As our friends and fans know, we are in the midst of an epic Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which marks the last push to get the doors to Beardsgaard open. You can head over to see the campaign on site right here, but we have reproduced it here below. To all those who believe in this dream of ours, every bit helps, so make a contribution today!
Mom and pop barber nerds on a quest to fund an epic fortress of beards and old school barbering
Hello! We are Natalie and Tyler Anderson. We are stupid in love with each other and with our craft. We are barbers, you see, and it is high time we carved out a shoppey realm of our own.
We have long had a dream of building a business where customer service, product knowledge and attention to detail are of the highest priority, as those have always been our greatest skills in every job we have ever held.
What we have been missing, though, is a career where we can not only join forces (as good as we can be separately, we are far better together), but where we can pour all of those skills, obsessive pursuit of perfection and nerdtastic inclinations into a place all our own.
It wasn’t until Tyler followed Natalie into the world of barbering that we knew this business would be a barbershop, but once the name Beardsgaard was uttered, it was all over for us.
We knew we had found our purpose.
This town and even the shop itself are steeped in history.
We are still not quite sure how old our building is, although we do know that it was a pharmacy in 1890, about 15 years after Mary Todd Lincoln’s sanitarium incarceration a few blocks away. It even still has that gorgeous pressed tin ceiling.
Many of the buildings around here are even older than that – the house we live in dates back to 1856. That’s pre-Civil War. There may be ghosts.
The front desk is a beautiful old piece from Kinder Hardware that was built in the 1880s. Our Koch and Koken barber chairs date back to the 1920s. The walls, while sparse still, will soon fill up with more antiques and nerd memorabilia.
Ask any of the best barbershops in the world what makes powerhouse shops like theirs so popular, and you will get many answers, but one thread that ties them all together are that the owners built a place of business that feels like home to them.
When their clients enter their doors, they know they are in a place that is truly loved by its inhabitants. We are building a business/second home for the rest of our lives, and before long, the whole community will feel at home here too.
So here we sit, having now completed far more buildout since we started filming clips for the video above and since most of these photos were taken. We have pretty much everything we need to open, and are nearly done with the buildout.
This young family has managed to scrape together nearly everything we need to open a this business (one where the equipment is NOT cheap) with no loans or outside funding.
Now that we are so close to the end, all that remains is plumbing and retail stock. We are almost there, and with a little bit of help from you, something very special will come into the world.
The Meaning to Life, the Universe and Everything
This is a barbershop we are talking about, one single barbershop in the world, in a place the residents of Chicago consider the ends of the earth, if they have even heard of Batavia at all. Our little barbershop is not going to change the world. Probably.
Down the line we plan to expand our team, selection, client and industry education initiatives, craft our own line of products, and absolutely build that Dalek towel steamer, but we will never become a big, multiple location corporate entity. And that’s okay, just the way we like it, in fact.
We just want to keep doing the impeccable work that we have been doing at our chairs for years, and continue to make our clients look and feel like the men they want to be.
So What Does This Mean For You?
This is the internet, a vast universe in the ether, full of people from all over this pale blue dot in space – so why would the vast majority of you stumbling across this campaign be interested in helping us make this happen with your hard-earned money?
Let’s find out. Are you…
- A gentleman living within driving distance of the western Chicago suburbs? Contributing would mean you will have the best damn barbershop you will find outside of a major metropolitan city at your disposal – and even in the big cities, shops this good are rare gems. Although we appreciate any contribution , the $30, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 levels are of most value to this group, as you are essentially pre-purchasing our services.
- A fellow barber or barbershop? Barbers know that we really don’t have any competition. There are far more heads out there that need barbering than there are shops available, especially good ones, and the stronger we make the industry as a whole, the better we all do. So say we all, and all that.
- A person with a few extra bucks to spare for some do-gooding? Helping a young family get a mom and pop business get off the ground earns some major karma, and you get cool perk stuff to boot. How can you lose? The answer is that you cannot. All win here.
- (just throwing this one out there) One of the many brands that we are going to be ordering a ridiculous amount of stock from if this campaign goes as swimmingly as we hope?
- A Time Lord madman in a box that has uncovered a mysterious treasure horde somewhere in time and space, and as you have no need for money, you would like to give it to us? Fantastic!
If any of those sound like you, or even if they don’t and you want to contribute anyway (you rebel, you!), read on to find out more about the cool perks we have on offer.
The Perkiest of Perks
This is the fun part. Huzzah, perks! Here is what you get in return for each contribution level. You can find more detail about each perk up on the right of the page.
Risks? Don’t Worry, We Have a Plan
There are a lot of risks in opening a business, but not so many in this one. And even still, we have a plan. So what are these “risks?” Glad you asked.
- Are there other barbers around the area? Yes, but not many, and there are far more clients than even our combined forces could service.
- Are there salons around? Yes, plenty, but our services include many barber specialties you cannot find at a salon, and they can’t match our quality for price ratio.
- Will we be able to find enough clients? Hoo boy yes. Keep reading, you will so see why.
- Will we be able to afford to run this place as a two-chair shop? Yes. Our overhead is very low, and between the two of us we can break even running at less than half capacity, which is easily achievable by month three at the latest. Once we fill up, we will start looking to expand our team.
- Should we have waited until we saved up more money and been able to fund this single-handedly? Yes, but too many big pieces were falling into place on a much sooner time table, and who knows what might have happened in that extra time? The stars were aligning, and we know the right time is now. Nothing great ever happened without someone just deciding to jump.
We can do this, there isn’t the slightest shred of doubt in our minds. But by Odin’s beard, we just need to get the doors open first. That’s where this campaign comes in.
So what happens if we don’t reach our goal? That’s one of the best parts about our campaign. The plumbing has to happen, no matter what, even if we have to max out our credit cards to do it (we do not want to do that, if at all possible, for obvious reasons).
The product is much more flexible. If we have to get started with a super lean product line and work our way up to a wider selection, we will, but we really want to be able to give our clients great service and great selection right out of the gate. We can scale our retail stock to whatever fundraising will allow.
But this really is just the beginning, this isn’t even our dream product selection yet. Some require quite an authorization process and a substantial buy-in, so we will be looking toward those after we are well up and running. Additionally, we are looking toward creating our own product line in the next couple of years.
What it all boils down to is that we will be able to complete this project even if we do not reach our full goal, but if we were to be so lucky as to exceed our goals, the funds will still go to great use in making this business to coolest damn place you have ever seen and expanding selection even further.
This is the part where we throw some numbers around, detail what we have already put into this, what we still need to open with gusto, and the dark side of perks.
Every time we look around the shop, we are shocked that the place is looking as upscale as it is, for how much money we have put into it, about $21,000.
The funds we are looking to raise include plumbing and retail stock, which amount to $22,700, as well as $3,300 to cover perk fulfillment, for a total of $26,000. The actual value of those perks, however is far higher, at about $33,800.
If you like data as much as we like data, we’ve got your data right here.
We are certainly not looking to the public to finance this entire venture. We have already invested a substantial sum of our own money, as well as already putting in all of the physical work on the shop. There is even a bit more that is earmarked to finish a few more projects around the shop.
Even so, in the timeline of opening this business, we are 90% of the way there. This is what we have already spent, rounded for neatness.
- Furnishings (barber chairs, seating, stations, mirrors, display cabinets, desk, U-Haul to move it all, etc.): $7,000
- Tools (shears, clippers, razors, other tools, Latherizers, hot towel steamer, etc.): $5,000
- Printing (business cards, postcards, price tags, posters, T-shirts, signage, vinyl, awning, associated permits, etc.): $2,500
- Lighting (pendant lights, wall lights, spotlights, retail lighting, bulbs, associated permits, etc.): $2,500
- Supplies (barber and office supplies, towels, sanitation, guest services, etc.): $2,000
- Buildout (paint, lumber, tools, etc.): $1,000
- Legal (business setup, filing fees, etc.): $1,000
- Other Expenses (all the little nitty-gritty stuff that likes to empty your wallet in such endeavors): $1,000
The funds we are trying to raise are to go toward plumbing first and foremost, as we totally need to get that done to open. Plumbing is quoted at $7,500 between what we need to pay the plumber, buy the sinks and fixtures, and file permits.
- Plumber (running new pipes, setting up venting, safety regulation compliance, etc.): $6,500
- Fixtures (sinks and other fixtures, etc.): $800
- Other Expenses (permits, etc.): $200
Our secondary fundraising goal is to stock our shelves with all of the retail items our clients need to look and feel their best from the neck up, as well as backbar (product for use on clients at the chair).
This will take about $15,200 up front, and includes retail stock such as shampoo and conditioner, hair, shave, beard and face care tools and supplies. Many of these companies have products that fit into multiple categories, but we have only listed them once each.
- Hair (Klorane, DS Laboratories, Paul Mitchell, Reuzel, Sachajuan shampoos, conditioners, hair product, treatment): $7,000
- Shaving (D.R. Harris, Hudson Made, Prospector Co., Boker, Dovo, Edwin Jagger, Merkur, Feather, razors, blades, brushes, shave creams, shave soaps, shave oils, aftershaves, hand thrown shave bowls and mugs, etc.): $4,500
- Beard (Beardbrand, Big Red, Kent, Captain Fawcett, The Bearded Bastard, beard oils, beard balms, mustache waxes, combs and brushes): $2,500
- Other Expenses (Ernest Supplies, Gentleman’s Brand Co., PLANT face washes, scrubs, moisturizers.): $1,200
Of course the perks we have set up cost money as well, and those are a bit of a wild card, as we cannot know how many of each will be claimed. We do know how much the fulfillment of each perk will cost us, so we are working off of averages for these calculations, with perk fulfillment accounting for about 14.5% of each dollar raised.
Of course the monetary cost of perks is one thing, and one that we are factoring into our fundraising goals. What we are not figuring in is the total value of these services, which on average far exceed the contribution cost at about 130% of each dollar raised.
What we are saying is, we work hard for the money.
The Awkward Part
Of course one would want to be sure they weren’t throwing money away when they make a contribution of this sort, but let us set your mind at ease and tell you why this business will flourish. This is the hard part for us, getting a little braggy, but if it must be, it must be, so here it is.
We are really good at this. Ridiculously good. Not only that, but working at shops where you can only book a spot the day of, we often have days where we are fully booked within two minutes of phones opening up in the morning. Even if some days it takes slightly longer, we are fully booked every day without fail.
Not all of the haircuts and beards that walk out of our shop are showstoppers. We create plenty of everyday, simple styles – most of our work is fairly simple, in fact. Many clients won’t notice upon leaving the shop that there is something different about this haircut. But over the next few days and weeks, you realize that when it comes to taming 100,000 strands into something that is effortlessly easy to wear, the details are EVERYTHING.
Clients have (jokingly) threatened to leave us terrible Yelp reviews after trying for weeks or longer to get an appointment just so they can chase other clients away. But still they come, almost entirely through word of mouth and our social media efforts.
We are head-swimmingly busy (and supremely grateful for each and every person that trusts their style to us) with rabidly loyal clients who recommend us all over town, as well as to the people that are constantly complimenting their haircuts and beards when out and about.
We have clients that live all over the country (New York, to California, and everywhere in between) and the world (clients in Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia and more) who time their visits to Chicago with when they need haircuts and beardwork. We work on people who can afford to go literally anywhere for a haircut, and then come to little ol’ affordable us.
We are even Santa’s barber. For real. His name is Bob, he is a real-bearded professional Santa (no mall stuff for Santa Bob) and he is rad. You wouldn’t believe the power having Santa’s number on speed dial holds when the little ones are misbehaving.
We know from experience that once a client sits in our chairs, if they live reasonably nearby or come to the area regularly, they always return. So while we are starting over far from where we have worked for years, we know it will not take long to be full to capacity, every single day.
People have already been popping in constantly while we have been working on the buildout, and one look at the place has them exclaiming that they are not going to get a haircut until we are open. Then between in-person local networking and social/web channels, the buzz is getting quite buzzy.
Other Ways You Can Help
We know we have the makings of something fantastic here.
While we appreciate every contribution of any amount, we completely understand if you are unable to do so. But that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t help!
If you like what we’re doing here and want to lend us a virtual leg up, please share this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your blog, or wherever you hang about the interwebs.
You can even do it right down below here. So easy. Just click the button. You know you want to. It would feel so good. It would make a clickety sound and make you feel good for the rest of the day. Or contribute and get neat stuff in return, that totally works too.
Either way, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.