Josh Woods of De Pere had a problem. After struggling with a dry, itchy beard and trying product after product on the market, nothing seemed to work. His wife, Amy, joined him in trying to find a solution.
“Josh is a welder by trade,” Amy said. “He went bald at age 22, and to get his confidence back, he grew out his beard. But he has really sensitive skin and none of the products we found seemed to cater to that. His beard was patchy and itchy. So, we started doing research and testing ingredients and developed a product that people love.”
With a bachelor’s degree in business and previous experience running an e-commerce custom apparel store, Amy was enthusiastic about working with her husband to start a new business. Favoryt (pronounced like “favorite”) became the brand name.
“We chose the name because we know it will be our customers’ favorite,” Amy said. “We didn’t want to limit it to beard care, because Josh knew right away that he wanted products that could be used on your whole body. We wanted it to be a one-stop shop for the whole family.”
Because Josh wanted to develop products that addressed issues with sensitive skin, the couple decided to use all natural ingredients with no fillers. They wrote a mission statement stating their goal — to provide people with skin-, hair- and beard-care products that enhance self-confidence, promote hair growth, and reduce itch and irritation.
With confidence that they were developing a business that had great potential, Amy signed up for The Blueprint Green Bay, an accelerator program for entrepreneurs of color, female and veteran-owned businesses and startups. The rigorous 12-week program included an array of classes and mentorship with a pitch contest at its conclusion.
“Blueprint has been such a blessing in so many ways in terms of how we feel about scaling and growing this business,” Amy said. “The mentors were integral in helping us think through all of the details.”
RELATED:Paradise North Distillery owner follows dream, creates destination business
RELATED:Fox Cities entrepreneur has a vision to educate, empower people on textured hair
Because Josh works full time, Amy spends her days with her four children, ranging in age from 2 to 10, and working on the business. She and Josh coordinate efforts when he’s home, putting in about 20 more hours a week.
Their efforts are working. While Josh develops formulas and creates blends, Amy works on many of the business aspects, including designing a website and social media pages, graphic design, and sales.
Networking has been an important aspect, and between Blueprint and a presentation at 1 Million Cups, a monthly event connecting entrepreneurs within the Green Bay community, she says she has made valuable connections. Most importantly, Amy says they have developed incredible products. They have one that is patent pending and recently filed for a patent on one they think may turn out to be their greatest success.
“We have developed a hairstyling tool that will revolutionize edge care. (Edges are the baby-hairs that grow on the perimeter of one’s forehead and can look frizzy if not controlled.) No other producers in the market have this,” Amy said. “People with ethnic hair feel very passionate about edge control, and a lot of what we’ve been traditionally using isn’t good at that.”
She says it was a personal quest to develop a product like this that promotes hair growth, has natural ingredients to stimulate and not damage hair follicles, and smooths stray hairs. In addition, the Stay Stick, as it has been named, is portable and can replace bulky hair sprays, gels, combs and brushes.
This personal aspect of the business has resulted in most of their product development. For Josh, product development has included a body lotion that can prevent a bald head from burning, lip butters for his chapped lips and an intense lotion to protect his hands that are dry from welding.
The response from users proves that others struggle with the same issues. Although there are hundreds of companies that could be considered competition in the premium hair and body care space that they occupy, Amy says the market for all-natural products is much smaller. And, she stresses, if you check the labels on most of the products, you find a list of ingredients that are hard to identify.
“We stand apart,” she added. “We have spent a great deal of time looking at our target market and feel like we’re in the right place. Before the end of the year, we will launch on Amazon and will be working with beauty supply wholesalers to get into the catalogs that all of the retail stores in the country purchase from.”
They are currently selling online and in a number of retail stores, but their marketing strategy calls for a broader scale. They have set time goals, and by fall, hope to have a larger production facility with a retail store (they currently rent a small space in Green Bay) and a growing wholesale business.
There are plans to attend a vendor expo in Atlanta and to make the rounds of some area festivals. As they grow, there will be more trade shows to develop their brand.
“We need to get the word out and let people know we exist,” Amy said. “We’ve done all of the back work, and see the value of social media, using influencers and building our network. There are challenges in knowing when to scale and when to order larger quantities. What will this look like going forward?”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.