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Sept. 1, 2017
This story appears in the fall 2017 edition of the Northwest Alumni Magazine. To view the magazine in its entirety, click here.
Northwest Missouri State University alumnus Corey Quinonez believes in the power of a beard. So much that he’s growing a business out of his desire to take care of his facial hair and help others do the same.
In 2015, he established K.C. Beard Balms, a unique line of balms, oils, wax and washes created to help control, soften, nourish, moisturize and condition beards as well as skin. “Believe in your beard” is the company’s motto.
“‘Believe’ is my go-to word,” he said. “I always tell people to believe. It’s just to help people, be themselves, believe in themselves.”
After graduating from Northwest in 2002 with his bachelor’s degree in psychology, Quinonez ventured into business and found a career as a headhunter. Eventually, he was bitten by the entrepreneur bug.
He had had facial hair in some form for as long as he could grow it. Then, sometime around 2010, he decided to let it go and hasn’t shaved since.
“It just happened, and I was like, ‘OK, what am I going to do with this?’” he said. “That’s when I got into the beard products, and next thing I know I’m making beard care products.”
Quinonez had tried all kinds of products but couldn’t find one that accomplished what he wanted.
“I wanted to make an all-in-one product so I did a lot of research,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of trial and error. Then I found something that I wanted, that I would use every day because I am a customer, too.”
Quinonez connected with an apiary to provide the beeswax used in his balms and established important relationships with vendors to secure other ingredients.
Quinonez’s products use a mixture of 12 ingredients and a collection of essential oils that give each balm a specific scent.
After “a lot of math and a lot of science,” Quinonez concocted “a soft, scoopable product.” He shared it with friends to test. He launched a website. And K.C. Beard Balms was born.
In addition to selling products online and shipping them across the globe, K.C. Beard Balms works with retailers in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado and Idaho. The company plans to expand to additional markets this fall.
In a short time, K.C. Beard Balms has grabbed spots in British GQ, Glamour, Wired and Vogue in addition to an assortment of profiles in Kansas City area lifestyle magazines. In June, it partnered with the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, an annual initiative of actors and Kansas City metro natives, including Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis, to benefit Children's Mercy Hospital. A container of a specially formulated Big Slick Beard Balm was placed in celebrity swag bags, and all proceeds from sales of the product went to Children’s Mercy.
Quinonez also has developed a tobacco-infused balm in partnership with Diebel's Sportsmens Gallery and a hops-infused balm with Boulevard Brewing Company.
“It’s been an amazing, fun ride, from the opportunities to the collaborations,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface yet of where we can take it or what we can do.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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