The beard grooming market was valued at $24.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to almost double by 2026, reaching $43.1 billion, registering a CAGR of 7.7% during the 2019-2026 period according to a report by Allied Market Research. The report points out that there has been a rise in the popularity of beard grooming, with the majority of the male population believing that wearing a beard facilitates a more matured look. Though growing a beard has been on trend for a while, over the past couple of years there has been a constant evolution on the style and look of beards. Agrie Ahmad was seemingly well ahead of the curve when he first ventured onto social media with beard care advice.
Finding a Niche: The Rise of Bartmann
Born on the 29th of March, 1986, Agrie studied business management in Mannheim. Agrie Ahmad, also known as Bartmann, spontaneously started a YouTube channel during a practical semester in Karlsruhe. Agrie researched beard care products and found a unique gap in the market: beard care products and tips on beard care, while abundantly available in English speaking countries, were not as accessible in German-speaking countries. Shopping this first video with an iPhone 5, Bartmann showed others how to groom a beard. This triggered a lot of humour and mirth from friends and family, but Agrie knew he was on to something. He recalls thinking, “It’s fun, it makes money. I’ll keep doing it,” when he landed his first collaboration.
Initially Agrie would experiment on himself, testing beard oils and products he ordered from England, Ireland and America in front of the camera. He would go on to document his visits to barbers and slowly came to know the beard scene. Bartmann would go on to review barbers, with the result that many would call him enthusiastically afterwards reporting a surge in clientele.
The idea of producing his own products and promoting them online quickly became a reality. “I first mixed the oil myself and then developed it further with a cosmetics company until I had a product that I can fully support.” Agrie stated in an interview. Teaming up with a pharmacist in Karlsruhe, Bartmann tested various products and started small-scale production. At first he would order around a hundred bottles, painstakingly applying the labels by hand, but soon his own online shop followed. With the increase in demand, up to 300 parcels a day, Agrie decided to sell his products on Amazon.
Evolving From Male Grooming to Aiding the Vulnerable
“First I made videos about beards, how to take care of them and grow a nice and even beard. That’s why my channel name is “Bartmann.” After I did over 100 videos about beards I’ve started to do what I love and help other people,” Agrie notes. He continues, “Not just homeless people. I help my viewers too.”
Capturing an iconic moment of human transformation and kindness, Bartmann introduced his viewers to Kasim, a man who has been living on the streets of Istanbul for nearly two decades. Kasim was shown treatment worthy of royalty, even enjoying a “hamam.” Treatments vary by hotel, but generally a hamam involves a soak in a pool or some time in the steam room followed by exfoliation and a massage. After a relaxing massage and sporting new, crisp clothes Kasim was in for the next surprise: a makeover. Transforming into the picture of a stately, dignified gentleman Kasim is one of the many people Bartmann has approached and helped.
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