Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Gib

Red Banner with HOF Episode

In this episode recorded in September of 2018, we interview Brian Long, aka "Gib", the founder and CEO of Gibs Grooming. In this interview, Gib explains how being a serial entrepreneur paved the way for him to launch a new product line that has taken the Beauty Industry by storm.

Chad Jordan and Gib holding a mic

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
September 12, 2018 Gib CEO and Founder, Gibs Grooming The background and launch of Gibs Grooming

Each episode of the Podcast is also available on iTunes and the Google Play store. 

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Transcription:

Chad Jordan:                Hey everybody. This is Chad Jordan, I'm the director of marketing for digital services over here at Sport Clips. This is another edition of our Hall of Fame podcast. This is going to be a fun one because we get to interview one of the founders of one of our favorite product lines. In fact, why don't I go ahead and have him introduce himself.

Brian:                           Hi everybody at Sport Clips, this is Brian Long, or everybody knows me as Gib from GIBS Grooming, and it is an honor to be down here, and being interviewed on this podcast, so that I can talk about, not just how I got in this business, but how my relationship has grown through the support of all the people at Sport Clips from the corporate office through everybody in every store, and building a brand and giving me and my family a life.

Chad Jordan:                Well, one thing I think I'm going to be interested in is how long did it take for you to get Sport Clips right? I mean, it had to have been Sports Clips for the first number of years probably, but now you nailed it every single time you said it. Sport Clips.

Brian:                           Well, I practiced. I practiced quite a bit. In the beginning, I kept slipping, and then I was coming up to my first huddle where I'd have to give my first speech on the stage in front of all those people, and I think I practiced it hundreds of times. Sport Clips, Sport Clips, Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan:                It gets noticed when you do it correctly, and I got to just tell this quick story and then we'll get to you, that's who everybody wants to hear from. We were at the Darlington races this past weekend, and Gordon was there of course, our CEO and founder. Coach Gibbs comes to the hospitality area to talk to everybody, and grabs the microphone and he starts talking. A time or two he slipped up in front of a lot of people and called it "Sports Clips", and this time Gordon was literally right behind him, a couple feet behind him. Coach Gibbs said "Sport Clips" and he nailed it twice. He said it twice. I look over to Gordon both times, he's smiling from ear to ear, he's elbowing the person next to him like, "Yes, this guy he's got it."

Brian:                           He nailed it.

Chad Jordan:                Whenever you say it correctly, an angel gets its wings. It's one of these moments, so we appreciate that. Obviously, we have a great relationship with you personally, with your company. It didn't happen overnight, your success didn't happen overnight. So, here's what I'm interested in today. For everybody listening out there, I think they're going to be in the edge of their seats as they hear how your story unfolds over the last 10, 20 years, and how you got to be here. Gib and I had breakfast this morning, I was joking that I wanted to get him on the podcast before his life gets turned into a movie because it's so doggone interesting, but take me back through the eclectic path that took you to where you are today.

Brian:                           Well, I've been given the tag in the name as a serial entrepreneur.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Instead of a serial murderer or whatever, it's serial ... You're always out there pushing the envelope with businesses. Okay, I like it.

Brian:                           I love creativity, love new ideas, and trying to take an idea and making it a reality, and if there's money at the end of it, it's even more of a benefit. But I've done a lot of things over the years. I grew up in New York, and I grew up always from ... whether it be a lemonade stand, or anything, I was always on a hustle. In high school I was a bagel baker just as a job.

Chad Jordan:                That's where the bagel side comes from, New York, okay I'm starting to connect the dots here. All right.

Brian:                           I am a food snob like all good New Yorkers. When it comes to Italian food, and bagels, and deli, and things like that, of course, the pizza. I did it all. I worked in food quite a bit, and then in my late teens I got a taste for a band called the Grateful Dead, which a lot of you know about.

Chad Jordan:                Little-known band called Grateful Dead.

Brian:                           It's funny, when I stand up with some of these leadership's and stuff, I'm like, "Has anybody ever heard of the Grateful Dead?", and sometimes it's like less than a quarter of the hands go up, so I guess it dates me, but at the same time it was a movement that I am proud to be a part of, and-

Chad Jordan:                Is your whole wardrobe at home all tie-dye? How does that work?

Brian:                           I've got some in there, in fact I was wearing them this weekend when we were out at the Phish show, but on that Grateful Dead experience, and after I went to the first couple of shows I started to conduct business on the parking lots, whether it be ... I started making tie-dyes, I started selling bagels, I started selling beers and waters, and everything I could do to hustle to make money so I could go to the next Grateful Dead show. At the time I didn't realize that I was conducting business. I got ... there's been books written about the marketing secrets of the Grateful Dead. The entrepreneurial drive that comes from the Grateful Dead. There's been so many people that have learned how to do what I call "real business", which is life business, on the lot. The parking lot I would refer to as the lot. So, anyway, coming off of that-

Chad Jordan:                What timeframe is this?

Brian:                           I was in the late '80s-

Chad Jordan:                Jerry Garcia's still alive at this point, right?

Brian:                           Yeah Garcia was alive, late '80s early '90s, and then he dies, and for those that you don't know Jerry Garcia was that was the driving force behind the Grateful Dead. He was the front man, and when he passed we all didn't know what to do as wandering souls and people that traveled with this band for years we had to figure out what to do.

Chad Jordan:                It feels like, remember that scene from Forrest Gump when he's running, and he's running, and he's running, and then all of a sudden he stops running he turns around, and he has all these people that have been following him, and they're all like, "Well, what are we going to do now that you're not running?" He's like, "I don't know.", that kind of feels like that was your moment, right, you guys were all following Jerry and the Grateful Dead, and well, now what?

Brian:                           Now what? So, I still liked being a rolling stone, and I still liked traveling country, and I was a big snowboarder, and outdoors person, a fisherman, still am, and Colorado was the motherland for snowboarding.

Chad Jordan:                For sure.

Brian:                           So, I came out here to spend a few months, and had an epiphany with my entrepreneurial eyeball that there was absolutely no bagels in the State of Colorado, and there were so many of us New Yorkers here that were transplants-

Chad Jordan:                Hankering for a good bagel.

Brian:                           Yeah, I'm like, "I'm the guy that can bring it." So, I started the process of trying to open a bagel store, which was a lot different than opening a parking lot yeah venue. It took two years, but after two years of persistence, and trying to get money together, and learn about what it takes to not just know how to make a bagel, but to run a business-

Chad Jordan:                So, you have your own bagel oven? I mean, this is ... that's a process.

Brian:                           Well, yeah I went in ... I was delivering pizza for Domino's, and so I ended up going into their management training program for the sole purpose of learning how to own and run a restaurant, so I could open my bagel shop, and then after getting an SBA loan, and again two years I went back to New York I bought all the same equipment that I learned on in New York out on Long Island put it in a truck drove it out and set up the kitchen the same way I had in New York. I had to put out the real deal. I had to make sure that my money was where my mouth was.

Chad Jordan:                You weren't going to get the frozen Costco brand that you guys just throw out there.

Brian:                           No, no, no. So anyway, we open up Gib's Bagels-

Chad Jordan:                Where? What city are we in, in Colorado?

Brian:                           We are in Fort Collins Colorado, and-

Chad Jordan:                Is that a college town?

Brian:                           Yes, Colorado State University, also the home of OtterBox, New Belgium Brewery, and Hewlett Packard. There's a lot of good anchor businesses there. So, I get Gib's New York Bagels open, and it just ... it killed it.

Chad Jordan:                Where did the Gibbs name come from?

Brian:                           That's been a nickname I've had since I was a little kid with no story behind it.

Chad Jordan:                Really?

Brian:                           I wished I had one for it.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, but it stuck.

Brian:                           It stuck, you know why it stuck? 'Cause I hated it. I hated it I used to fight my brother when he'd lay it on me, and teachers would call me that, people called me, and then when it came to opening the actual bagel store I was actually going to call it Lock, Stock, and Bagel-

Chad Jordan:                Oh, nice.

Brian:                           ... but then someone said, "No, call it Gib's Bagels." So I called it Gib's, Gib's New York Bagel.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Brian:                           In the meanwhile I always had other hustles going on. I heard you say earlier you owned a juice bar.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Brian:                           I owned Pacific Juice. Gib's Pacific Juice. When that trend started I tried to jump on that, and I was humbled very quickly. It was a tough business to have in Colorado, and it was before-

Chad Jordan:                Better idea than it is a business.

Brian:                           Yeah. So, I had the smoothie bars, and I had the Gib's Bagels, and I was just trucking, and it kept growing, and things were happening, and it was so much more than just a bagel shop. Whatever I did I threw my heart, and life into, and it was an extension of me. So those ... and there is a lot of people in Sport Clips who have been in my bagel stores that get that feeling of like this isn't just about a round piece of bread.

Chad Jordan:                It's culture, there's culture

Brian:                           It's a culture.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, and how many are yet now? How many stores?

Brian:                           There's five, and I sold them, that's part of this story, but for 15 years strong I had it, I built it-

Chad Jordan:                So, we're talking the '90s and early 2000s?

Brian:                           Yes, 2007 I sold it. I just I created all these generations of college students, and high school students that learned how to get a job, and work, and train. I still get letters and phone calls today from people that are 30, 40 years old that said that the Gib's experience was exactly what I just called it, an experience. It wasn't just a place to eat. We had parties. We did stuff. We raised money. We supported the town, and then town supported us. We went into a whole thing about local businesses, 'cause all these bagel stores were coming in, the franchises like Bruegger's and Einstein's, and we ran them out of town, literally. The town ran them out of town. It was awesome, it was that small town [crosstalk 00:10:55]-

Chad Jordan:                Like how dare you try to tread on our turf of New York bagels-

Brian:                           We started a movement [crosstalk 00:10:58] subvert the corporate bagel, and there was an Einstein Bagel across the street from mine that literally shut down. So, it was great. Eventually, I just, like anything, I got burnt out. Food is tough business.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yes. Preach it-

Brian:                           Bagels you get up at two in the morning. Yeah, so I got burnt, and I decided to sell it, and I put-

Chad Jordan:                You probably ... did you have young kids at this time?

Brian:                           They were in high school at this time, just middle school, high school. I put it up for sale, and within three days a guy walked in who said he wanted to buy it. He never even baked a cookie, or worked in a restaurant, but he was sick of being a IT man, and so I sold it to him.

Chad Jordan:                So, your dream became someone else's dream-

Brian:                           Yeah,

Chad Jordan:                ... you were able to hand that off.

Brian:                           Yeah, and I had to work with him for six months, and show him how to run the business. I sold it to him, and we became friends over that six months, and we were like minded individuals, and today in GIBS Grooming, that is my partner who we refer to as Big Smooth.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay. Nice.

Brian:                           So, Big Smooth now owns the Gib's Bagels, and still owns them, and continues to grow them, and carry the name proudly. I still act like I own them. I walk in, I'll critique the food, I'll yell at the employees, and I make myself at home. As we worked together for months, and we got to know each other, we'd always throw ideas up on the wall, and we were fishermen, and we're hunters, and we would fish, and a girl came into the bagel store, one of the ... she's today the general manager, she's worked there for 17 years.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           Since a high school kid ... she came in, and she had a feather in her hair that her father, who was a fishing buddy of mine, put in there that looked really cool. It was a feather we use for fly fishing out here in Colorado. Not only did I think it looked cool in her hair, all the customers coming into the bagel store thought it looked cool. So, as I was, I call it creepin', because I hang out ... the guy who graduates high school, and doesn't know what to do, and he hangs around the high school, that was me. I sold my bagel company, I didn't know what to do, so I still hung around the bagel company.

                                    I was like, people were making so many comments on her feather in her hair she started putting it in people's hair in the lobby of the bagel store at 10 bucks a pop, and they cost us a nickel. So, I encouraged her to start a company. My entrepreneurial bells were going off, and she just didn't want to do it. So, I bought a domain name, hairfeathers.com, and Googled "beauty show", saw that there was a show in my hometown in New York City, and I-

Chad Jordan:                You figured, "Hey, why not go make a road trip out of this, and go see some family members, and try to sell"-

Brian:                           Try to launch a company called Hair Feathers-

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, okay.

Brian:                           ... and start ... in hindsight, I didn't realize it but we started a trend.

Chad Jordan:                With no experience in the beauty industry.

Brian:                           None.

Chad Jordan:                You literally had to Google, and see if this was even a thing.

Brian:                           Beauty show. Yeah, 'cause I knew trade shows, everything's got a trade show. Hunting, fishing, boating, cars, everything has a trade show. So, I knew there were only three farmers that could grow these hair feathers nationwide, they're actually genetic specialist that grow these very long, sheen feathers, that could when we made flies out of them for fishing, when a fish would eat it, it would not fall apart. Well, women when they put them in their hair, they could blow dry them, curl them, and they wouldn't come out. Leave them there for a month. So, I bought-

Chad Jordan:                It could survive a nuclear-

Brian:                           Everything.

Chad Jordan:                ... reaction, or something.

Brian:                           Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, that's cool.

Brian:                           I bought everything from those farmers on a risk. I went in, met them, said, "How much do you have?", they told me, I bought everything they had-

Chad Jordan:                Did they think you were joking when you asked for their entire inventory or-

Brian:                           They were ... they thought I was nuts. They thought I was nuts. I thought I was nuts. I was like-

Chad Jordan:                Just gotta do it when you're a serial entrepreneur, you just gotta-

Brian:                           I mean, it's like this-

Chad Jordan:                ... go for it.

Brian:                           If I only bought a couple, and there's only a limited supply, and then it worked-

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, you'd be kicking yourself.

Brian:                           Yeah. I wasn't gonna do it unless it worked. I'm go big or go home. So, we went big, we bought everything. I invested a lot of money in it.

Chad Jordan:                How many feathers are we talking about? 1,000? 10,000?

Brian:                           Millions.

Chad Jordan:                Millions? Oh, man.

Brian:                           Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                That's amazing.

Brian:                           We sold ... well, we went to the beauty show, and like you were saying earlier we had no idea. I went in, I had a duffle bag, I was wearing my jeans, boots, and a shirt. I had a duffle bag that was full of the feathers, and I had no booth. No pop-up. No marketing material. I just had my feathers-

Chad Jordan:                Please tell me you recorded this on video, or picture, or something.

Brian:                           I wished I did, but I didn't 'cause I didn't know what to expect, but what was cool was when I walked into that beauty show, and this is the truth, I walked into the IBS show, International Beauty Show in New York, Javits Center, the energy, the music, the artistry, I was back on a Grateful Dead parking lot.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right. Oh, man that adrenaline-

Brian:                           So, I felt home.

Chad Jordan:                ... kicks in, and ... oh, yeah.

Brian:                           Yeah, I was like check it out, I'm on beauty tour, and I'm the farthest thing from beauty. I barely ... I'm a hippie, I barely use soap, let alone own a men's grooming line. So, I come in, we launch this thing-

Chad Jordan:                So, do you have a booth? I mean, how does this work, or do you just literally-

Brian:                           I have a table. It comes with a table and two chairs.

Chad Jordan:                Any signage, or anything?

Brian:                           We took garbage cans, literally, the garbage cans from the loading dock, and flipped them upside down and used them as extra tables.

Chad Jordan:                Oh my goodness.

Brian:                           We met stylists that were walking the floor, and I was just hiring them, and just saying, "Jump in here, and help us.", and they were doing the installs, and me and Smooth, and Frankie Beans, he's another guy works in our company, we were doing ... we were selling, and the girls were doing the installs. We just had this thing going, and next thing you know CNBC was there, all the news channels-

Chad Jordan:                They'd never seen anything like it.

Brian:                           ... we were the new thing-

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           ... 'cause there was nothing new that year.

Chad Jordan:                What year was this?

Brian:                           This was seven years ago, so what would that make it?

Chad Jordan:                2011?

Brian:                           2011, 2010 maybe.

Chad Jordan:                Okay so, pretty recent. All right.

Brian:                           So, we walk in, we have all these feathers, we start this movement. Everybody wants the feathers. We get them to go on American Idol with Steven Tyler, he puts them in his hair-

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yeah. Okay. That was where it started?

Brian:                           Done.

Chad Jordan:                What?

Brian:                           Done. I mean, our phone ... I literally would watch on my cellphone our website, and it looked like a dream, 'cause every day we'd do $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 in sales.

Chad Jordan:                Oh my gosh.

Brian:                           It was short lived.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay.

Brian:                           We sold out of feathers. I sold $3 million worth of feathers-

Chad Jordan:                Wait, you bought all the feathers, millions which I didn't ... I was really thinking it was like 1,000, so there were millions of them, and you sold them all out?

Brian:                           Sold them all.

Chad Jordan:                So, that gamble paid off.

Brian:                           Yep, made a ton of money-

Chad Jordan:                But?

Brian:                           ... and now I have nothing to sell.

Chad Jordan:                No more feathers.

Brian:                           So, I get the farmers together, 'cause I was getting greedy, and I felt like this is easy money. Like the guy who figured out how to bottle water, I mean, that was genius.

Chad Jordan:                Right, here we are drinking a couple ourselves.

Brian:                           Me and you right now. So, then we have ... I get the farmers together, these three guys, and I say, "All right, lets pool our resources.", and we hatched 20,000 roosters.

Chad Jordan:                What?

Brian:                           Yeah, 20,000 roosters-

Chad Jordan:                Oh my gosh.

Brian:                           ... to grow a huge mountain of feathers, and I was going to be the feather czar of the world.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, Lord have mercy.

Brian:                           I was known as my friends as Pablo Escofeather, and I was gonna control the market-

Chad Jordan:                That's great.

Brian:                           ... but they take a year to grow. This is getting to how I got a men's grooming line.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, okay.

Brian:                           So, after the year, and there was no feathers, so the trend died, I set up at a beauty show with some of that money that I made in a nice booth, and I spent money on 20,000 roosters, so even though we sold $3 million of feathers, we reinvested a lot of it. I set up my table, and I was in Long Beach California, first show of the beauty season, I'm ready to go on beauty dead tour, and everybody walks by the table like, "Oh, feathers. Yeah I remember that, that was cool.", and they just-

Chad Jordan:                That was cool.

Brian:                           ... kept walking.

Chad Jordan:                Oh. Ouch.

Brian:                           Big piece of humble pie.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, man.

Brian:                           But I wanted to stay in my new Grateful Dead parking lot. I wanted to stay in the beauty industry. So, I started to dabble with other things. I made hair chalk, which was temporary hair color.

Chad Jordan:                Like it sounds? You rub it into some-

Brian:                           Rub it in your hair.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right.

Brian:                           One of the-

Chad Jordan:                For guys? Gals? That doesn't matter?

Brian:                           Mainly girls, but it was ... it worked, but again, it kept me in the industry. It kept me meeting people, 'cause I talked to people all the time. So, I was meeting a lot of the people that founded and built this industry, and my friend, his name's Tom, who I grew up with and did a lot of Dead tour with, he came to one of my shows, and he's got this big burly beard, and he was walking around the beauty show like-

Chad Jordan:                I did feel guilty shaving this morning. I was like, "Man, I'm gonna be meeting Gib-

Brian:                           You're very clean shaven, yeah.

Chad Jordan:                ... and here I am." I know, jeez. I'm embarrassed. All right, so your guy, he's got a big burly beard.

Brian:                           Yeah, and he went around and talked to all these hair places, like Moroccanoil, or ... whoever, and said, "Excuse me, do you have beard oil?", and they were like, "Well, no, we have oil that you could put in your beard." I used to use Moroccanoil in my beard, 'cause it felt good, and-

Chad Jordan:                Have you always been kinda cropped, or did you have-

Brian:                           No, I was clean shaven-

Chad Jordan:                ... kind of a more [crosstalk 00:21:45], okay.

Brian:                           ... for a good portion, like when I was in the food business you don't wanna have a beard. So, after that I liberated myself and grew the beard out, and went mountain man style. So, he came back to my booth, I'm trying to sell my chalk and he says, "Gib, this place is crazy. What'd you get yourself involved in? How do you end up in places like this?" He's doing the ... he's like, "I think your next thing should be beard oil, because no one ever has that and it's needed." I was like, "Eh." It sounds crazy, like hair feather.

Chad Jordan:                Right, yeah.

Brian:                           We're rallying with my friends and we're all talking about it over the months, and the hair chalks dying, I don't wanna leave the industry, I'm like, "Maybe my friend's onto something." So, like the bagels, when I opened up the bagels, I just opened bagels 'cause I knew what was happening. I mean, I knew that I wanted to have a bagel shop, but what was happening, was there was actually a bagel boom. Bagel stores started opening everywhere, and I happened to be in the right place-

Chad Jordan:                Atkins diet be damned.

Brian:                           Right place, right time.

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Brian:                           I then bring the word hair feather to the beauty industry, and from what I've learned is it's very hard to bring something new to the beauty industry. People keep recreating shampoos, recreate conditions, recreate ... they're recreating making a better mousetrap, but to bring a brand new product to the beauty industry is very hard to do.

Chad Jordan:                Especially as an outsider, I mean you Googled this trade show, and everything. It's not like you had credentials that you went and everybody ... "Oh, we know who that is. Come on in and introduce your new product to us."

Brian:                           Right.

Chad Jordan:                So, you're literally breaking glass ceilings here, and getting into an industry that it's very tough to break into, with new products. You've done it once before, so now that's given you a little what? Experience, or momentum to possibly do it again?

Brian:                           It gave me people. It gave me relationships. It gave me people that have helped me build this company, so that's the next part of this journey is, I'm like, "All right, I use Moroccanoil. My friend Tom is right, there is no product called beard oil in professional beauty." So, I sat down with one of my mentors that I met along the way, his name is Mike Nave, he owned a periodical called The Beauty Industry Report, and he'd been in the industry since he was 16, he is 82 years old now.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           So, he has seen everything. I sat down with him in Vegas, and I got him a little drunk, and I told him, I said, "Listen, I have this idea, and I don't want you to laugh at me, but I wanna know how I can ... I don't know how to put it in a bottle, and get it on the shelf. I don't know how to formulate it, and fragrance it. I don't know about FDA, and all." So, I told him the idea, he's like, "I don't think that's funny, I think it's brilliant."

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           He's like, "And this is who you're gonna talk to.", and he gave me the name of a woman named Donna Federici, she created Big Sexy Hair in the '90s with Michael O'Rourke.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. So, she knew a thing or two.

Brian:                           She's created a lot of incredible brands, she's done incredible things in the beauty industry. I call her Oz. A lot of ... the only people that know her are the people that have worked with her, but the general public doesn't. She doesn't like to be known that way. She's brilliant at what she does-

Chad Jordan:                Behind the scenes making things happen.

Brian:                           Yes. So, that whole swag and vibe that you get from our brand on a shelf, and our booth, and our people, she's been the mind behind it. Her mind works so well that the day that I met her, she's ... well, let me back up a second. So, I meet with Mike, he says to, "Go meet Donna Federici, make this contact. Here's a manufacturer that can formulate."

Chad Jordan:                And at this point you didn't even have anything to show, you had an idea, right?

Brian:                           I was making potions in my garage.

Chad Jordan:                Like a ... with a witch's brew in a kettle pot.

Brian:                           Yeah, I just knew that I liked argan oil, 'cause that was what Moroccanoil was, but then I read about other essential oils, and stuff, and started to make my own blends, but Donna's a master a fragrances really, and the marketing aspect. So, I call her up, she's like, "Who told you to call me?", and-

Chad Jordan:                How'd you get this number?

Brian:                           Yeah, "What are you doing?" I told her I wouldn't tell her over the phone, she had to meet me. She didn't really want to meet me, she was probably-

Chad Jordan:                At this point is she retired from the industry?

Brian:                           Kind of, yeah. She's got a foot out of the door. She lives on her compound down in Arizona, happily ever after. But, I did get her to meet with me. We went down ... I flew to Arizona, she met me at a hotel, and me and Big Smooth, and we spent about six minutes talking about beard oil, and about four hours talking about this journey that I have just been sharing with everybody. She said, "Listen," I don't know if she exactly said it this way but it was more like, "I don't think you could afford me, and I am getting to the end of my rope with the beauty industry, but this is intriguing, and I've never done anything in men's, and I love that you're not from the beauty industry."

Chad Jordan:                Oh, wow. That was-

Brian:                           Very refreshing to her, because as a consultant, which she is, people hire her, and then tell her what they want to do, and it gets frustrating. So, it was like an unspoken rule that she would then work with us.

Chad Jordan:                But she's pretty much calling the shots in terms of-

Brian:                           "I say what goes. The day you push back, is the day I'm gone. You know why? Because you've never built a brand."

Chad Jordan:                Right, wow.

Brian:                           I was like, "I'm humble."

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, and you've already been humbled from a number of experiences in life, so now you're able to accept this advice, and you're in a position to handle this.

Brian:                           Totally, so she folds ... we start working together. She said "I'll work with you for three months, and we'll get this product called beard oil out on the shelf." So, long story short, we got it out, we were trying to get-

Chad Jordan:                Was it really three months, or did she give you a little longer?

Brian:                           It took about three months to formulate it and do our first batch, but we couldn't settle on one fragrance. That's why our first beard oils are three. There's the three colors, the red, the blue, and the yellow, and they're all the same.

Chad Jordan:                So, those are the originals?

Brian:                           Those are the original. I remember when I got them from her, she sent them in the mail, and I looked at them ... 'cause I had this vision of cobalt blue bottles, and glass-

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yeah. Like the like the [Skoals 00:28:53]?

Brian:                           Yeah, or like ... fancy. These three short little plastic-

Chad Jordan:                Little pump, yeah.

Brian:                           ... bottles come in, and I know I'm not allowed to say anything, and I'm like-

Chad Jordan:                You don't wanna risk that. Her walking away.

Brian:                           ... and so I was like, "Wow.", and in the back of my mind I was like, "This isn't what I pictured, but I know that she's ... the one. She's calling the shots." So, in an indirect way I was just like, "Oh, this ... how'd you pick this?" She said, "Don't you see? It's like ... it's you. It's simple."

Chad Jordan:                Hmm, is that flattering, or is that-

Brian:                           Yeah. She's like, "It's clunky, it's out of the box, and you're not a tin soldier on the shelf like all these other brands that line up and match. You are not from the beauty industry, and this brand ... 'cause it's gonna be bigger than beard oil Gib," she said it, "is going to be who you are in a brand with products behind it, and that is what we're going for here." So, we go down to Premiere Orlando to launch this whole thing after-

Chad Jordan:                In 2012?

Brian:                           Is it ... we're at '18?

Chad Jordan:                Yeah we're '18 now, so how many years?

Brian:                           Oh, it's probably 2013.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right.

Brian:                           So, I went to a barber event before that just to let the barbers try it out, and they fell in love with it. They fell in love with how it felt on the hair and stuff. I instantly had credibility with the barbers, and they ... and I went to the show with all my wacky friends, this barber event, and so they meshed in, and it became this whole ... again, we're not part of their culture, we're not barbers, but we can throw down, and we made our mark on that event, and everybody's like, "Oh man, those GIBS guys-

Chad Jordan:                You were the talk of the event, yeah,

Brian:                           ... they're out of their mind." It was fun.

Chad Jordan:                Like, onto something.

Brian:                           Yeah. We went to ... so we went to Premiere Orlando, and Donna was there and the people from the industry knew that Donna is rolling something out new. So, people were finding their booths-

Chad Jordan:                There was a buzz.

Brian:                           Not so much for my beard oil, but let's see what Donna did, and then Donna would introduce me to some of the best manufacturer's reps, the people from CosmoProf-

Chad Jordan:                It's like Shark Tank. That's what it feels like.

Brian:                           It was crazy. Every big distributor, knows her, came by, "Oh Donna, great to see you." Hug, kiss. She'd be like, "I want you to meet the owner, this is Gib.", and then she would disappear and leave me with them. I'd just start collecting cards, and everybody's like, "Well, we'd love to carry your line. We'd love to carry your line.", and I turned to Donna at the end of the second day of the show, and I said, "What do I do? What do I tell all the people?" She said, "Just be the king at the prom, take everybody's business card, and we'll figure out what we're gonna do after this. Let's just make sure we have something."

                                    So, long story short, we decided to make a commitment with CosmoProf, who is got a division called DBE, who services Sport Clips. We decided to make an exclusive approach and give CosmoProf-

Chad Jordan:                Wow, so you had all these coming at you, and you decide we're gonna narrow it down to one organization.

Brian:                           The biggest. The best. If we can make it there, we can make it anywhere, like Sinatra says.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, you New York boy.

Brian:                           In New York. If we ... we're either gonna succeed or fail very quickly, 'cause they promised us 1200 stores across the country-

Chad Jordan:                At the time?

Brian:                           Their DBE division, which was all of you guys, and plus they had 600 sales people on the street knocking on doors.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           I had to raise a lot of money at that point quickly to fill the pipeline.

Chad Jordan:                How many ... I mean, how much inventory did you have on hand at this point?

Brian:                           Oh, like I don't know-

Chad Jordan:                Handfuls?

Brian:                           ... $30,000 worth?

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, okay.

Brian:                           I needed to raise like $500,000.

Chad Jordan:                Right. From the guy who used to have millions of feathers, to only show up at this big show with $30,000 of inventory.

Brian:                           Well, you didn't wanna get stuck with-

Chad Jordan:                I bet that was a little-

Brian:                           ... a bunch of beard oil.

Chad Jordan:                I know, yeah. Been there done that.

Brian:                           'Cause you know, I still have mountains of feathers, 'cause that trend-

Chad Jordan:                Those damn roosters.

Brian:                           ... and so, if anybody wants any feathers.

Chad Jordan:                Hairfeather.com. Do you still have the website?

Brian:                           No.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, nevermind.

Brian:                           No, we closed it down. We have ... so, we went out there with them, and we started to hear that infamous buzz that people said, "What is this stuff?" "Wow we have never seen one skew do so much, so quickly." The president, or the head of sales from Sport Clips ... I mean from Sport Clips ... from CosmoProf called us in, and said, "Gib, we want to talk to you."

                                    Like the bagel thing, I didn't know bagels were blowing up, he's like, "Men's grooming is blowing up right now." I didn't make beard oil because I wanted to get in on a trend, I made beard oil 'cause I wanted to do it, and there happened to be a men's grooming trend blowing up. He said, "When we do these trade shows, and see your booth with all your friends, and your barbers, and everything, and the music, and everybody's partying, the people from the other brands are hanging out in your booth. You have a brand. You have beard oil, but you have more than that. You have some of the best barbers in the world working with you. You have Donna Federici in the chair who's created some of the best brands in the room. If you ... this industry has some big brands, but they're tired. They're not going away, but there's nothing new, and we need a new men's grooming line. If you want to build a line with Donna at the helm, your barber's-

Chad Jordan:                That was the catch right?

Brian:                           ... with the product development, and you with your brand, I think that you could be very successful. We'll give you all the self space you want in all our stores."

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           So, I then had to go raise $1 million, and we started developing products, under the GIBS brand. Meanwhile, the DBE division of CosmoProf introduced me to Lori Huddleston at Sport Clips. That was-

Chad Jordan:                Shout out to Lori.

Brian:                           ... a hard meeting. I mean, they told me, April McCoy, and Jenny Behr who are at the top of the DBE thing there. I kept calling them, like, "When's the Sport Clips meeting, when is it?" They're like, "It takes time."

Chad Jordan:                And not just anybody, seeing Lori, and getting through to Lori-

Brian:                           Exactly.

Chad Jordan:                So, you now know that.

Brian:                           But I didn't know that. I now know that, but I had this Grateful Dead theory, even if I don't have a ticket I still go to the show, and I'm going in somehow or another. I'm gonna pop a door, I'm gonna jump over a turnstile, I'm going to that show.

Chad Jordan:                You just camp out in Georgetown Texas?

Brian:                           Almost, almost. No, they finally got me my meeting with Lori, and we went in, and we showed, and we presented, and then Mark Kartarik was the president at the time, and he really dug what he saw. Mark, since then, has become a friend of mine as well, and part of my mentor, and sounding board, as far as how to, and what to, and what not to do in building a brand. Between them they believed in what we had, and they said, "Let's give this beard oil thing a shot.", and it was incredible. We came into Sport Clips, and the same thing happened. It wasn't just about the beard oil, it was about the brand, and anywhere I went, I remember I went to my first leadership and Johnny Weber was the-

Chad Jordan:                Johnny.

Brian:                           ... area developer at the time, and I was so nervous to give the presentation, 'cause I had never presented like that, and everybody just made me feel so comfortable and I'm kinda doing what I'm doing now. I just ... I didn't do anything but just tell my story, and he made me feel comfortable, the stylists made me feel comfortable, everybody ... no one was on their cell phones. Everybody was listening. Everybody was all in. Then Johnny snuck under the table and stuck his iPhone onto a cable or whatever, and started piping in, as I was finishing up, Grateful Dead music, which made me feel good.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, you're at home.

Brian:                           Yeah, and then at the end everybody want to take their picture with me.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yeah man.

Brian:                           I was like, "This is really cool.", and I was off to the races. Sport Clips as a company, any product that we were coming out with, just like CosmoProf, of course we'd go through the proper channels of, get it to Lori, run it in the test stores, but we were ... ready to go with Sport Clips, and then I had this problem. It was ... I called it "the math doesn't work". "The math doesn't work" means even though every Sport Clips store might like us, and like our brand, they don't have the spot in their store to put the product, because Paul Mitchell, and American Crew, everybody has their spot. No ones gonna throw that away to bring me in. So, I crashed in on Mark Kartarik one day, and I'm like "What are we gonna do here, because everybody loves it, but nobody's really buying that much." We came up with an idea of the tailgate, which at the time was a magazine rack. This was a couple years ago.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yeah. Okay.

Brian:                           So, me and Mark said, "Let's have a contest and tell everybody to get rid of the magazines, 'cause nobody reads magazines anymore, and let's make that a little shrine to GIBS products. We'll have a contest, who sets up the best tailgate, and that will get your stuff in the stores. Then we'll allow all the other brands to rotate through, and everybody can get a shot at the tailgate."

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           I don't even know if that's happening today, but-

Chad Jordan:                Well, in terms of the rotation?

Brian:                           Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                I'm not sure, 'cause most of the ones I see are still GIBS products.

Brian:                           Correct, 'cause I think it's the team leaders choice of how they want to set their tailgate, but that opened up the doors. That brought in, not only just our beard oils, and our soaps, and our beard balms, and our hair products, texture sprays, and pomades, and it also helped establish us as a brand and not for nothing, whenever I go to leadership, or whenever I'm talking to area developers, and even team leaders, I say, "I like them. They're cool, and we have fun-

Chad Jordan:                Mm-hmm (affirmative). But?

Brian:                           ... they don't grow my brand."

Chad Jordan:                Yes.

Brian:                           Their stylists do, and their stylists-

Chad Jordan:                Stylists, and the managers.

Brian:                           ... and the managers. They love us.

Chad Jordan:                That's why they wanted their picture with you when their selfie, not just because you're a celebrity, but they get a commission on this stuff, so of course they want to sell the product and all that, and you helping lead us, you're helping them.

Brian:                           Correct.

Chad Jordan:                So, yeah. This is, it's a great relationship.

Brian:                           You can see when they get behind something and they believe in it. I mean, the momentum grew geometrically. I mean, it was just like, boom. We just started blowing up, and I mean, all of the contests that we were having, and just the support, all of a sudden, people were getting tattoos of my logo on them. I swear, unbelievable, you know like our skull?

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brian:                           This was like-

Chad Jordan:                Well, it is required to be a stylist at Sport Clips you really do have to have a tattoo, so why not have one ... no, I'm just kidding.

Brian:                           Isn't that ironic? Because we went from no tattoos, to-

Chad Jordan:                Most of them do, but.

Brian:                           The stylists made us. Anywhere me or my crew went we were welcomed. Not just to be listened to, not just to get product, but to be taken out, having fun, going out for drinks, having chicken wings, all of it.

Chad Jordan:                We're recording this podcast for those that are listening in Denver Colorado, you being from Fort Collins, and I gave a heads up to some of the stores that we might be stopping by, and I stop by stores, and "Whatever all right Chad's coming.", but the fact that you're gonna be there, I mean, I know they're all getting ready. They're ... makeup's gonna be a little extra today, and they're gonna have even more energy when we walk in, 'cause they're all gonna wanna do selfies, and Snapchat's, and all that kind of stuff, so just what you're saying is true. They have helped, obviously make your brand, but they're excited by it, and by your personality, and by what you guys stand for.

                                    I want to do this, 'cause I know we're running out of time here, I want to respect your time. You do something pretty cool with Help a Hero, and something, a really cool perk for the manager or the couple managers of stores that really promote that scholarship program with GIBS beard oil and products, and stuff. Can you ... with Help a Hero now coming up in a couple weeks, October, November time frame, can you give me a rundown on what exactly it is that you guys do in terms of an experience for the managers?

Brian:                           Yeah, well, through ... we've always, I've always been a big supporter of the military and law enforcement, so that's what ... it was a natural fit that Gordon has done this incredible thing for Help a Hero. We, through the help of DBE, have put together what was a fun concept and contest for all stores across the country. Whoever sells the most GIBS during the Help a Hero month, which this year was April, and that we would pick the top dozen people, and that they could basically come and share a couple days in the life of where we live. Nothing fancy, but not not fancy, and make it a real, and I underline the word real, a real good time. Genuine good time.

Chad Jordan:                Are we talking white water rafting? Camping? S'mores?

Brian:                           Yep.

Chad Jordan:                I mean, what are we-

Brian:                           We've done it two years in a row, and first year we came to Fort Collins with everybody, and we showed them a time out at a brewery tour, we went and through a party at Big Smooth's house, and then we went white water rafting, and then we went out on a lake in party boats, and everybody had some food, and beers, and we just had a good time.

Chad Jordan:                I assume bagels were on the menu at some point?

Brian:                           We went to Gib's Bagels-

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right.

Brian:                           ... 'cause coincidentally, the original Gib's Bagels shares an outdoor patio with a Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, what in the world.

Brian:                           Isn't that funny?

Chad Jordan:                That's awesome.

Brian:                           Yeah, so we were out there, and we had bagel breakfast one day, and then this year we brought it up to the mountains, to Breckenridge, and it was ... we got this huge house. It was a 22 bedroom house-

Chad Jordan:                Oh, my word.

Brian:                           ... so like a big family, and my buddy Tom, who's a chef, and who also works at the bagel stores, came up and cooked for everybody, all the meals, and we just used that as a hangout, central place. All the stylists came in, a couple people from DBE, and a couple people from corporate, and we just tore it up. We went white water rafting, cooked amazing meals, drank beers, rock climbed, and just had a great experience where we got to meet the people that have been putting us on the map on another level.

                                    I mean, everything that we've done, whether it be with Help a Hero, or whether it be in your huddles, or in your leaderships, everything in Sport Clips has nurtured, and fortified this company that has made it solid. We do business all over the world, but Sport Clips is the backbone of GIBS success, and I'll always be the first to say that. I mean, the stylists, and the managers of this company have done an incredible job of building my brand with us, and it's been a group effort. Everybody has really made it an incredible thing, I can't say thanks enough.

Chad Jordan:                Well, the fact that you drove from Fort Collins to Denver, you put your ... you had ... you and I were talking about your busy weekend that you had leading up to this interview, it speaks volumes about how you feel about Sport Clips, so I thank you for being here. I do want to say, if you do this Breckenridge, or this trip again next year, you said some people from headquarters support team were there, I'm just wondering if there's a spot for the director of marketing? Anyways, I'm just gonna float that out there.

Brian:                           I'm saying most definitely.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay. Well, I wasn't gonna put you on the spot, but I was gonna edit this-

Brian:                           You would be an asset, I mean-

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I was gonna edit this podcast [crosstalk 00:46:37] to you saying yes at some other point to that question. Anyways, we'll have that on record now.

Brian:                           Okay, it's on the record.

Chad Jordan:                Cool. Okay, can I ... I always like to wrap up these fun podcasts with 10 questions.

Brian:                           Okay.

Chad Jordan:                10 random questions. I've been asking you followup questions to a lot of this stuff, I'm gonna not ask followup questions to these. So whatever you say goes. All right?

Brian:                           Okay.

Chad Jordan:                So, number one. These are silly by the way, most of them. Which superpower would you most like to have?

Brian:                           I'd like to fly.

Chad Jordan:                You'd like to fly?

Brian:                           Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Well, a fly fisherman, would like to fly, okay. What is your ... well, with all the feathers that you've got you could ... anyways, number two, what is your personal motto?

Brian:                           My personal motto ... is ... well, I have a few of them. We've had ... every year we come out with a new one for the company. Live free, look good. No apologies, no regrets. With a little message behind them. One of my favorite ones is no apologies, no regrets, and it's not cocky, it's just like if you're true to yourself, and true to the people you work with you'll never have a reason to have to apologize, and therefore you don't have the regrets.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Oh, good. I like it.

Brian:                           I dig that one.

Chad Jordan:                Other than where you live now, which is beautiful, where else in the world would you most like to live?

Brian:                           In the world?

Chad Jordan:                Yep, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brian:                           I would like to live on an island.

Chad Jordan:                Oh okay, so you can fish?

Brian:                           Yeah, there's a little place that I know that I would hide.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right. So, an island that nobody else knows about. It's your-

Brian:                           It's hard to get there.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, okay. All right, we'll leave that a mystery.

Brian:                           It's off the coast of Venezuela.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay.

Brian:                           Yes, yeah.

Chad Jordan:                So, we'll Google earth that, if we ever can't find you-

Brian:                           Well you can't make it through Caracas now, it's too dangerous.

Chad Jordan:                We'll send the satellites looking for you. Number four, who is a celebrity you'd most like to meet one day?

Brian:                           That I'd like to meet.

Chad Jordan:                That you haven't already.

Brian:                           A celebrity that I would like to meet would probably be ... wow that's tough I'm a big movie guy, and ... I would like to meet Jack Nicholson.

Chad Jordan:                What? I was gonna guess that for some reason. Holy moly.

Brian:                           Were you really?

Chad Jordan:                Yes, I was. I don't know why.

Brian:                           Yeah, he's one of my favorites. I mean, right from his early work, and-

Chad Jordan:                You seem like the guy who would love him.

Brian:                           ... Easy Rider, right through the Shining-

Chad Jordan:                That's hilarious.

Brian:                           ... and everything he's done has been incredible.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Brian:                           I love Jack.

Chad Jordan:                Okay well, my only thing is if we put this out in the universe and you ever do get to meet him you got to get me his autograph.

Brian:                           Okay.

Chad Jordan:                All right? So, anyway, so when that happens. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Brian:                           Cool.

Chad Jordan:                Cool? All right, we'll check the transcript to see how many you said that on this-

Brian:                           Yeah, that's cool.

Chad Jordan:                What sound or noise do you love?

Brian:                           What ... I love the ocean.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, yeah.

Brian:                           Waves, the ocean.

Chad Jordan:                And you're in this landlocked State of Colorado.

Brian:                           That's what I'm saying, I was just telling you, I gotta be, I'm a fisherman. I need to be in the water.

Chad Jordan:                All right, what sound or noise do you hate?

Brian:                           Sirens.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. What profession other than your own would you have been good at, or at least have wanted to try? Now, that's a generic question to ask, I think you've tried everything, but was there something that you thought-

Brian:                           I've done a lot.

Chad Jordan:                ... "Man, I should've ... maybe could've done this."?

Brian:                           No, because most anything I said that I did it. I really did, so-

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, I think that's-

Brian:                           I'm pretty fulfilled.

Chad Jordan:                ... an acceptable answer. This serial entrepreneur has done it all. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Brian:                           My greatest achievement, in business or life?

Chad Jordan:                You tell me. There's ... it's just a question mark after the word achievement.

Brian:                           That I parented two boys that are awesome.

Chad Jordan:                Al right. Cool, yeah.

Brian:                           ... and they turned out good-

Chad Jordan:                What are their names?

Brian:                           ... because I was not too good as a kid.

Chad Jordan:                You're good ... you made it now.

Brian:                           My parents were like, "It's payback time.", but they never [crosstalk 00:50:40]-

Chad Jordan:                Let's give them a shout out.

Brian:                           My older son Quent who's living in Bozeman Montana, and my younger son Jacob, and he's right down in Boulder going to CU Boulder.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, you looked at the window as though you can see him. Here we are in Denver, you're looking out-

Brian:                           I just had a great weekend with him, I was reflecting. We had a great time for Labor Day weekend.

Chad Jordan:                That's awesome.

Brian:                           Yep.

Chad Jordan:                All right, last question, if heaven indeed exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates.

Brian:                           "See, I told you."

Chad Jordan:                Awesome. Hey, I've had the most fun. I was supposed to have a fun 35 minutes, I've had a fun 50 mins, but that's what-

Brian:                           Was it 5-0?

Chad Jordan:                Yes, I'm telling you. We just had-

Brian:                           I talk too much, you should've given me-

Chad Jordan:                No, what are you talking about?

Brian:                           ... the fingers across the throat.

Chad Jordan:                No way. I'd be in trouble if I cut any of this out. So, we're gonna go visit some stores you and I. Surprise some people, and I've got some stuff to give them, but thank you so much for joining me today, it's been a pleasure having you.

Brian:                           Oh, it's been awesome. My pleasure.

Chad Jordan:                Everybody else, we look forward for you tuning in to the next episode of Sport Clips Hall of Fame Podcast.