An Interview with Travis C. Withers, Founder and CEO of Urban Beard NY/U.B. Nation L.L.C.
Travis is an extremely respectful, witty and professional businessman. Two of the things I enjoyed most about working with him was; how passionate he was about the quality of his product and how often he made me laugh. Even though I’ve never met Travis in-person, talking to him was like sitting on a stoop in Brooklyn, with a good friend.
Doing business with Travis definitely felt like I was getting the red carpet service. His knowledge of beard health is enough to make you question everything about hair in general.
Check out his interview to learn more about him and his business.
Where are you originally from
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY (Park Slope)
What was life like growing up where you grew up
Life in Park Slope was real dope as a kid. Everything I needed and wanted was a block or two away, if that. All the kids in the neighborhood went to the same schools. We watched each other grow up. Everybody knew everybody’s mom lol. We fought each other a lot growing up, but you never heard of us killing each other or anything like that. We were all still humble enough at the end of the day to respect life.
Gentrification changed Park Slope a lot. I live in one of the richest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Not because my family has an abundance of money, but because my grandfather was a very smart man. Back then, they were giving away brownstones being that park slope was one of the least desired neighborhoods to reside in. He bought one and built it up and kept it in the family all of these years. We were very fortunate for him having the mind to buy the real estate and land.
What challenges did you face growing up
Since my mom was a single parent, she had to play both roles for quite sometime. Up until the point where my step father came in. It was a challenge every day trying to find my way as a man.
The process of discovering what that meant to me, how that lined up with what was taught to me, by my mom. As well as what was being portrayed by things I saw every day. Finding myself with no male guidance was definitely a challenge, as is for so many young men unfortunately.
How many siblings do you have
I have an older sister and younger brother. I also have a younger half brother and half sister.
What’s your educational background
I graduated High School (late) in 2010 with a regents diploma. I got caught up in having fun in school rather than doing my school work. If I could, i’d relive every day of my school career. I just wish I did a little more work lol. I plan on going back to school for business.
What attracted you to this field
I had been mixing my own beard butter for about a year before I ever thought about selling it. In looking for beard products, I was dissatisfied with the “quantity to price” ratio of a lot of other brands. It seems like all other brands want to do is pack any and everything into their beard products. Then flip it a few different ways and then sell you 2 Oz. of product for 16 bucks. This led me to just making my own products.
Tell us about your business and the services you offer
Right now, Urban Beard has an All Natural Beard Butter on the market. This is the Original Blend, so I of course nicknamed it “OG”. The mix of oils in our butter calm the wildest of Beards. It also instantly softens the hair. Overtime you will definitely notice a difference in the overall health of your beard. It will grow in thicker and fuller.
Your hair will have an unbelievable shine, any little light will reflect off your Beard like diamonds. All common facial hair complaints are fixed. No itching, flaking, build up etc. It also takes great care of the skin under hair AND it’s probably one of the best smelling products out. It’s funny how many customers complain of people in their house (mostly wives) stealing their beard butter.
How long have you been in business
I’ve been in business officially for about a year and a half now.
What’s your overhead like
I operate out of my home for now. It’s saves me a ton of money to be a home operated business. I also infuse my own oil. This saves me a lot of money and also allows me to give my customers 100% of what is intended, instead of buying 5 or 6 other oils to substitute.
How do you manage your full-time job and your business, what’s your schedule like
It actually works out pretty great most times. I am a bouncer so mostly I work nights. I start my day off waking up about 2 in the afternoon and I’m usually pretty free during the day, which allows me to operate my business. The hardest part is waking up, my internal clock is all backward from working nightlife.
How many customers did you have when you first started out vs now
Urban Beard NY grows more and more daily. It started with friends and coworkers, because I did not have a means for selling online when I first started. I opened my online shop about 8/9 months ago through Etsy and through promotion, the demand for my product has been crazy.
The product has been moving across the U.S. as well as a few jars overseas. Hands down, the hottest beard butter on the market as told by my customers.
What makes your business unique
At first glance, my logo is very eye catching. It’s important to stand out. I have a beauty product that’s about to be turned into a clothing line. The first cool beauty product that also makes a bold statement. A Black, Bearded King on the Brooklyn Bridge, what else can grab your attention more?
The background is a sunrise, which represents awakening. The awakening of the inner King in us all. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, location, religion or anything meant to divide and group us into categories.
I feel like we’re all Kings and Queens in our own right and we should move as such. Each product I put out is stamped with the most humble of well wishes, positivity to everyone. “Made Here, For Us Everywhere”.
What drove you to choose Entrepreneurship
I found myself at a dead end working in nightlife. I’m one of the top Bouncers in NY. I grew tired of this profession and I knew I needed a way out. Wage wise, I’m definitely under appreciated. I never thought this would be the path I’d be taking in my life. However, the more I thought it over, I saw there was no reason not to dive into my plan headfirst.
As in my personal and work life, I’ve always stood out and I’ve always been very well respected by doing things my way, showing love and respect every step of the way. Why should my business be any different?
What are your 2 biggest business challenges
A lot of Men around me and my surroundings just grow a beard freely. Some don’t know about, or aren’t really into, maintenance for their manes. It’s been a little hard getting people into the groove of why beard maintenance is very beneficial for their bearded life. A lot of people don’t know what healthy hair looks like.
What do you love most about what you’re doing
I love that fact that this is all me. I’m my own boss. It’s been fun just figuring things out. The experience so far has been exciting and it’s still just so surreal watching it all unfold. I love the fact that it’s something positive I can put my heart into, my way of giving back.
What is your best advice for other Entrepreneur’s
Go for it. If you have something you’re passionate about doing, jump into it. Nobody is going to do for your business as much as you are. It’s your dream to make come true. It can be disheartening at times but keep your head up. Every step of the process is a lesson learned. Stay away from negative vibes as well, keep a very positive mental space.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years
In the next 5 years, UB Nation will be not only be established, but dominant as well. Urban Beard NY will have a lot more products and accessories added to the line. I’m also going to be launching a female line as well. My brand will definitely make a bold, lasting impression in multiple industries.