Beards and Bikes
One of the best things about connecting with people who use our products, is hearing about the great things they’re doing! This week we catch up with Ryan, a bearded man with a passion for all things to do with motorcycles.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Wales, but have lived here in Sydney for nearly 5 years and I love it. It’s such an eclectic mix of people and places, and the change in weather from Wales to Sydney really opens up possibilities for hobbies that you simply couldn’t fathom having back home.
My background is in the music industry, starting out producing album sleeves and launch materials for some pretty recognisable faces back in the UK. Unfortunately having that kind of job requires you to live on baked beans and on peoples sofa’s, so I made the (albeit sellout) move into Digital Advertising where I have remained in the Creative space for the past 8 years or so.
My real passions are design and motorcycles, something that I’ve been combining with ninetynineco in my spare time over the past 10-12 months.
Tell us a bit more about ninetynineco. When did you start it?
I started out compiling bikes that I liked into a folder on my desktop. I’d sit on my break at work flicking through Tumblr & Instagram looking at all these amazingly creative builds from all over the world. Eventually I started an Instagram page in the hope that others would get the same enjoyment out of them that I did.
The hard part was a name. That had me stumped for weeks and it changed about 6 times before I settled. I did a a lot of research, looking at different scenes from bobbers, café racers, trackers etc, but my heart was with Harley’s and that’s what I spent most of my time reading about. I couldn’t seem to get away from articles about 1 percenters clubs, and that quickly made me realise that there was a lot of background noise within bobber & chopper culture that wasn’t really in line with the vision I had for a brand. And so the other 99% was born.
I decided to drop the numbers and have an all-one-word, lowercase ‘ninetynineco‘ – a collection of motorcycles and a bubbling online community of people where there’s no nonsense or animosity towards other, just the pure and simple enjoyment of motorcycles and the connection we have with them.
The Kustom Kommune team in Melbourne put the whole mentality nicely into three words on the back of one of their t-shirts… “Wrench, Ride, Repeat” and for me, that’s what it’s all about.
How long have you had a beard, and why did you decide to grow one?
I’ve had a beard off and on for the past 6 years or so. I actually made the horrendous decision to clipper it off about 3 months ago – I could barely look at myself in the mirror. It was so weird seeing my head look so small, I don’t think that will happen again in a hurry.
I copped a lot of flack for it being influenced by the hipster scene, but oddly that had no bearing on my decision to start growing one.
I’ve listened to country music for a long time and when I saw the music video for ‘Chicken Fried’ by Zac Brown, that was the trigger. I’d always thought of beards and bulky and ‘old-manish’ but Zac had very tightly clipped sides that came to a bit of a point. Having never really thought about it until seeing Zac’s, I was immediately hooked and it was all I could think about.
Which of The Groomed Man Co Beard Oils have you tried, and what did you think? Why did you try it out?
I use the ‘Morning Wood‘ beard oil. I commute on my Sportster every day and usually get into the office really early, not leaving much time to get organised at home. I was shampooing it with my hair daily and riding in without really drying my beard thoroughly, which over time caused the skin to get extremely irritated and dry. After riding back from shooting a bike feature in Canberra recently, it was so sore that I knew I had to do something about it.
A bit of googling led me to The Groomed Man Co. blog and after reading some of the posts I could see that they knew what’s what, and so I ordered myself a bottle. I’m happy to say that after taking some of your routine advice and a few weeks of using the oil, my skin has almost fully healed up and isn’t sore in the slightest. I should also mention how much my girlfriend loves the smell, this stuff literally smells like a day spa.
What’s planned going forward for ninetynineco.?
Over the past few months the ninetynineco following seem to be getting behind what it stands for. I think we will try to continue to spread our ethos of a no nonsense moto lifestyle, and hopefully continue to inspire people to get on their steel horses and ride off into the sunset, ideally not in slow motion.