The Bearded Chap

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Our finance helped The Bearded Chap expand its export business and become a force to be reckoned with.

Australia's first beard-grooming product manufacturer, The Bearded Chap, was launched in 2013 in Brisbane. The business makes all of its luxury beard oils, balms and men’s grooming products in Australia from natural, locally-sourced ingredients.

In its second year, The Bearded Chap began exporting to wholesalers in North America and the UK, but logistics and shipping costs out of Australia made it hard to compete with lower-cost alternatives. Founder and CEO, Luke Swenson, said that it all turned around when the business started selling into master distributors overseas.

“Fast forward to today, we've got customers in 51 countries around the world through our direct to consumer online channel, and wholesale distribution across all 27 countries in the EU,” he said. “We’ve some small distribution across USA, and we’re hopefully going to wrap up Canada shortly and give India, Russia and New Zealand a push.”

Despite COVID-19, the business was growing at triple digit figures. They needed finance to buy new machinery to ramp up their manufacturing of two new products, as well as equipment to create video content for customer education and marketing. Luke first heard about Export Finance Australia through Instagram.

“I spoke to my accountant about it, who investigated, and then I put an application for a loan,” he said. “I passed the pre-screening, which was awesome, as they saw the value and potential in our business.”

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A competitive advantage

Luke worked directly with our Client Liaison Officer, who he said was available whenever he needed help.

“Export Finance Australia were amazing through the whole process,” he said. “The application process was very transparent – and the online platform lets you see where you're at every step of the way.”

With our $104,000 Small Business Export Loan, the business was able to expand its manufacturing and video content capabilities. Luke says that having access to finance has been critical in building The Bearded Chap’s competitive advantage.

“We had to pay for stock and equipment up front, which we wouldn't have been able to afford without that cash in the bank,” he said. “It’s also enabled us to execute some things before Christmas which otherwise we couldn’t do until May next year. This has put our business way ahead of the game in the industry.”

In the next year, The Bearded Chap plans to expand its footprint in the UK and the enormous Indian and Asian markets.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity that Export Finance has given us,” he said. “We were already in a strong position – but the finance has made us a force to be reckoned with.

I'm grateful for the opportunity that Export Finance has given us. We were already in a strong position – but the finance has made us a force to be reckoned with.

Luke Swenson, Founder and CEO
The Bearded Chap