Men’s Business: How Two Unlikely Entrepreneurs Help Men Look Good and Live Well

ebgr1szj3dg-idriss-fettoulI’ve been helping men live healthier, more joyful, lives for more than 40 years. I’ll be honest. It’s been an uphill struggle. Like most guys, I grew up with the belief that “real men” were tough, didn’t complain, and played hurt. I survived high school and college sports with my share of injuries, both physical and emotional. I’ve dealt with everything from back pain to bipolar disorder. Feeling that others might benefit from what I’ve learned in my own struggles, I started a business, MenAlive, to help men, and the families who love them, to live well.

I’ll tell you it isn’t easy making a living helping men. Women tend to be more focused on their health and well-being, but men need health and support just as much as women and women are happier and healthier when the men in their lives are healthy and happy. I’d like to introduce you to two men who have taken on the challenge of helping men live healthier and more joyful lives. Their names are Josh Meyer and Matt Bolduc.

Josh and Matt both grew up in Skowhegan, a small town in rural central Maine. They met in high school and have been best friends since they were sixteen. Good business role models are rare in economically-depressed central Maine. Matt’s parents owned a Christmas wreath shop. Growing up, he saw firsthand how much hard work a successful small business takes. Josh’s parents have always been hard workers. He worked along with his grandfather, dragging brush and doing odd jobs since he was a boy. From a young age, it was instilled in both Matt and Josh that you have to work for what you want.

Neither thought much about starting a business in their younger years. That changed when they entered the real business world after college. The schools they attended sold the dream: “You can take on the world… if you just get a degree.” But then reality came crashing down. And they were set to become another pair of mindless drones, doing meaningless office work felt pointless.

At this point, the pair realized that working for someone else for the rest of their life was not fulfilling. They began coming up with entrepreneurial ideas. Together they’ve owned a few businesses: a restaurant delivery service and a financial technology company. Josh had early success with a Groupon-like site that he sold to one of New England’s largest media companies. But the financial technology company they founded together was a failure. They spent two years working around the clock and investing most of their savings. It was a low point for both of them. And a depressing, humbling experience. At one point, Josh was so low on money from investing it into his businesses that his girlfriend had to buy him groceries just so he could get through the rest of the week.

They wanted to find something that better fit their own talents and interests and was something that men needed, but weren’t getting. Josh was turning 30, noticed some wrinkles, and decided he should start taking better care of his skin. After all, he had moved from frigid Maine to sunny South Florida. He did research on the high-end products he wanted to buy. But he quickly realized they were loaded with toxic chemicals. He couldn’t find a high-end natural skin care brand for men. So, he reached out to Matt and convinced him that they would build what he couldn’t find.

“All the best skin care products seemed to be for the ladies and buying a men’s product from a traditional female focused company didn’t feel right,” they told me. They knew men were more and more interested in skin. It’s currently the fastest growing segment of the beauty industry. And, of course, natural and organic products in any industry are popular and sought after. They launched Brickell, Natural Skin Products for Men, in 2014 out of a spare room in Matt’s condo. Josh made endless calls to drum up business. Then came their big break – Men’s Journal did a story about their face moisturizer just a few months after they launched.

“Getting started was the hardest thing,” they told me. “No one wanted to talk to us or sell our products when we had zero brand credibility. Growth was hard to manage too. Working out of a spare room in a small condo, it was impossible to manage inventory. Week to week, we didn’t know if we’d sell everything or just be stuck with boxes and boxes of product.”

Both Matt and Josh had day jobs too. Juggling work, life, and their new business took its toll. Sleep was occasional at best. And the stress was, at times, overwhelming. “Starting a business is all about overcoming rejection,” they say. “You have to hear a lot of no’s before you finally get a yes.

Eventually though, the tide turned for Matt and Josh. They’ve been able to see Brickell grow into a true success. Starting any business is difficult, but one that focuses on the needs of men has its unique challenges. You can check them out here.

I asked what advice they would offer other entrepreneurs who are interested in helping men. “Men want to be helped and educated, not sold to,” they told me. “Marketing to men takes a straight forward approach with less sales tactics. The most successful men’s brands, including Brickell, focus on helping a guy solve a problem or mission.”

“Oh, and one other thing I want to know,” I asked. “How did you come up with the name Brickell for your company?” Josh responded. “Brickell is an urban area of Miami with impressive skyscrapers set against the beautiful blue ocean. You might call it Miami’s Manhattan. I always liked the name and thought its demographic fit the type of customers we were going after: young and high earning professionals. It also has a masculine sound to it.”

Have you ever thought of starting a company that focused on the needs of men? What are the things men most need these days that a men’s company might fulfill?

Join me on Twitter for more discussion.

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Comments

  1. Thanks, Jed! We’re also giving Men Alive readers 15% off their first order over $20 until Dec 31 2016 with the code MENALIVE

    • Josh,

      That’s very kind of you. You guys have a great story and I suspect your products are great as well. I hope my readers check you out and take advantage of your kind offer. It’s nice to be part of a community that supports good work and helps men and the families who love them.