A brave-hearted entrepreneur Founder of the Montreal-based men’s grooming line Brave & Bearded, Max Fortin has spearheaded his brand in the professional beauty industry with a clear vision, hard work and a lot of courage.
Salon Magazine: Where did you get the idea to launch a business in the barbershop niche?
Max Fortin: I left my job in the construction industry the day my boss asked me to shave my beard. To me, that was completely unacceptable. After that, I went to a drugstore looking for grooming products for beards and I didn’t find anything I liked. That’s when I decided to launch a company that would cater to this specific market.
SM: Is it possible to become an entrepreneur from one day to the next?
MF: I read somewhere that if you don’t follow your own dreams, you’ll end up working all your life to make other people’s dreams come true. This quote had a dramatic impact on me. You have to be brave to become an entrepreneur. Have a ton of creativity and be bold enough to make your way through all the pitfalls that come with starting your own business.
SM: How did you finance a start-up in the professional beauty industry?
MF: Brave & Bearded did not have any funding, which has not always been easy. We used a meagre $300 for our first purchases, and all our profits have been reinvested in the company to make it grow. Despite all the partnership opportunities that have presented themselves, I’ve decided to remain the sole owner. But who knows what the future holds.
SM: What has the growth of Brave & Bearded been like?
MF: To be honest, I owe the growth of my company to my best buddies, Dominic Hamel, Jean-Sébastien Brunet and Jonathan Fortin, and the people in my area [in the suburbs of Montreal] who encouraged me from day one. We’re also doing a killing on Instagram with more than 140,000 followers, which has given us brand awareness here and internationally. Right now, we’re available
across Canada thanks to a great distribution network composed of Revolution & Style, Cantin, Cosbec, ESP, West Coast Beauty.
SM: How many Brave & Bearded products are currently on the market?
MF: We have a full line of products and accessories for beards with 15 SKUs and a collection of T-shirts for men and women. We’re currently researching and developing new products that target the latest lifestyle trends.
SM: What’s your bestseller?
MF: Our Brave Soul Edition Beard Oil. It has a very unique fragrance and is made with super-emollient and soothing ingredients that really make it stand out. Men and women love it!
SM: Any plans for 2017?
MF: We’re targeting the American market, and we’re looking into ways to optimize the client experience so that all contact points with the Brave & Bearded brand are outstanding.