Name: Chris Clarke
Brand name: The Old Norse
Where do you live? Norwich, Norfolk
Why did you choose that name for your brand? The Scandinavian History and culture is deep and interesting to me. Who else better to model yourself on than some of the toughest most badass men in history… The Vikings.
When did you first start making beard care products? A couple of years ago I started to dabble in making hair products as I was sick of the gloop I was rubbing in to my hair every day. Takes me a while to grow a beard and I started entering in to issues (Itching, flakey skin etc, etc) so already having been hands on with making things I want to give Beard care a go.
What is your favourite thing about making and selling beard care products? I love knowing that something I have created from the ground up is being enjoyed and helping people in their day-to-day lives. The fast cars, money and women that come with the beard care business are always a plus too……
What do you dislike about making and selling beard care? The dilution in the beard care market. Although I was not by any means the first in to this side of mens grooming it has become very apparent to me that people are jumping on the band wagon and making products. Often they won’t even be correctly tested and registered so it is dangerous to the customers.
How many hours do you normally spend making beard care in a week? I work full-time in my day job and then I will work 3 hours a night. When I need to complete larger orders and Xmas is coming around I have been doing 5+ a night after work for weeks to keep up. Although making the product takes some time it is the paperwork, logging, batching, social networking etc that can be a struggle. Enjoyable no the less though.
Where do you make the beard care products? All at home. Handmade in Norfolk.
What is your favourite product from your brand? To start with it was Glacial Fjord (Grapefruit and Sandalwood) now it is my latest creation, Merchants Origin (Lime, mandarin and frankincense). I love them all and use them for different times of the year to match the seasons and weather.
What one other beard care brand or brand owner do you admire? I like the Brighton Beard company for the back story behind their products. Fit for Vikings for their branding and Mariner Jack for their ethos and way they have built their business.I knew dave before he was a famous rock star!!
What plans do you have for the brand? I want to venture more in to the barbering side. Hoping to finish some R&D in to some new products next year too. Having my products in stores and selling online is a great accomplishment to me but barber shops has always been a goal. Hoping to go to some conventions soon and really get face to face with the industry.
What are your hobbies? This is my hobby as it is all I do in my spare time. Love films (big in to the cinematography side of films), football, photography and my cats.
Are you married/in a relationship? In a relationship. 5 years, 2 cats, 1 house and who knows what next.
What motivates you? The feedback I receive is a big boost. It’s always great to hear good things said about you and your product but even if I get a negative comment I use that as a stepping stone and a way that I can potentially adapt to make things better for the customers.
What are your strengths? Perseverance and a fairly good grasp of business. I’ve been told I’m quite good at marketing too.
What are your weaknesses? Meeting people. I’m terribly anti-social some times. Not in the sense that I will be rude to everyone but I do just enjoy my own company.
When was the last time you were angry? Last week.
What happened? When my other half nicked my charger for the 20th time even though she has her own!! A mild-mannered paddy was thrown.
If you weren’t making beard care what would you want to do for a job? I would love to work in film. Cinematography would be awesome. Or location scout….paid to go and look at beautiful locations. Cant go wrong with that.
What were you like in high school? I was a regular kid. Not in with the cool kids and not an outcast. Very much in to sports but still did well academically.
Do you talk much? Not really. I’ve been known to waffle but generally I’m a listener who will pipe up every now and again.
Are you introvert or extrovert? Introvert.
If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? A Cat. Sleep all the time, get fed, petted and loved. Free to go in and out, hunting and playing. Perfect.
How do you handle stress and pressure? Pressure hones me. Gets me thinking straighter and clearer. I have learnt not to get stressed any more. Don’t see any gain in it. I figure if it’s not gunna kill me then it shouldn’t bother me.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? Parked my car and came back to it the next morning and found a huge market has set up around it. Parking fine and the embarrassment of waiting all day for the market to end before I could go home.
What’s the best holiday you can imagine? I have done my fair bit of travelling (South america, NZ, Aus, a lot of europe) so I would love to be a bit nomadic. Travel out of a backpack and see things people haven’t seen before. Going off the beaten track. City breaks are lovely but I like the wilderness and outdoors. Give me a fjord vista over a double espresso mocha whatever sitting in a Starbucks any day!!
What is your favourite food? Loving scrambled eggs on toast with buffalo sauce at the moment!
What is your favourite alcoholic drink? I’m really not a big drinker. When ever I get offered a gift of booze I get them to buy me Robinson squash instead. Gotta stay hydrated.
What is your most proud achievement? It was the moment I first got my products stocked on the high street. Seeing a shelf filled with things I had created as brilliant!
What is/are your phobias? I hate the idea of not being able to sleep. I love my bed and having insomnia would be horrible.