Clayten Willington, owner of the Better Beard Company, is a living example of how difficulty can be turned into opportunity. “My background is actually in IT,” says Clayten. “I used to work for ALC and then I opened up my own restaurant which was doing well. We had 2 locations in Moncton.”
On January 10th of 2013, Clayten’s life veered off in an unexpected direction after his son was born with a rare disease. “We shut everything down, sold our house and moved to Halifax because he had to live at the IWK. I got [my next business] started out of necessity.”
Clayten’s son was born deaf and blind, so getting his attention seemed near impossible, until he discovered the power of the beard. “One day, I picked his hand up and brushed it through my beard and he rolled over. After that, every day I would run his little hand through my beard and he would know it was me.”
As his beard grew longer, it felt so itchy that Clayten would scratch himself to the point of scabbing. But since shaving his beard was no longer an option, he felt he had to come up with a solution to make his beardedness tolerable. “After trying my wife’s shampoo and conditioner to no avail, I came across Beard Oil,” he says. “There was no Canadian market at the time, so I made my own. When I was making Beard Oil I was also looking for my next business venture and it just seemed to fit together, and Better Beard Company was born.”
Why did you choose the elements you did?
The 2 carrier oils I use in beard oil is a blend of argan oil and jojoba oil. I chose to use argan oil because it is non comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. In addition to its other amazing properties, it’s really high in vitamin E, and it’s light-weight. I chose jojoba oil because it’s actually a liquid wax and it is really close to the natural oils your skin produces, so it also won’t clog your pores as well. It is really stable; the shelf life of jojoba oil is indefinite, so it increases the shelf life of my products.
I blend with essentials oils because they are natural and are also great for you. I also wanted my products to stand apart, and argan oil is like liquid gold. With a high amount of argan oil, not only is it amazing for your hair and skin, but it will last longer than the other beard oils on the market because you’ll need less.
For the beard balm, I use the blended beard oils and melt bees wax and shea butter into them. This gives a mild hold. The shea butter is awesome for skin and hair, and the bees wax will lock the moisture in.
For my shave gel, I chose to use aloe and witch hazel along with some essential oils because I wanted to create a product that is good for you, and won’t dry out your skin. Other shave gels and shave creams can dry your skin out because of the alcohol and other nasty chemicals in them. I wanted to create a barber shop quality product that is a joy to use, where people will look forward to shaving instead of hating it.
What is your process?
To create beard oil, I only blend 1 litre of a particular scent or kind at a time, and it takes 2 days for it to be ready for bottling. I use argan oil, jojoba oil and essential oils. The reason it takes 2 days is because I like to let the blend sit for 24hours so I know what I’m dealing with. Only then will I adjust the essential oils as I see fit.
The beard balm is actually really easy to make. I just simply measure out the bees wax and shea butter, melt it in a double boiler and add the beard oil and pour it into 2oz tins.
How long have you been a crafter?
I launched the company in April of 2014, however, I was doing research and blending since October of 2013.
What do you believe makes your work unique?
My work is unique as it’s marketed at men. I’ve seen other products for men that are marketed at women to buy for men, but I’ve branded this to appeal to men.
If you were to describe your work’s personality in 3 words, what would they be?
Vintage, Edgy, Canadian
When you’re baking for the Crafters market, where can I find your work?
My Products can be found at Saint Lou’s Barber Shop, Ascension Barber Shop, Kept Shop, Skybox Barbery, Independant Merchantile, Jenny Jib, Parlour Barber Shop, Status Barber Shop, King Cuts, Handsome Devils Barber Shop.
What makes Halifax Crafters different from other shows?
This is all new to me, but so far I’m looking forward to this show because it stands out as a place where all of the people who attend are serious about handmade quality goods I just finished another craft show and it was a mix of craft and resellers so I look forward to meeting everyone who is into local, unique, quality goods.
What inspires you to create?
Lots of things, really. I’m a creative person and I just love the process from idea to finished product. I love working with my hands.
How do you begin a new project?
I first come up with the branding, and then I come up with a name. It has to have a cool story, then I come up with the actual product based on the name and the branding, and how I associate the two.
Where do you do your work?
I work at my kitchen table.
What kind of music do you listen to while you work?
I listen to a little bit of everything from Johnny Horton to Prince, Michael Jackson, Ben Caplan, etc. It’s all over the place.
A place you love?
I love Calgary; I just back from there and it’s a beautiful city.
An artwork or artist you love?
You know, I love this painter from Calgary named Jason GoGo, also Alex from Fishbone Prints. I have alot of his work and he’s amazing, so I love him right now.
Favourite time of the year?
Christmas. I’m a Christmas freak. The only reason my tree didn’t go up Nov 1st is because my wife wants a real tree this year so we are going Nov 29th to cut one down with the family.
Three things you need in order to create?
A clean work space, good tunes, and fast internet.
A favourite quote?
With great beard comes great responsibility.
A film or book you love?
Lord of the Rings in both cases.
What’s your favourite way to procrastinate?
Answering questionnaires for blogs.
But seriously: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
What do you do when you’re not crafting?
Hanging out with my 4 kids and my smoking hot wife.