Veteran-owned business offers quality craftsmanship in small doses
The new, veteran-owned business Wandering Sheep Beard Care out of Tomah offers a solution to the classic, itchy beard syndrome that is locally sourced and all natural.
According to owner Adam Lamb, the idea for his venture started in August of 2005 when he joined the United States Navy. Lamb, his wife Gwen and their children wandered around the world during Lamb’s 10-year career from Virginia to Great Lakes, IL and then to Guam.
In fact, their “wandering” lifestyle would become the inspiration for the name of their business. In 2015, after 10 years with the Navy, Lamb decided to call it quits and wander back home to Wisconsin.
“When I got out, I decided I could grow my beard finally,” Lamb said. “I’ve shaved twice since I got out of the Navy and that was for job interviews.”
While he was growing out his beard, Lamb found himself constantly battling breakouts and itchy, irritated skin. He purchased several different beard oils that just never worked for him.
The samples were too small and never lasted longer than a single use or two; the oils leaked in his pocket and he was almost ready to give up on his beard.
Gwen sent him to find some beeswax and they started researching which oils were potentially good for the skin and which oils would offer up additional beneficial properties.
Lamb became obsessed with balms, beard butters and oils. He wanted something that he could carry with him in his pocket, something that would last all day and kill the itch.
“I ended up blowing up the kitchen a few times with coconut oil and essential oils,” he joked.
He eventually made his first balm concoction and found that he liked making it and it worked for him; the breakouts stopped as well as the itch. It took him roughly four more years to perfect the process before he became brave enough to let others try his balm.
With a push from a few friends, Lamb decided to start an official business in January, selling his products online and at local craft and vendor shows.
Along the way, Lamb and his wife have gotten help from quite a few individuals, but Aaron and Missy Brooks, owners of 1924 Custom Soapery in Sparta, have helped them immensely throughout the process.
Lamb sources local beeswax from Cashton and hemp flowers from Holmen. Other ingredients in his balms include organic unrefined coconut oil, vitamin E and essential oils.
The blend locks in moisture, helps keep the skin firm and plump, stimulates hair growth and reduces hair loss. With anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes easily irritated skin and serves as a layer of protection from irritants.
“We don’t use fragrances,” Lamb said. “Your body can use everything that is in our product.”
The balms are packaged in eco-friendly, biodegradable paperboard tubes. Lamb decided to use tubes so individuals would have the ability to apply the perfect amount of balm into their beards without a waxy mess left on their hands.
“You use it the way you would use a glue stick,” Lamb said. “Just paint it on, massage it in either with your hands or a comb and then you’re good to go pretty much all day.”
Gwen said that Lamb carries around sample sizes with him and that he often stops men in parking lots or on sidewalks to offer up a sample balm.
“It’s a weird world because it’s as simple as saying, ‘Hey, what do you put in your beard?’ and guys are always looking for something because they can’t find anything that works for them,” Lamb said.
Wandering Sheep offers a variety of scents including their biggest sell and one of Lamb’s favorites, Up Nort, which smells like a fragrant cedar situated around a secluded lakeside campfire with a touch of fresh orange and a hint of tea tree to keep the bugs at bay.
Wandering Sheep also offers beard oils that pair perfectly with the balms, which are available in three different sizes. A full list of products can be found online at www.wanderingsheepbeardcare.com.
“Everything is completely custom to us,” Lamb said. “We’ll take bourbon and pour it into coconut wax and change it so it’s something that is completely different than anything else out there.”