A UX approach to creating the better beard butter

Timeline

Ongoing Passion Project

My Role

Branding, Protoyping, Testing

I combined my love for beards and my UX skills to concoct an inclusive beard product and brand.

Deliverables

Competitive Analysis, Brand Guide, Test Scrips

PROBLEM

Not all beards are the same, so why are all beard brands & products the same?

Is the question I found myself asking as I arrived at my third target store of the day.Finding the right beard product was always a hassle for me. All the products at my local stores were all made for the same type of man — and that man wasn't me, a black man with a beard that is always thirsty, doesn't like smelling like outdoors, and loves his beard. Using these products left my beard feeling itchy, dry, and rough while they left me feeling frustrated and just plain tired.

 

In pursuit of a product that would treat my 4C beard with TLC, I committed to using my UX skills to craft the solution.

SOLUTION

J4MB

"Just For My Beard"

J4MB (Pronounced as "JAM") is a lightweight, everyday beard butter made from four essential ingredients. The J4MB formula is specifically designed to reduce inflammation, provide hyrdration, and leave you and your beard feeling unstoppable.

- Bearded Person I met at CVS

"What do I use?  I don't know where to start?"

Discovering the Problem

Finding the right beard product is a struggle —and not just for me.

After my initial frustration, I turned to the internet and real life to see if this is a universal problem or just a me thing. Unsurprisingly, finding the right beard product is something that a lot of bearded people go through.

But the problem is not just in the brand, but in the products.

Not all beards are made the same, so why are all products the same?

Setting Constraints

Lightweight.

Fortified. Assured.

I set goals to guide me along my experiment.

1. Lightweight speaks to the consistency of the product. I wanted to create something that could be applied at morning, at night, then as needed. This led to me pinning a butter texture as the best type.

 

2. Fortified speaks to the type of ingredients necessary to include to be nutritious. I pinned inflammation, itchiness, dryness, and patchiness as my attack areas. Searching for the best ingredients and combinations to combat those lead to the 4 essential ingredient types.

3. Assured is how I want to feel from using the product. I don't want to have to worry about how my beard is feeling throughout the day because I feel guaranteed that it is always looking it's best.

Pictured are the 4 Essential Ingredients used to make J4MB.

Iterative Design

It's Time to Cook!

After teaching myself the process to creating beard butter (via Youtube University), I got to cooking! 

After each batch was done, I set myself on strict two week schedule to test out the product on my own beard. After the end of the second week, I would reflect and write down changes I wanted to make to perfect the next batch (such as amounts, scents, etc).

After I got more comfortable in my process, I started to distribute test batches to my bearded friends for feedback. In total I have made over 7 batches, and I continue to test out new batches.

v.7

v. 1

v.3

Pictured are 3 different batches of J4MB.

Visual Design

Exploring the Future of Beard Care

Taking it a step further, I built out the brand for J4MB. Visually, I wanted the brand to embody movement. To many, a beard is a statement piece and it follows you throughout your day.

I took this inspiration to build a brand that reflective the idea of movement and things one might see on a day out. The packaging was inspired by movement as well. Instead of opting for a jar, I decided that a squeeze tube would be a better option. This is so that J4MB will be visually distinctive on the shelf, could travel easily with the user, and could help inform how much product should be used (by the squeeze mechanism).

Moodboard for J4MB

Brand Packaging

I took on the brand packaging too. Many times, I found my current product's containers peeled away leaving residue on my hands and then ultimately in my beard. To change the packaging, I looked to other consumer packaged goods to find a more viable option.

 

The packaging was inspired by movement as well. Instead of opting for a jar, I decided that a squeeze tube would be a better option because it would increase portability, instruct people proper amounts, and be visually distinctive from other products on the shelf (and on the bathroom sink).

Looking Back 

& Running Forward!

J4MB is something I continue to work on, everyday. Besides learning how to make my own beard formula, I got to truly see how my UX skills can be used in a very unconventional manner. Though J4MB is not the typical UX project, it still follows the principles of focusing on the user and letting everything else follow.

Next Steps – I will continue to work on perfecting my process and creating a digital platform that will help other bearded people craft their own J4MB product.

Explore Other Work

Case Study

CULTIVATE

Designing a New Way for

Understanding Mental Health

Internship

UX Internship

Learn more about my time at Google as a UX Designer on Google Duo.

Misc.

Etc.

A look into things I do on the side to keep my noggin active.

Let's Link! 

This doesn't have to end. Email me at whatsup@jeremy-stokes.com and let's talk about anything.

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