Since COVID-19 has had us all stuck in our homes, Clay Urquhart, a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces, began coming up with ideas for e-commerce businesses.
He started planning a business idea in May 2020 and less than two months later officially launched Battle Rhythm Beard Co., an online shop for men’s shaving and grooming products on Canada Day.
Battle Rhythm Beard Co. has a wide range of scrubs, soaps, beard oils, salves, and more. Even though it’s predominantly a men’s shaving and grooming business, there are also products for women.
Choosing Your Battles
His company and website’s overall theme is to be yourself, choose your battles, establish your rhythm, and the rest is easy.
“One of the lessons learned in basic training is that you don’t leave your people behind. Ever. And we haven’t stopped doing that,” says Clay Urquhart, owner Battle Rhythm Beard Co.
“As someone diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and unable to hold regular employment, creating a business that is meant to portray the idea that you can just relax and be yourself, because yourself is good enough, was important to me.
“As a reminder to myself, but also for others out there that struggle with the loss of identity that sometimes comes with leaving the military family,” says Urquhart.
Products for the average “Joe”
Urquhart tries to cater to individual tastes by having a wide range of scent profiles.
One of his motivators was observing how other companies operate in the same industry, where he noticed Vikings as far as the eye can see, or special forces operator look-alikes as their archetypal front men figures.
“I basically had enough of that. Fine for others, but not in my company, specifically. I wanted to build a company that offers superior products, but for the average Joe,” he says.
All the products are vegan/vegetarian, and this conscious choice isn’t about what’s currently “in.”
“I chose not to leave anyone out when designing the product line. It’s not about being trendy, it’s about being inclusive,” says Urquhart.
A dollar from every item sold will go to a veteran charity chosen that fiscal year. The first charity that will receive a donation is Soldier On.
“It can be a bit rough transitioning out of the military, and there was a while when I had no idea what I wanted to do, or become or even how to reinvent myself.” Urquhart
The company chose to support Veteran charities because Urquhart has been on the receiving end.
“One of the lessons learned in basic training is that you don’t leave your people behind. Ever. And we haven’t stopped doing that,” says Urquhart.
With the names of Battle Rhythm Beard Co. products and scent profiles, Urquhart nods to his past career and to those who serve, or have served.
Roots in Nova Scotia
Originally from Halifax, NS, Urquhart, did his undergrad degree in Political Science starting at Mount Allison University and finishing at Saint Mary’s in Halifax.
He joined the Reserves with 3 Intelligence Company in August of 1999, and in between university courses, he deployed to Bosnia in May of 2001, then finished his undergrad in May 2003.
After Bosnia and Leadership courses, Urquhart was promoted to MCpl and deployed again, this time to Afghanistan in Feb 2006 with 1 PPCLI as part of OP ARCHER.
“We were the first official “combat” rotation after the Canadians moved to Kandahar. While there, I spent five and a half months in a Forward Operating Base as an intelligence collector and de facto second in command,” he says.
In October of 2006, after returning from Afghanistan, Urquhart went into the Regular Force, completed Officer training, language training, and was posted to Joint Task Force North in Yellowknife, NT, in Feb 2008.
Move to Ottawa
After three years, doing everything from Plans, Operations, becoming the area Intelligence Commanding Officer, he was posted to Ottawa.
His first posting was in the J2X directorate (HUMINT, Counter-Intelligence), but he was subsequently posted into the Canadian Forces Counter-Intelligence Unit, where he filled the role of Plans and Training officer.
Shortly after, events from Afghanistan and training injuries caught up with him, and he was eventually medically released in Jan 2016.
Plans for the Future
Urquhart says he’d like to see this business expand exponentially.
“In the coming months, we’ll be adding handmade soaps to the product line. We’ll also be found on Amazon, Etsy, and we have an Affiliate Program with Battle Rhythm Beard Co. so people out there that run websites and blogs can sell our products and receive commissions.”
His main effort now is marketing and advertising and business development.
He has no intention of slowing down, and his main motivation is to see something begin from an idea and turn it into a success story.
“It can be a bit rough transitioning out of the military, and there was a while when I had no idea what I wanted to do, or become or even how to reinvent myself.
“But, I’m 43 years old, and I still need to be challenged. Being someone that doesn’t always deal well with authority figures anymore, doing this myself (although I have a business partner now) was important,” said Urquhart.
He added, “Being medically released made me feel a little useless for a while, but taking this from idea to a fully functioning business that’s already getting international attention and sales is a real boost. I can step back, look at it and say, ‘I did that.'”
Learn more about Battle Rhythm Beard Co. here.