By Kurt Campbell
At the risk of going against what society tells us is masculine, Ackeem Smith is on a mission to revolutionise self-care among men in Guyana and is looking at destigmatising the types of self-care for men that matter most.
Smith launched his business – Bearded Society – in February 2021, offering advice and products to help men better care for their beard but that is just the start of a bigger vision.
He hopes to build a brotherhood and later open a men’s spa that would together promote and increase the understanding of the importance of self-care for men, an area where women dominate the culture, while men face countless gender-based stigmas and barriers.
In a recent interview with the News Room on the topic that is still taboo, Smith said he believes one of the biggest barriers for men in the self-care industry is the availability of products and services.
He said his business got its name from his efforts to build a better relationship among men-folk and to make men feel bold and confident in the way they care for themselves.
“Having a beard is not just walking around with hair on your face. It’s a level of self-care. He now has to take time to wash this beard and put oil and comb it… men mostly focus on the hair on their head, so the main focus behind the business is to get men to take care of themselves more.
“Not everything about self-care is a sisterhood, it can be a brotherhood as well,” Smith said.
Smith highlighted that his desire to help other men in the area of self-care started from his own journey a few years ago when he began the process of growing his beard.
“Men need to do more to care for themselves. The aim is to take the business to a storefront and then later open a men spa where men can come ad access a range of services dedicated to self-care like facials and body massages and generally unwind and treat themselves.
“We find a lot of beauty stores and it’s 95% for women. To find products for man is hard. So my aim is to find these personal care items and put them in one place where even women can also find things for men.”
While he currently operates his business from home, among the services offered are tips on growing and maintain a beard and a range of products for doing same.
“For example, before I started using beard products, when I would shower I would rub the same soap all over my body, on my face, and in my beard but soap is for skin it is not for hair and it dries out the moisture in your hair.
“I offer stuff to steam beard, to get it moist, products to dye beard, shampoos, conditioners, beard butter, scissors, combs, derma roller, brushes, and beard vitamins which is a full dietary supplement that boosts your immune system and helps your hair follicles to grow better.”
Smith sells his products individually, but he also has kits starting from $10,000 for both beginners and advanced beard growers.
“People might not know, but having a beard is the separation of a man and a boy. Having a beard makes you feel much more of a man and it makes you feel stronger.”
He is also offering a special Father’s Day basket which persons can purchase. He has his social media pages on Facebook and Instagram but can also be reached on 661 – 9959.
Smith said while he has started his business with caring for the beard because it seems to be trending, it’s important to understand that self-care, as a whole, is similarly important.
He said the care goes beyond physical and also wants men to understand the importance of diet and exercise in the process. This is why the brotherhood is important.