When I started The Beard Coach a couple months ago, I didn’t realize the extent of the existing beard website community. There are a lot of cool people making equally cool beard sites! As a newcomer to the scene, I could think of no better way to get to know the community than by interviewing the people behind the sites I think are great.
The first person kind enough to subject themselves to the hard-hitting, in-depth reporting I have absolutely no formal training to provide was Erin Dollar from I Made You A Beard. Visit her site and you will soon find that she will indeed make you a beard. And it will be awesome.
Alright, on to the interview!
The Beard Coach: I see that you’ve been beard blogging for about a year now. How long have you been making beards?
Erin: I’ve been making beards for about 2 ½ years now. It all started one summer day right before I graduated from college. I should have been working on my final projects and thesis, but my brain was starting to crack from the stress, so I started working on a “just for fun” project. Who knew this distraction would end up being something I would be working on for so long!?
TBC: Describe the inspiration behind the first beard you made.
Erin: I think there were a lot of things influencing that first beard. A guy I knew was traveling to Germany for the World Beard and Moustache Championships, which I thought was amazing. I think the actual design of the beard was based more on drawings and illustrations I had been looking at lately, but I look back and wonder if I wasn’t trying to level the playing field a little bit, so maybe women could compete in Germany
TBC: What did it feel like to put on that first beard?
Erin: Hilarious. The first beard took hours and hours to sew, so it was a pretty gratifying.
TBC: Obviously you enjoy homemade beards and beard drawings. What about the real deal?
Erin: Honestly, I love seeing beards in the real world, but I’ve never dated a guy with a full bushy beard. This isn’t to say that I don’t find them fascinating, I really have a lot of respect for guys who put effort into their beard, it can look really cool. But yeah, as much as I joke about it, I’m glad I don’t have a real one.
TBC: What is your take on the state of the beard today?
Erin: There are too many lazy beard growers out there. Beards have the potential to be really awesome… or super gross. Don’t believe any lady who says that the first thing she sees on a guy is his eyes; she’s looking at your half-assed goatee and wondering why she bothered to get out of bed this morning.
TBC: Name your 3 favorite bearded people.
Erin: Edward Gorey, Charles Darwin, and Kyp Malone. Frida Kahlo comes in fourth with her most excellent moustache.
TBC: Name the top 3 people you wish had a beard.
Erin: Barack Obama (so the Lincoln metaphors could REALLY take hold), Dave Eggers (sometimes he has this little soul patch thing that really bugs me), and Al Gore (am I the only one who thought he looked better with a beard?)
TBC: Why do you think people enjoy beards?
Erin: I think it depends. Extra warmth in the winter? Kitsch value? Shaving sucks? I’m not sure what the ultimate draw is, but I think when people see a properly maintained and groomed beard, it just looks… right.
TBC: Please briefly tell your favorite beard-related story.
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but seeing guys with long beards on bicycles is possibly the greatest thing ever. The wind pushes the beard back over the shoulders, and it just looks magical.
TBC: Much of my site is devoted to beard-growing motivation. What is your best advice for guys who are currently growing a beard?
Erin: The trick seems to be getting through the awkward itchy/ugly period when nothing is really growing in quite right. I’d advice novice beard growers to take a solo vacation at this point, so you can hang out and wait for your beard to look top notch, all while sipping drinks by the beach. When you return, everyone will be shocked by your perfectly grown-in beard, not to mention your new tan.
TBC: Erin, thanks for the insight into the mind behind I Made You A Beard. Best bearded wishes to you!