Scott Ponder and Patrick Brown had an itch. Two itches actually. Brown was a client at Ponder’s Northside hair salon, and when each was growing out his beard, they commiserated about how itchy and scratchy the process could be. Frustration with a lack of useful products led to inspiration, as Ponder tinkered with various combinations of oils and moisturizers. He handed out test-batch samples to Brown and other clients and used their feedback to formulate a beard elixir.
The product allowed Brown and Ponder to scratch another itch: the desire to work together on launching a business. And “launch” is a fitting term for the rocket-like growth of Ohio Valley Beard Supply. “We went from test batches and a logo to having our product on store shelves in three months,” Ponder says. “We talked to some P&G friends, and they said that sort of product development process usually takes three years.”
Brown, a hobbyist designer, created the logo and handles branding duties for the product line, which has grown to include finishing balms, washes, conditioners, and mustache wax sold in 65 Fresh Thyme stores in the Midwest as well as upscale barber shops and beauty salons. He and Ponder still make most of the products themselves, pack and ship orders, and build their own in-store displays in their space within OTR’s Losantiville Design Collective.
These bearded business partners are focused on facial hair right now—it’s a growth industry both literally and financially—but they don’t rule out an expansion into hair and body care down the line. Perhaps Ponder & Brown could become our city’s next Procter & Gamble.