BeardHead entered the Shark Tank on December 11 to pitch its beard-inspired combination knit beanie, cap and hat, with a detachable beard facemask.
Heavy interviewed David Stankunas about his company, which he said has grown from a $9,000 investment into a $1- million-a-year-earning company. Here’s what he told us.
1. The Idea Came About While Snowboarding
Stankunas was snowboarding in Lake Tahoe and in order to prevent his face from chapping, used a bandana. However, he quickly realized that the makeshift protector wasn’t so effective. “As I was riding throughout the day, the bandana became really uncomfortable. It kept coming loose, falling down, and it was difficult to breathe through…it was just really frustrating,” he explained.
On the ski lift, he started racking his brain for a better solution. He envisioned a product that would cover his face and keep it warm, while still making it easy to breath. Another priority was that it looked different. “I also wanted it to look a little funky, something unique. You know, because I’m a snowboarder, and sometimes I want to look a little crazy,” he added.
The idea started to take shape, literally, as his sister helped knit the first versions of BeardHead. Eventually, Stankunas himself learned to knit and crochet and by the following snowboarding season, they had their first prototype.
2. Their Bestsellers Come From the Barbarian Collection
The accessory company makes an extensive Barbarian line, which you can view here. Barbarian Roadie, Barbarian Knight and Barbarian Looter are just some examples of the line, which Stankunas named as their bestseller.
“Our Barbarian Collection has always been very popular, with the Barbarian Pillager and Barbarian Vagabond consistently topping sales,” he said.
However, this year the company experienced a surge of sales in their kids’ collection, with the Kid Gromm Head earning the title of bestseller during the holiday season.
3. He Was Inspired By Another Bearded ‘Tank’ Company
It just so happens that Stankunas knows Eric Bandholz of BeardBrand, a beard grooming company, who entered the Tank in Season 6. This sparked his interest to apply to the show and reach out to Bandholz for advice.
He explained how it all came into place, saying:
I guess seeing him just inspired me to finally give getting on Shark Tank a shot. I emailed Eric right after I saw the show and asked him if there was anyone at Shark Tank I could contact. Eric sent me a name and I just took it from there. I guess I got on Shark Tank all thanks to Eric! I wonder if he even knows? I’m gonna email him right now…
4. There’s a ‘Duck Dynasty’ Line
Obviously the creations lend themselves to another reality show- Duck Dynasty! The Robertson men of the popular A&E show are known for their long beards. Therefore, it was only fitting for Stankunas to create products inspired by the television show. Although he never worked directly with Phil, Willie, Si, Jase or Jep, they gave their stamps of approval. “I know all our designs were reviewed and approved by the Robertsons personally (they’re very hands-on), but we never got a chance to go hunting with them or anything.
However, he did say the demand for the Duck Dynasty product is wasn’t what it used to be. “We saw huge demand for Duck Dynasty BeardHeads two years ago, but I think our Duck Dynasty line has had its moment in the sun,” he told us.
5. He’s Working 80+ Hours a Week This Holiday Season
To prep for the holidays, Stankunas hired additional employees to handle marketing and social outreach. In addition, the company’s website was redesigned and their fulfillment capabilities expanded.
“We produced a lot of product to make sure we wouldn’t sell out too early this year, but it’s already looking like we will,” he said.