Marine Turns Loss Into Vet-Supporting Beard Business

by Nicholas Karnaze March 11, 2016

Marine Turns Loss Into Vet-Supporting Beard Business

July 24th, 2012 is a day I will never forget. On that day, Sergeant Justin Hansen, USMC was killed while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. I don’t remember the phone call, but I do remember staring blankly at my phone, unable to move, for about 30 minutes after receiving the news.

 

Justin and I served together in the same U.S. Marine Corps special operations unit. We were Marine Raiders. I considered him one of my closest friends, the type of man who was always there for you with a kind word, or a swift kick in the ass. He was superhuman. The type of warrior you knew would never die.

 

I knew that Justin had a strong beard when he was shot. In that moment when I heard the news, tears falling on my cell phone, I decided to grow my beard out in his honor. I tell most people it was a coping mechanism. But to be honest, I have no idea why one of my first coherent thoughts after learning of his passing was to grow out my facial hair. I’ve had my beard ever since.

 

When you first grow facial hair, it itches like a motherf**ker. With beard itch fully enveloping my face, I took to the Internet to find a solution. I wanted a product that would reduce beard itch, soften my beard and keep it healthy. In addition, I wanted a product that would replace my daily anti-aging moisturizer. I wanted only one product to address all my grooming needs; the last thing I wanted was a counter top full of products. Needless to say, nothing existed that did all that I needed it to do. So, being a bit of a nerd growing up, I decided to create it.

 

I have fond memories of standing in my kitchen with AMC’s Breaking Bad playing in the background. While Walt is making meth, I am standing over my stove mixing up lotion. Originally it was just intended for me, but after some of my Navy SEAL buddies heard about my Facial Moisturizer & Beard Conditioner they wanted to try it. That is when I realized this was a viable business idea. And just like that, stubble & ‘stache was born. All of our products are made in the U.S.A. at an FDA-regulated facility specializing in advanced skincare. We design our products for use by all men, regardless of facial hair. 

 

Given our strong military heritage, I knew from the beginning that we would give back to the veteran community. If you have been in the gun fighting business long enough, you will inevitably lose friends. Tragically, some of them will be lost at their own hands. I can handle combat loss, but the idea of a service member surviving war only to take his or her own life upon returning home is something I cannot accept. As such, we donate a percentage of our profits to organizations working to help those men and women suffering from the mental wounds of war.

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Nicholas Karnaze
Nicholas Karnaze

Author

Warfighter turned entrepreneur. Founder, stubble & 'stache. Grooming expert. Skincare nerd. Marine Corps combat veteran.



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