#BeardGang: Black men in the business of grooming

It's not often that one comes across a 100% South African black-owned mens grooming brand. Meet Sentsho Matlejoane and Thabo Motloung, the masterminds behind Beard Gang, a grooming product specifically formulated for the black man's beard

Beard Gang is a black-owned cosmetics start-up company that produces natural, hand-crafted grooming products that nourish and condition facial hair.

Matlejoane, co-founder of the company, says the idea was born out of a frustration that he and his partner Motloung felt with the grooming products that were available on the SA market. The frustrations included the high-prices one paid for imported products, and products that didn’t work well for the unique texture of their facial hair.

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Beard Oil 1“Most of the products available on the market weren’t really for black guys. For my own beard, I’ve used an array of products which I won’t mention here, but I found that they caused a lot of breakage, and other problems that indicated that they weren’t created for my hair texture, which is why we had to create our own,” he says.

The idea for Beard Gang was initially conceptualised by Motloung, who is somewhat inclined in the field of chemistry and it was during his research that he met Matlejoane and the two went into the business venture together.

“Motloung is a bio-chemistry drop-out. With his aptitude for chemistry, he started making his own DIY/homemade beard oils, and it was during his product development and market research phase that he met me, not knowing at the time that we would be co-founders,” Matlejoane says.

CHALLENGES 

One of the biggest challenges Motloung and Matlejoane are currently facing is that they both still juggle 9-5 jobs.

“Our biggest challenge at the moment is time; we would be doing a lot more if we had more time. So we push as hard as we can in the evenings and weekends, and respond to the emails for all the orders we’re getting. We’ve even got a few international orders. It’s a lot to juggle especially because it’s still just the two of us now, but it’s been very rewarding,” he says.

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Beard Gang was launched this year and has already been making waves, with high demand from local customers. This is evidence that this was a huge gap in the market, and men have been looking for a product that caters to their individual and very specific needs.

THE FUTURE 

Matlejoane says that their vision is to foster the culture of healthy beard grooming amongst South African men, and to develop a franchise model.

“Our main goal is to have conceptual barber shops to cater to beard-growing guys in the country, a space just for them,” Matlejoane says.