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Harry Selfridge

In the early 1900s, as more women were entering the workplace, Harry Gordon Selfridge, a department store owner from Chicago, was quick to identify this demographic as a business opportunity both as customers and employees. Bored with his early success in America, he sought greater challenges abroad, and in 1908 he founded Selfridges’s in London.

From the spectacular window displays to the natty uniforms of his female elevator attendants, Selfridge proved to be a marketing genius. He invested in creative advertising for his nine-floor store which prospered on Oxford Street throughout the 1920s.

In an era when facial hair for younger men was unfashionable, Selfridge wore a full Edwardian moustachio and mutton chops with proud insouciance.

Selfridges’ bold risk-taking largely paid off, but it was was his weakness for gambling and dalliances with women that would ultimately lead to his downfall.

Although Selfridge died bankrupt and alone, the department store that bears his name—and carries Beardsley products—remains the flagship of London’s shopping district.

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Inspirations—You’ll Grow Them by Observation

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

You can’t escape a good visual. Suddenly in your sight is some guy with facial hair that catches the eye and fixes its hold. It feels a bit uneasy; guys don’t fixate on other guys all that much. It’s downright uncomfortable in fact when what you’re staring at is attractive.

Let yourself off the hook; your captivation to admire a great beard is nothing odd or weird or disgusting. Those of us who have such facial frock don’t mind inquirers, and many of us are loaded with tips, stories and reasons why your eye is inspiring to you as a calling to come join us.

During the weekend of this writing David and I had the joy of meeting up with one of our lead trainers at the job we perform at a large call center. We’ve had a lot of interest and compliments being the longest beards at the center, and this gent has been showing all the signs of being able to grow a considerable, bushy, full black set of whiskers.

We had our conversation at the convenience store nearby where he pointed out that the usual this veil of growth was thicker than we’ve ever seen, and his goal was to grow a LeBron James look-alike.

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Raise Your Steins: In Many Places It’s Really OktoBeardfest

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate


Major attractions for Beards from head to toe: hats, beer, manly threads, footwear for the job,  and atmosphere.  October has a way of bringing all the attractions together at festivals around the globe—chiefly, celebrating the brew and whisker. Some love this season so much that their celebrating starts before summer ends!

The earliest of early birds goes to Snowbird, Utah, for their Oktoberfest weekends which starts with their Family Friendly Beard & Moustache Competition which was held August 18th. Much like the World Beard competitions there are lots of categories, including for the ladies (whiskerinas) and kids, and for the locals it’s there excuse to beat the heat in the higher peaks of the Rockies.

The Minnesota Renaissance Fest at Oktoberfest entertains with the stuff that gets our families and friends traveling, and this year they made an excellent point to be around for the Beard Contest which took place the 29th of September. For anyone thinking about growing, nothing will connect better than taking a page out of time, long before the world we experience, to the days where jousts, feasts and craftsmen earned their keep with the most natural beards one could find. Best of the lot are the hammer-smiths, the men of iron and fire.

For residents this feels much like a State Fair, and it has always featured different themes each weekend.

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Podcast: Justin Willis—Gaming the Beard

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