LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Wade Barbe is a single-father who created the Lufkin Beard Company as a way to spend more time with kids while helping other local businesses succeed.
"Unfortunately, I didn't really have a dad growing up. I figured that could affect you in two ways, either it could affect you in a really positive way, or it could affect you in a really negative way," said Barbe. "Being a dad is my number one priority, and being here for my boys is so important."
His office is in a spare bedroom of his home. It's a mix between his children's toy-collectibles, and the products that have become so popular to East Texans.
His story began after he quit his industry job that he would sometimes spend 14 hour days working. Next, he worked to turn his hobby of making beard grooming products, into a full-fledge company.
"Originally I started it just as a hobby after I decided to grow my beard," Barbe said. "Then I realized I could use it as a means to not only provide for my kids, but also spend more time with them."
He said the company wasn't an overnight success, but after gaining a few loyal customers he watched the popularity rise.
"It took a few months to really get it going, but once the first person bought, and gave me a review, it just kind of snowballed," Barbe said.
He feels that the best part about his company is his devotion to helping other local small-businesses by using as many products from East Texas workers as he possibly can.
"Lufkin has had a lot of industry leave, and you see the effects on people, Barbe said. "To me it's cool to use local beeswax, and as many products made here in Lufkin as I can. Another example is that I use goat milk from a lady who owns a farm, and makes soaps."
He said his goal in starting was to keep everything local, and his products all-natural. Along with a product line of different conditioning beard oils, he's created other merchandise as well.
"I noticed once I started growing my beard that the skin underneath it would become itchy, and dry," Barbe said. "So I started testing out different recipes, and ingredients until I found one I liked. We also sell a hand save, and leather conditioner."
Aside from this business owner using local products, keeping his recipes all natural, he is also a self-taught graphic printer, designer, and packaging creator.
"Yeah, I actually drew the logo myself. It's just a picture of me that I hand drew, and scanned into the computer," Barbe said. "After that I began experimenting with different packaging designs until I found one I liked."
He doesn't take all the credit for building his small business from the ground up, claiming his boys help as often as they can.
As he grows his business along with helping others in the community, he wants his story to inspire others wanting to take a risk, and start their own business.
"I have always been a dreamer, I have always loved taking things, and figuring out how to make them better," Barbe. "If another dreamer watches this, I hope they know that if I can do it, they can too."