How we became a company out of the embers of a chaotic world.
Melissa and I have been together for over nine years. We have met the many challenges that life has thrown at us, as best we could. Like everyone else here on the planet, we try our best to roll with the punches. You just never know what is around the corner that can throw you off course.
Nothing rings more true to us than the words of of Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” In November of 2014, Melissa and I returned from a family vacation and were immediately thrown into a world that was chaotic and confusing. One minute you’re laughing and enjoying life, the next minute you are struggling to cope.
On a beautiful fall morning, my 83 year old mother was making plans to go out and buy a coffee maker. She gathered up her car keys, locked her front door and collapsed on the front porch. She had suffered a stroke. Life as we knew it, changed dramatically for us.
Melissa and I dealt with the intricate “ins and outs” of the American Health care system that frustrated us at every turn. There were so many needless obstacles put in place by the insurance companies to hinder my mother's recovery and care.
Through the next year and half we cared for and motivated my mother through various rehab stays to overcome the stroke and not give up in learning how to walk again. Unfortunately that was not possible.
As the months passed, she improved her walking, but also developed vascular dementia from the stroke. Another hardship. This one really kicked us in the gut. Everyday habits became difficult to manage because she had forgotten how to do many things. It was heartbreaking, adjusting to what seemed like a new person. Memories of so many years of good times, laughter and love, ran through my head and that kept me going.
With family and friends at our side, Melissa and I adjusted and did our best to keep a sense of humor. My mother always liked to laugh and we still laughed a lot together through this time. If you have ever cared for an aging parent you know exactly what I am talking about.
We took it one day at a time. 2015 went by slowly and we enjoyed each day of my mother’s daily company. I learned how important it is to be in the now. You don’t really get used to the new changes.
There were so many heartbreaking moments that were thrown at us, we thought we were adapting to the adversity, but it just kept coming.
In September of that year, my mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. The doctor told me she may live for another 6 months. Cancer, the mere mention of that word gets me so angry. What is going on in this world? It seems that everyone knows someone that has battled this horrible demon. I have lost a lot of family members and also have witnessed friends battle and beat it. I’ve seen it raise it’s ugly head much too often.
Is chronyism silently killing us through chemicals? What and who is doing this to us? Sugar? Teflon pans, our drinking water? Chemicals on our fruits and vegetables? Chemicals in our cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants? I wish I knew. Nowadays, I just don’t want to put anything on (or in) my body that I don’t understand what it is. I don’t want to take chances with unknown ingredients.
After finding strength to get through the stroke, to get through the heartbreaking dementia, how do you then get the strength to get through news that someone who has been at your side for all of your life will be gone in just a few months time?
I stopped shaving.
I grew my beard and told everyone around me, I was just trying something new. Beards were everywhere. Little did they know, I was growing it to hide behind. Behind my beard, I could hide my grief, my anxiety, and my fear of what was coming.
Shave it off.
Out of the blue, my mother asked me to shave my beard off. She wanted to see my face. I was mortified to lose my beard, but what could I do? I shaved it off. No fanfare, no wisdom, just a clean face so my mother could see my face again.
With nothing to hide behind anymore, I stood in front view naked to everyone around me with my grief. I spoke to doctor after doctor, nurse after nurse. With no beard. For the next 2 months I watched my mother lose weight and succumb to her cancer. We held her hand and saw her take her last breath. WOW! Nothing prepares you for that.
My mother passed peacefully in April of 2016. To this day, it’s still difficult to write about it.
Everything seemed to be changing in my life. So this is what it’s like to get older I thought. Little did I know there was more to come. The summer just after my mother passed was also very difficult and cumbersome. The world appeared to be in chaos, talented musicians and actors seemed to be dying left and right, senseless terrorism in the world on the rise, and our beloved country became divided over a presidential election. My grief was compounding daily over my loss. I saw friends on Facebook complaining over the littlest things in their lives as I failed to understand why all these things were happening to me in my world. To get some sort of footing into the world again, I dove into books and revisited my record collection.
On a hot July summer’s night in the chaotic year of 2016, Battle Born Grooming Company was born. Melissa and I felt it was time to fight back with resolve and forge something out of this chaos to let the world know, we are still here! And that life matters! We wanted something to keep us busy, something that would give us purpose and make us feel good while doing it. We wanted to put our heart and soul and make something that might make a difference to someone else. It was time to create something and find a way to give back. Life can at times be a bully. And we all know the best way to deal with bullies. After that bully punches you in the mouth, spit out the blood, smile and give that bully everything you got! That’s Battle Born!
Reading everything and anything we toiled to all hours and made literally hundreds of variations of beard oils, beard balms and hair pomades (which we only chose to release our best formulation of the products). We listened to a lot of music, and thought of my mother often.
Out of that struggle to adapt to what seemed to be a new life, Melissa had created our signature scent that would be our Revolution line of beard products. You can say Revolution Beard Oil and Beard Balm were created out of the angst and turmoil of life and reaffirms to those in the world that we are not afraid of change. We have the strength to carry on!
We think we are ready for whatever life may throw at us again. We do our best to live in the present. And we believe there are people out there going through the same things. We hope you enjoy our all natural line of products.