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Meet The Maker: Barbarian

Photos Provided By Barbarian

I’d have to say that beards pair quite perfectly with beer so for this month’s feature we met up with Mindy and Aaran Joneson of Barbarian.

If you were curious, Unglued’s Justin’s favorite beard oil is from their Dakotah Beard Oils line “No. 10 – Cinnamon and Cedar”!

Describe what you make.
We make really awesome smelling, all-natural men’s grooming products, geared towards (but not limited to) men with beards.

How did you get into this business?
We got started before beards were popular when Aaran grew his beard out. We had a difficult time finding good oils or beard balms, and it was even more difficult to find products that smelled good. So, Mindy started making some balms and perfected a few scents that were really nice. From there, we started trying to market them.

What is your most popular beard oil?
Our most popular beard oil is Prohibition Blend, which has a very sophisticated bourbon and tobacco scent.

You’ve expanded your product line over the past couple years – tell us about some of your newest things.
For grooming products, the newest thing we are making would be the bar soaps. There is a good variety of different soaps, from exfoliating to charcoal to shampoo bars. We also started expanding products a little bit and selling some awesome gourmet bourbon vanilla extract that we make. We plan on using this to expand a bit into some spice blends for cooking.

What is a word that best describes you guys?

You guys do a variety of other craftwork, tell us about that.
First of all, Aaran is a luthier and makes handmade Norwegian Hardinger Fiddles and even traveled around Norway to learn more about the craft last year. Mindy dabbles in a bit of everything, painting, resin art, graphic design…We will try everything. As a family, we love traveling the world and immersing ourselves in other cultures.

What has been the most challenging and most rewarding things about doing this business?
One of the most challenging things is dealing with non-customers mocking the products. We never realized how many women feel it is a faux pas for a guy to use specialized products, and expect their husbands to just use the products she has in the shower. But, the next person in line is the most rewarding part of selling: a very serious customer who loves our products, enjoys looking and smelling good and seriously appreciates making Barbarian part of their daily routine.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a handmade business?
Once you have a great product that people want, we think that a logo and label designs are key. It took a long time to come up with a logo and labels that match the brand products, but it pays off.

A key for someone just getting started would be to take advantage of the small business development centers. They are really helpful and don’t cost anything to get ideas or direction from. Ultimately, a good business takes time. A lot of time. We are people that love to stay busy, so it works great for us. The best part is the great customers that make all the time we have invested in our products so worth it!

Where can people find your work this holiday season?
Locally to Fargo, we are available at Unglued – which happens to be Mindy’s favorite store! Also, since moving to Willmar, Minn., Mindy is working with a local store and organizing maker markets and community events. The next market is Nov 15 and 16 at the mall in Willmar.

How can our community help your business grow?
We love being part of local communities and in small shops. We have had difficulty getting Barbarian products featured in salons, so we would absolutely love it if you would recommend your favorite Barbarian products to your favorite barber!

Written by Ashley Morken

Ashley Morken is the owner of Unglued, a modern handmade gift shop featuring over 300 local and regional makers in downtown Fargo. She also a founding member of the Creative Mornings Fargo committee.


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