This post originally appeared at The Modern Dad.
So Much to do, so Little Time
Always thought that raising a family and starting a business just don’t mix?
Online stores and lifestyle brands have opened up new opportunities for dads to become entrepreneurs in the dark hours of the early morning and late into the night. New fathers can now spend more time where it counts—with the family.
I wanted to catch up with longtime branding and marketing expert, Kyle Bardouche, to talk about how he founded a men’s grooming business and how he’s balanced his home life with entrepreneurship.
Jack Henry, his online store selling all-natural men’s products for the hair, face, and body, has been running for over two years and keeps growing.
While founding Jack Henry, Kyle also started the men’s lifestyle blog, Fellow Gent, which has gathered over 500k visitors in a little over two years.
In the past, Kyle worked as Director of Marketing at Matador Products, an adventure and travel gear company with a minimalist aesthetic. He was also Head of Product and Business Development with Alpine Modern based in Boulder, Colorado.
Despite his hectic schedule, Kyle was able to spend some time answering my questions about opening a business while maintaining the delicate balance of fatherhood and entrepreneurship.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Kyle, 32 years old and currently reside in Boulder, CO with my wife Erin and our two sons, Jack + Leo.
Together with my wife, we run and operate Jack Henry and Triumph Media.
Can you tell us a bit about Jack Henry? What led you to build a business in men’s grooming products?
Jack Henry is a clean + minimal men’s grooming brand. What the hell does that mean? Well, one day, about two years ago, our Son, whose name is Jack Henry, turned two and his hair was getting pretty gnarly. My wife, Erin, wanted to style his hair.
I threw her the jar I was using at the time and she turned it over and said: “have you ever looked what’s in here?”
I thought to myself for a moment. No, I’d honestly never looked.
We were so conscious about what we were eating and putting in our bodies, but I never thought twice about what I was putting on my body.
That product had 33 ingredients, 98% of which are synthetics. My wife went on a mission to do some research and make our own.
She made the first batch on our stovetop. I used it for two months and it was the best product I’ve ever used. It only had THREE total ingredients compared to 33. But the performance was insane, too.
It had an all-natural look and feel. There was zero shine, zero greases, and zero crunches. I could run my hands through my hair and it felt like nothing was in it, all while being styled the way I want it.
From there, I knew we had to build a brand around this and educate guys on what’s in their products and why. You don’t need ingredients you can’t pronounce. Best of all, it’s actually beneficial for your hair – it stimulates hair growth, fights off dandruff, is highly moisturizing for your hair and scalp, contains antioxidants, and removes buildup & dead skin cells.
We’ve heard that the Jack Henry brand name is personally significant for you. Can you tell us about the decision behind the name?
Jack Henry was inspired by our firstborn son, Jack Henry and wanting to style his hair with something non-toxic.
Before Jack Henry, you had a few other business ventures: Matador, Alpine Modern, Fellow Gent. Could you give us just a brief summary of those experiences?
I’ve been incredibly lucky the past 5 or so years, starting a couple of brands, working for a couple of other startups and more importantly working and surrounding myself with hustlers, grinders, and some of the smartest people I’ve ever met.
I give credit to the experience I had at to those brands. Fellow Gent started as a passion for sharing the things I love and the people I’ve met along the way.
Alpine Modern became to be from merging my first brand, Amos, a leather goods brand, and Matador, where I headed Brand Marketing while I moonlighted on Jack Henry.
You’re sort of a serial entrepreneur. You’re also the father of two young boys. How have you juggled running your own businesses while keeping up with the challenges of fatherhood?
To be honest, it hasn’t been easy.
It’s hard to switch gears, turn off the phone, and be in the moment with your wife and kids.
My family is everything to me. I always try to put them first. Honestly, I don’t sleep much. But I can’t even complain, my wife sleeps less and is a rockstar. I couldn’t do any of this without her. I give her all the credit.
Do you have any branding and marketing tips for any entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
That’s a great question. There are so many routes you can start.
I would say the very first thing is to really believe in your product/service and believe in yourself. There’s going to be so many times where you doubt yourself or doubt what you’re doing. But try to remember back to the day you got your idea and ran with it. But I would say the first thing business-wise is to develop a business plan and develop your customer muse. Oh, and make sure you’re solving a problem 🙂
Do you have any advice for fathers who are looking to start a business?
I use my sons and family as inspiration and drive. Everything I do, I do it for them. Always put your family first, even if you know you have important emails waiting or orders to ship.
Those emails will always be there, but your time with your little ones are so precious that you’ll never get that back. Be in the moment as much as possible.
I want to thank Kyle for sharing his thoughts on starting a business and staying present with his wife and kids.
His words are a reminder to keep priorities straight and to focus on those who need your attention most. Those little ones are much more your legacy than anything else.