After 22 years of shaving while in the Army, Nick Adkins has grown out his “face jacket” and founded a line of Alaska-based beard-grooming products. Share story. By. DOROTHY CHOMICZ. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Nick Adkins ...
After 22 years of shaving while in the Army, Nick Adkins has grown out his “face jacket” and founded a line of Alaska-based beard-grooming products.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Nick Adkins retired from a career as an aircraft mechanic and Chinook helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army and was thrilled to be able to stop doing something he’d been forced to do for the past 22 years: shave.
Little did he know his simple decision to never shave again would lead him to start a successful business making and selling beard balms and oils.
Adkins, who is the director of operations for the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, explained the evolution of his business as he set up a display of Permafrost Beards products.
“As my beard grew in, it started going out to the side, and it looked pretty scruffy. I do have to put a tie on every once in a while, and I wanted my beard to look like an intentional choice, as opposed to, ‘I’m too lazy to shave,’ ” Adkins said.
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Adkins’ wife, Courtney, ordered some beard-care products online, but Adkins found he didn’t like them.
“Basically, they were just kind of heavy and greasy, and I didn’t really like the way it looked. So I thought I was just going to keep a really short beard. Then Courtney said, ‘Let’s buy some stuff and make our own and see if we can find a recipe we like.’”
After a lot of research, Adkins and his wife purchased shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and skin-safe essential oils. They started experimenting in January 2017, and, after some trial and error, they came up with oils and balms that performed the way Adkins wanted them too. The couple never intended to sell their products, but that changed when they gave some to a friend who liked them so much he asked to buy more.
“We said, ‘Why not?’ That’s when we started testing and coming up with different recipes and grabbing our bearded friends and saying, ‘Hey, try this,’ ” Adkins said.
Deciding to take the business seriously and not do it as just a “side hobby,” Adkins and his wife formed a limited liability company, got a business license and insurance, obtained a “Made in Alaska” certification and came up with the slogan “Keep Your Face Jacket On.”
Courtney created the company’s logo, Nick built a website, and Permafrost Beards started selling products online in May. To their surprise, they sold $600 of product in the first week, and interest continues to build.
The company has clients in Australia, Canada and throughout the Lower 48 and also gets a lot of orders from bearded civilian contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Permafrost Beards beard oils and beard balms come in five scents: Wood Chip Whiskey, Yukon Spice, Minty Moose Drool, Arctic Birch and Denali Frost.
Permafrost Beards’ other products include mustache wax; hoodies, T-shirts and stickers with the company’s logo; and a charity calendar featuring bearded men doing various activities associated with the 12 local businesses that sponsored it.
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