going to be opening our shop in the summer of 2015. But life had other plans, as each piece of the puzzle began to fall into place so far ahead of schedule, we knew the time was right.
So we stepped off the cliff of security that being, you know, EMPLOYED brings, and with meager savings, a bunch of credit cards, a little help from our (family and) friends, and almost no idea what we were doing, we decided to open our own barbershop. Yes, we were totally going to do this.
At that point, our mantra became, “Whee, hope we don’t die!” And we didn’t. Thanks to all of you, we blew past all of our first year projections in the first couple of months, and it looks like we’re still alive in 2015.
We have fielded so many questions over the last few months about the shop, how it came to be, and even, golly, some about our life outside the shop. So here is our year so far.
When: Tyler worked his first hair show, we started exploring Geneva, Batavia and Saint Charles real estate, found out that one really needs to not work around flying hair the day after getting forearm tattoos, and winter sucked.
When: Natalie was still driving five days a week through one of the worst winters in Chicago history from Palatine to Wicker Park, on 90, sometimes up to three hours round trip each day – the Sun Times interviewed her for a piece about beards and her chair exploded, Morgan lost some awkward teeth, we hung with the Evil Barbers of Pete’s Barber Shop and Tyler helped out at their 12-hour cutting marathon, and Morgan was awesome.
When: We filmed our first video (terribly) in our old apartment’s living room, launched the website and put up our first post on the blog, found out Edna is terrified of snowmen, the weather freaked the fuck out, the Blue Line (Natalie’s clients’ main mode of transportation) freaked the fuck out, and Natalie took a dual-birthday selfie with Herb, her coolest client ever.
When: Natalie got to meet the lion-haired Hobbit cast member that is the badass proprietor of the esteemed Captain Fawcett brand, and we found our shop and house on the very same day – two blocks away from each other. It was set.
When: We finally got to go to Bien Trucha and Morgan chowed hard, we named the raccoon living 30 feet up in the tree outside our house Cosgrove, we stripped an ass ton of old wallpaper, and our old apartment decided to rip up all the ground parts (including everything in front of our second floor door, meaning we had to go live with Natalie’s parents for a minute) for 10 days before we moved. This was the moving day scene.
When: Our new life started in Batavia in our heaven house (built in 1856) with a tire swing outside, Morgan turned 6 and had two birthday parties, and we started building our shop – while still working in Park Ridge and Wicker Park.
When: We just kept on building and occasionally took breaks to bounce around all over the river areas in this beautiful trio of towns, we had a damn July Polar Vortex, Morgan loved Army of Darkness, we got to know our bestest neighbor friends at Fallen Star Tattoo, crept around Fermilab takin’ pictures, (more on THAT further down this post), flopped around the permit office a lot, took Edna for her first swim at the most magical dog park ever, demolished our wallets at the Farmer’s Market, and dug into history.
When: We made a significantly better video for our Indiegogo campaign with the help of the obscenely talented Mike Stephen, kept on working our old jobs as well as night and day in the shop, Morgan started school, we started collecting more nerdery, we got challenged to the Ice Bucket thing but Gizmo was the best we could do with no daylight hours to spare, finally started the plumbing, TORMUND FUCKING GIANTSBANE, we built a wall (ha), got a whole bunch of product (yay!), we set a date, our last day of work at our long-time shops with many sad goodbyes, and our second wedding anniversary the next day.
When: We made a seriously rather cute movie with mustaches and cupcakes and bearded little girls, we mudded, Tyler officiated a wedding in Gandalf robes, we officially opened for business, were featured in the Kane County Chronicle, made a chair not pink, had our yearly photo shoot with our photographer for life Bobbie, wrapped up our Indiegogo campaign, made some beer-related plans and friends, kicked some nerdy trivia ass, groomed multiple Santas at once, had a great visit with Evil Barber Pete, and Shopkeep Colin showed us why we pay him to fuck around on the internet all day.
When: Shopkeep got his first proper shave, our Grand Opening party was a rousing success, we had our first radio interview on WGN, the Fermilab romance began, a trip to the Blue Box Cafe, the first Beardsgaard shave bowls and mugs from Cat Ceramics, Halloween happened hard, Morgan learned how to sharpen shears, and we filmed the greatest video creation we have made thus far with those yahoos next door.
When: We branded the shopkeep next door at Fallen Star Tattoo, premiered They Came from the Parking Lot, made a video showing you how to blow your nose while also having a large mustache, Santa came to visit, Tyler got started on his sleeve with Ryan at Fallen Star Tattoo next door, our occasional shop dog teddy beared all over everyone, the power went out, more Santas, Shopkeep cleaned up blood out front from a previous night’s bar fight, we dappered up a Viking, saw some more press, had some great families in to get cleaned up, sick kids for Thanksgiving, and even more press.
When: We were visited by the lovely Ortiz family (who are responsible for us getting a hold of our antique barber chairs) of Antique Taco in Wicker Park, Corey Strange of A Thin Line Tattoo, childhood friends with kids of their own, kids too cool for school or anything else, we did some tree trimming, hired another barber, set up some unsettling vignettes, shopped local for Christmas, premiered the co-branded Claus beard line of products with Merlin’s Beard, were interviewed for an article in the Chicago Tribune (a big one!), had a visit from the Mayor with some shop and town history, had a lovely Christmas with a sick Natalie, and a blessedly quiet New Year’s Eve.
Thank you for all of your support of this crazy dream to make the world (or at least this little corner of it) more handsome. We do it all for you, and we couldn’t do it without you. Now let’s kick some ass in the New Year.
And hey, have you joined The Gaard yet? It’s our little online community, and the first group to know about all of the goings on in Beardsgaard – meaning if you want to get involved in the stupid hijinks around here, you have to join the club. Just sign up right below this post.