JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A bond built by bearded conversations sparked the beginning of a brand tackling more than just hair and skin deficiencies for males in the Black community.
Dr. Derick McElveen Jr. plus Dr . Theron Douglas are two The city of jacksonville natives trying to change the course of beard and hair care for guys.
Both worked their way through pharmacy school, receiving the doctor title in front associated with their names. They tackled COVID-19 head-on as first responders and managed to build a brand ― five years within the making ― fueled by self-awareness plus their passion to help others.
EveryDay Fresh Club officially launched within June as a self-care brand that not only offers natural hair and facial beard care products designed without harmful chemicals or preservatives, but also fills what they say is a void of tresses products created by and for Black men.
The duo still work as pharmacists while managing their business.
McElveen and Douglas were excited to meet each other in 2017 while working at a military base because it was rare to see other Dark pharmacists. They bonded through conversations about their college experiences — McElveen attended a historically Black university and Douglas attended the predominately white university — and exchanged grooming tips to keep up their jobs’ strict clean-shaven demands.
This era in their lives proved to not only bring a lasting friendship together but additionally represented the development stage with regard to their business ― even if they didn’t know it at the time.
Mission regarding more than money
While working on the military base in 2017, Douglas would research natural hair and created personalized products regarding himself.
“I think my favorite thing about the particular company is the fact that the ideation never started intended for retail or for cash, ” Douglas said.
Douglas said the particular idea was generated from men stopping him on the street to inquire about the products he used on his beard. That’s when he started to think there may be more in order to his homegrown products than meets the eye.
“This was not really for retail. It was to address a pain we were having plus that so happened other people found value in this too, ” Douglas said.
Before the inquires, the two weren’t even thinking business-minded. However, after those interactions, they started taking their company seriously.
McElveen received a ticket in 2020 in order to pitch their own products at the TechStars Start Up Weekend competition hosted simply by Elevated Ventures and the particular University of North Florida’s Center to get Entrepreneurial Growth. The now-business partners, immediately started to develop their business plan.
“We spent the whole three days building the model and doing the marketing research. That’s when I realized this isn’t just a product or even something that was fulfilling a need for us, this floods the needs pertaining to a lot of people and there is a really large market for people who aren’t being addressed. And that’s us, ” McElveen said.
McElveen and Douglas won third place for their Beard Meringue in the competition, where they earned resources meant for business advancement, sales modeling and consulting.
The entrepreneurs worked to put the particular finishing touches on their particular brand and had a soft launch within March 2022.
“We’re always looking in order to pivot based on customer feedback, just to make sure that we’re covering our bases. We’re here in order to serve our own users in a manner that can holistically support them, ” Douglas stated.
Different paths lead to the same destination
McElveen’s interest in pharmacy was started by witnessing the relationship between his grandfather and his grandfather’s pharmacist. McElveen said he watched their grandfather battle different illnesses and saw how fundamental his grandfather’s pharmacist was in helping his grandfather’s health.
His grandfather opened his own pharmacy, exactly where McElveen interned in high school — that ignited the beginning of McElveen following in their grandfather’s footsteps.
“For me, it was the cerebral decision. I love science. I really like helping people plus information, ” McElveen mentioned.
McElveen went to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he gained his doctorate.
Douglas, on the other hand, usually had an interest in math and technology. He originally started school in the University of Florida as an engineering major but learned that major wasn’t as fulfilling designed for him.
“I felt like I had a responsibility to do something with my intelligence to assist people, ” Douglas said. “The reason I chose to be a pharmacist was to become able to empower individuals to use information that’s sometimes codified and caught up in jargon in the health care industry. I wanted in order to help people really understand that the doctor is not responsible for your health, you are usually, and I take pride within being able to bridge the gaps to help individuals understand. ”
McElveen and Douglas may have had different routes lead them to the world of pharmaceuticals, but their reasons just for pursuing that will career constantly remained the particular same: These people aimed to assist people, and that was a value that might bring them closer than these people had imagined.
Discovering self-care while working in a pandemic
Working as front-line workers at the beginning of the pandemic was the biggest testament and wake-up call for the particular men. The idea associated with self-care has been something that both men adapted as they grew to learn more about themselves, yet it became heightened during the pandemic.
“It’s not like you can make the mistake, ” said McElveen, describing the pressure of working as a pharmacist in a fast-paced environment. “It’s not like you may resend that order associated with fries again. There’s somebody on the some other end of that plus you’re moving double time throughout the particular day, constantly. ”
Based on the demand of the job, McElveen knew he had to get a step back and check on himself.
“The only point you can control is yourself and your reactions and what you provide into the day. That’s where self-care came in for me. I experienced to get in the habit of spending 15-20 minutes every morning for myself, ” McElveen said.
Both McElveen plus Douglas realized they got to take the necessary steps to prepare for the purpose of the demands of the particular pandemic whilst nurturing what was inside of them first.
“I had been terrified. I was on the front lines at a hospital while new data was coming out about how infectious it has been and potential complications, ” Douglas stated. “It made me think about what it takes to kind of prioritize wellness, not only for patients but for personally, in general. You can’t really pour through an empty cup. We can’t end up being a good practitioner associated with pharmacy for my individuals if I’m always running on empty. ”
Their experience while front-line workers is a result of the brand’s goal: to accentuate self-care as the most essential need for their customers.
The two pharmacists recognized the importance of navigating a professional space because Black males in a world that would stereotype them with regard to their appearance while remaining true in order to who they are.
“What the EveryDay Fresh Club first helped me do is to remain authentic to me personally with more confidence, ” Douglas said.
“We wanted to put something out there that we could feel good about and be proud associated with how that will represents the aesthetic since well as our knowledge base, ” McElveen mentioned.
In a time when mental health and self-care conversations are reverberating throughout the Black community, Douglas said this individual “would love to destigmatize what it means [for men] in order to care regarding themselves. ”
Often , conversations about self-care are directed toward women, so guys start to believe that it doesn’t pertain to all of them.
Douglas also said that Daily Fresh Club’s products are usually the byproduct of what it meant intended for Douglas and McElveen to discover what it takes to nurture themselves.
Douglas and McElveen encourage men to try to implement more self-care in their own lives in order to enhance their particular well-being. McElveen talked regarding his self-care process plus how this shifted whenever he 1st started sporting a bald head.
“When I very first went bald, everything changed for me personally. I had to view myself personally differently, but I furthermore took the different type of pride and care because my curly hair wasn’t there anymore, ” McElveen expressed. “I seemed I needed to be pristine. I actually felt like the way I looked, the particular way We smelled had to be reflective of how I felt because I actually felt immaculate. ”
Douglas supports the idea of acceptance since the first step for any man in order to start implementing self-care within their routine.
“If you want to step into the self-care field, you must sit inside awareness of accepting who you are and then once that acceptance happens understanding the regimen and exactly what it means to nurture that you are usually without guilt or judgment, ” Douglas said.
First-time experiences make lifetime partnerships
In July, the duo attended their first event as a vendor at the Natural Beauty Festival . They will described the experience as bigger than a marketing event.
“We made a lot of great connections when it comes in order to the self-care industry. It was amazing how we could position our brand and create partnerships, who else fall in line with our values and to observe that there were more compared to just all of us in this space, ” Douglas said.
McElveen plus Douglas recognize that additional Black-owned locks care businesses exist, however for them, they will don’t look at those companies as competitors.
“I’m in the mindset it’s not a competition, it’s collaboration, ” Douglas said. “It’s just walking in the understanding that as soon as you do have something associated with value, real networking can begin. Seeing that in real-time was really incredible. ”
For McElveen, it was a full-circle moment to be a vendor at the particular festival. He said he or she attended the event in 2021 with his daughter, who was a merchant at the particular time selling cupcakes.
This individual recalled the moment when he told one of the members from the local band The Katz Downstairz that he would see McElveen in the festival next year. Fast forward to 2022, McElveen ran into the band member again and invited him to his booth.
“He was just type of blown away due to the fact I stated it. I just said this casually, after which a year later, I am there vending with a full-blown finished product, ” McElveen said.
Each men leave anyone with aspirations to start their own company with this particular astounding advice: “Just start. ”
Douglas admitted this individual initially struggled with getting their own guidance when they began talking about formally launching the particular brand since he’s the “little more cautious” versus McElveen, who is “ready to go. ”
But Douglas learned he did not really know what to provide for customers until he or she took their first stage.
“You can write down so much stuff. You can plan everything. A person can do all the study, take all the classes and seminars you would like, but if you don’t consider that initial step, you’re not going to proceed anywhere, ” McElveen added.
The males did not disclose full details of what customers can expect next, yet Douglas did mention that he is focusing on formulating a companion product to get the Beard Meringue. Because it is his favorite product, he was a bit disappointed when customers expressed that will they liked the Facial beard Wash better, so that motivated your pet to work harder to display the Meringue’s worth.
McElveen mentioned there could also be the addition of another EveryDay Fresh subscription box to address skin concerns like acne.
Ultimately, McElveen and Douglas hope that will EveryDay New Club continues to start discussions about self-care, especially pertaining to Black guys, while at the same time creating products that fill the void inside an overlooked market.
Learn more about EveryDay Refreshing Club’s grassroots beginnings in this snippet of their interview: