Start-ups to watch 2017: Bearded Basturds – skincare from Rosyth

Entrepreneur Craig McKay has scaled the business from his kitchen table to selling in 10 different countries in less than a year 

I had the pleasure of delivering a PR seminar for some of Fife’s newest – and most inspiring – start-ups at Rosyth Business Centre the other week, thanks to one of the Kingdom’s top business enablers, Kallum Russell of Acorn Enterprise.
It’s the third time Kallum has invited me to give a talk on the merits of PR and deliver a crash course in press release writing for new businesses. It always helps to have a receptive audience when you’re giving a heartfelt and passionate presentation on your ‘craft’ but something magical happened here and I was positively buzzing when I left.
Not only was I awestruck by the start-ups I encountered, but I wanted ‘invest’ so much in their futures that I spent some time afterwards finding out even more and helping one PR protoge submit her first press release to the local media.
Not only were they a really nice bunch of people but a group of future influencers I could really get behind – no hecklers, no cynics and very welcoming indeed.
Acorn Enterprise 2017 cohort
One business in particular really piqued my interest: Bearded Basturds. Not only a disruptive, cutting edge cosmetics company based in Rosyth, but a bit of a marketing enigma with a whole host of PR challenges, given its quirky name.
Run by former financial services marketing professional Craig McKay, who’s also a bit of a whizz when it coms to SEO, Bearded Basturds was born out of baby skin care research. When prescribed creams and ointments only made his son’s dermatitis worse, Craig decided to take matters into his own hands.
Keen to find a solution to his infant son’s troublesome skin woes, Craig started digging around on You Tube before ordering a few experimental products to start dabbling in developing his own skincare range – with the sole purpose of improving his little one’s complexion.
Using only natural ingredients infused with essential oils, Craig has now developed an impressive skincare and cosmetics range which has not only worked wonders on his son’s skin but is in hot demand all over the UK and in Europe.
He has scaled the business from his kitchen table to selling in 10 different countries in less than a year and is currently riding an amazing wave of success.
He’s in talks with a number of barber shops to scale the business even further and, from his workshop at Rosyth Business Centre, is shipping white label products to hospitality firms, as well as salons, all over the world.
Craig also ranks number one on the first page of Google for beard care, thanks again to his own research and organic approach to SEO and content marketing.
His only real challenge is in the name of the business. Or is it?
While the business might have been shunned by broadcast media for being too rude to say out loud (at least before the watershed anyway), a controversial name can actually help a business to succeed. ‘Fat Ho’ is the name of a relatively new burger joint in Waco, Texas, for example, which we hear is doing a roaring trade in the ‘Supa Dupa Fly Ho With Chz’.
A disruptive business with a disruptive name just needs to employ disruptive marketing –and therefore disruptive PR.
I look forward to seeing what comes next from Bearded Basturds and which clever marketing and PR techniques Craig decides to employ. 
We can certainly learn a lot from his passion and investment in the brand, as well as how start-ups can achieve commercial success on a shoestring.
This is one business venture to watch – whether you have a beard or not.
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