FREDERICTON–YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK LONG TO NOTICE THE MOST OVERWORKED COMPONENT OF EDUCATED BEARDS IS ITS ONLINE RETAILER MAP. FREDERICTON COUPLE AND EDUCATED BEARDS CO-FOUNDERS KEVIN LEBOEUF AND ALICIA PHILLIPS SAY IT’S GROWING FASTER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL PINPOINTS CAN SHOW.
The Fredericton-based company, which sells a line of organic beard care products, announced a new partnership this week with Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop. The deal adds another 75 franchised barbershops across Canada to the growing list of locations featuring Educated Beards’ products.
Leboeuf says the deal was more than two years in the making. He said their launch into Tommy Gun’s was one of their best-ever and garnered an overwhelming response.
“They were super excited, especially that it’s a Canadian-made brand. Everything is made in Canada and also with the backing of a holistic nutritionist,” Leboeuf told Huddle. “A lot of research went into the products themselves and into the ingredients.”
“We’ve been very persistent, even during the pandemic, on continuing growth,” added Phillips.
The holistic nutritionist and company CEO worked to introduce Educated Beards to Tommy Gun’s during a time when many of its barbershops were closed due to varying Covid-19 restrictions.
The ever-growing map of retailers selling Educated Beards products. Image: Educated Beards
An Education On Certification
For both Phillips and Leboeuf, the differentiator for Educated Beards has always come down to educating their customers on why they use safe, clean ingredients. It’s something Phillips says too many companies often try to market, even making false organic claims.
“It does have to do a little bit with the standards that we have here in Canada and the United States, and not being as strict as I would like them to be,” said Phillips.
With today’s labelling sporting “natural” on just about everything in skincare, it was important for Educated Beards to obtain a certification standard to stand above the vague claims and greenwashing still proliferating in the cosmetics industry.
“We technically could have put organic on our labels when we first started the company five years ago, but we wanted to make sure that before we went there announcing that we’re organic, like most companies do, that we had the certification to back it up,” Phillips said.
Partners and co-founders Kevin Leboeuf and Alicia Phillips plan to move Educated Beards products into the European market. Image: Contributed
Getting that certification meant Educated Beards sought to meet the standards of Ecocert, which operates through an international network in more than 130 countries to verify products and practices meet stringent organic specifications.
For companies opening up to the process, entire supply chains are audited, from the raw material to the finished product. Educated Beards was also subject to an on-site inspection which, according to Ecocert, can be supplemented by additional unannounced audits during the year.
During that time, Educated Beards continued making a name for itself with its organic products for beards and hair. Leboeuf points to the more than 3,500 locations currently carrying the Fredericton company’s product line.
It led Educated Beards to increase its production so it could make its products more readily available to Canadian consumers.
Cross-Atlantic Expansion Coming
The company is now looking for opportunities to get its products into Europe. However, to enter Europe marketing an organic product, Leboeuf and Phillips sought additional certification from COSMOS, (short for “COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard”), which sets certification requirements for organic and natural cosmetics products in Europe, another standard recognized globally by the cosmetic industry.
Despite being a two-year process, Leboeuf says Educated Beards now has the COSMOS certification.
“So now we’re able to expand into Europe, which has been what we’ve been wanting to do,” shared Leboeuf, who along with Phillips seeks to make Educated Beards a truly global brand.
“There’s so much greenwash right now with cosmetics, and anything that we use–we don’t really read labels on what we put on our body,” says Leboeuf. “We’re very conscious about what we put inside our body but not on top of it.”
A huge part of Educated Beards’ platform is to encourage its customers to educate themselves as it tries to raise the bar on what consumers want and expect from the personal-care products they use every day.
“We just want to bring awareness to that and really educate people to read the labels and understand that it’s clean and it’s organic and that it’s sustainable ingredients,” says Leboeuf. “That’s the big thing that we’re really proud to be, and now with that certification backing we’re just able to go to the next level and export even bigger–it’s a huge stepping stone for us.”
Find Tyler MacLean’s full story on Huddle HERE.