Gareth Edwards was inspired to start The Dark Heart Beard Co as a men’s beard grooming range to complement business partner Jo Lehndorf’s amazing skincare brand Loveskin. He laughs that this idea didn’t go over so well initially, but he was persistent and grew a beard, and says that Jo finally relented! The pair set to work creating The Dark Heart Beard Co using locally sourced ingredients, and collaborating with brands like Meebz Coffee and Thomson Whisky to create unique blends.
The drivers behind the brand
Gareth is a foodie at heart, and is interested in the idea of combining flavour profiles to develop and refine the scent of a blend. The Dark Heart Beard Co products use local and organic ingredients wherever possible, and zero waste is a foundation of the company ethos; so glass packaging is a must, and using Fair Trade coffee grounds left over from producing coffee oil for the Coffee & Leather Beard Oil and Balm to create a facial scrub had great appeal!
“In growing my beard I became aware of a) how to look after the beard and b) a gap in the market for a well considered, consistent beard care brand.”
Professionally, Gareth’s entrepreneurial spirit means he is passionate about being better than he was yesterday, and he is really committed to “creating really good products and working with really talented people”. On a personal level, Gareth explains that men’s health has been at the forefront of what he is all about, and starting the business has given him the opportunity to give back where he can. Cancer has had a big impact on Gareth’s life in recent years, as he watched his father go through it and also lost friends.
“I felt as an entrepreneur I had an obligation to give back. I shaved my head to raise money for Shave for a Cure; The Dark Heart Beard Co worked closely with Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ to running a charity auction with our products and other wonderful gifts from our suppliers and business friends; and I raised over $500 for Bowel Cancer through their Decembeard campaign.”
The Dark Heart Beard Co difference
Gareth told us “The reason the products are so amazing is that 100% of the ingredients are natural, and we choose to use organic wherever we can. Our products have no fillers or nasties, and the brand is cruelty free. We’re not just throwing around the “all natural” phrase, we want our customers to get the benefits of a 100% natural brand.”
Gareth and Jo are also passionate about collaborating with other companies who have turned a devotion for their craft into a business with depth and meaning. A highlight of the business is having amazing suppliers like Mike from Meebz Coffee in Milford, who roasts the ethically sourced arabica beans for use in the beard oil, balm and facial scrub. They are big fans of Matt Thompson, also bearded, the “fantastic craftsman” who created a beautiful single malt whisky for use in The Dark Heart Beard Co aftershave tonic. Jo and Gareth are very proud to be working with people who not only have fantastic products but are also committed to honouring and preserving their crafts.
Gareth’s expert beard care tips
- It all starts with having a clean beard, so wash your beard once a day with a natural, SLS/SLEs and chemical free shampoo.
- When your beard is dry, use clean dry hands to apply good beard oil. You might add or substitute beard balm if your beard is a little longer. The moisturizing properties in our oil and balm help skin stay in perfect condition and keeps hair follicles healthy, which in turn encourages hair growth, as well as softening the beard hair, and preventing frizziness and breakages.
- I like to also oil and brush my beard before I go to bed. Brushing with a natural hair brush (boar’s hair) promotes your hair’s natural oil production so that is something all guys should have.
- For trimming and shaping, let your beard grow out a decent amount before you think about trimming, then find a bearded barber and have them look after it.
High profile blokes sporting the Dark Heart Beard goodness
Gareth says he and Jo have been fortunate to meet and work with some pretty cool people who are now Dark Heart family – including Luke Patrick (Frank, Shorty st), Mike Puru, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, Alex Pledger (NZ Breakers), DJ Forbes (NZ 7’s legend), Art Green, Ling & Zing (The Block) and Thane and Duncan (The RockFm Drive).
His favourite customer stories are when The Dark Heart Beard Co products have changed someone’s skin condition – like the customer who wrote to say that she had bought the beard oil as a facial moisturiser for her teenage son who had terrible acne, and that after a week of using it his skin had calmed down and the acne had started to subside. “This is testament to the natural ingredients we use to create our products” says Gareth.
The Dark Heart Beard Co have more new products in development and are really excited to be launching them this year to add to the current product range – which you can shop online here at Oh Natural.