I started making shaving brushes when I was 12. Basically my Dad is a shaving nerd.
Anyway, he had a shaving brush that fell apart, and he made himself a new one. A friend asked for a brush too, and Dad made him one too. About the same time, Dad got me a shaving set, since he said I would be shaving soon. I asked him if everyone uses a brush, he said that not everyone wanted to use a brush, but millions of men and women do prefer to use a brush when they shave.
I heard the part about millions of men and women and asked him if he thought they would buy brushes if I made them. He said I ought to try…
He taught me how to turn wood on a lathe, let me pick scraps of wood from his work shop, bought me a dozen brush knots, and said I had to use the money I made selling them to buy more knots and wood if I wanted to sell more. So, I went door to door and sold my brushes in the neighborhood. I used the money from those first 12 brushes to buy some more brush knots. I also ordered 12 makeup brush knots because some of my neighbors said they would buy those. As I looked for places to sell, a friend of my Dad’s told me of a local boutique in our hometown. The owner was kind and took a few on consignment. However, I realized that if I wanted to get my brushes to men who wanted to shave, I would have to be direct. Following my Mom’s advice, I approached a Farmers Market. They told me in order to join I needed to have a registered business. Within a week, I created a business under EKS Lifestyle. I went to my first farmer’s market, and found out why department stores have a men’s rack, and women’s floors. I sold out of makeup brushes halfway through my first farmers market! I went to several more farmer’s markets that first year.
Right from the beginning I decided that I wanted to be Eco-friendly, so I try to make all my handles out of recycled wood. I use wood scraps from other people’s projects, ends from lumber yards, old furniture that can’t be rebuilt and even fire wood. I use synthetic brushes for my knots, so that no animal has to be shaved and go bald.
My Mom told me that if I wanted to be eco-friendly, that I should not waste anything, and figure out how to turn even my mistakes and scraps into something useful. That I why I also sell bottle stoppers.
Using a shaving brush is itself eco-friendly. When a person shaves with canned soaps, they release propellants into the air and eventually throw out the container that the foam came in. This took time and energy to create, and even if the can were to be recycled, it would use even more energy. By buying soap cakes and shaving brushes, you are using a product that is bio-degradable, and does not need to be recycled.