Tony Vasinda didn’t know what to expect when he started making homemade beard balm in his house. Not only is he now running a successful business selling it, but by tying his products to his faith and creating a space for conversation, he’s also formed a strong community.
“For a product that started out as kind of a lark, this is where we’ve come to — where people are experiencing real healing, real life change, and real discipleship through this group.”
Meet Tony: beard balm maker
Tony Vasinda: It’s really funny, sometimes people will even ask the question, “When is this beard trend going to end?” And I always have to remind people, “Beards are the normal thing. When is this shaving trend going to end?” is my question.
So I hand-make every product that we have. We have a small room in our house that’s been entirely devoted to the making of beard balm.
Tony started his own beard balm company, Catholic Balm Co. Tony uses all-natural products like beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil.
(Tony prepares the products for his balms)
It’s tight. It’s on the third floor of our house. It is warm and hot in that room. Everybody’s always blown away by the fact that we use chrism oil. And people are like, “This smells just like chrism,” and I’m like, “Well, because it is.” But we actually buy our chrism from the same place that the average diocese buys their chrism from in order to make the oils that they use at Mass on Sunday.
Chrism is a fragrant anointing oil most widely used during baptisms.
If you ever get an off-center sticker, which is less common nowadays, it usually means one of my kids helped with stickering that day.
For me, a lot of it was clarified in some of the early stories that we got back after that initial pop-up success. And a lot of it was hearing men and women talk about what it was like to smell the smell of chrism as they went about their day, about the natural conversations that people were getting into about their faith just because somebody happened to see their beard or smell the way that they smelled and connect with that in some way.
The last minute, we said, “You know what? We should just throw out a Facebook group and just see who joins.” We had 750 men that first time around who just hopped into this group.
(Scrolling through Facebook posts in the group)
The singular thing that kept on coming back that I loved was hearing that there were people who were distant from God that had been hurt by the Church, who had relationships that were strained, who were experiencing healing. There are regular posts in there about guys whose lives are changed because of the prayers and the support of that community. For a product that started out as kind of a lark at a conference we were going to, this is where we’ve come to — where people are experiencing real healing, real life change, and real discipleship through this group.
(Flashing through photos of men in the Facebook group)