A BEARDED entrepreneur who launched his own grooming firm has struck up an unlikely friendship with a world-famous rocker – based on their mutual love of facial hair.
Former massage therapist John Jackson, from Macmerry, used his knowledge of essential oils to set up Braw Beard Oils in 2013, after finding conventional shampoo left his own whiskers feeling brittle.
A few months later the hirsute 31-year-old was contacted on Twitter by Fred Durst, lead singer of rock band Limp Bizkit, who topped the charts in the UK in 2000 with their single Rollin’.
Lifelong Limp Bizkit fan Mr Jackson said: “He just said he liked the sounds of the products and it seemed like a cool idea. I did think it was a bit of a wind-up at first but it was from his account so I got back in touch.”
Two years on the pair have become close pals, with their shared love of rock music and beard maintenance taking Mr Jackson from the fields of East Lothian to the Hollywood Hills when he was invited to stay with the singer in Los Angeles before Christmas.
The rock star also provided ringside seats for Mr Jackson at the band’s gig in Glasgow last February and their show at Sonisphere Festival, in Hertfordshire, in July.
Mr Jackson, who also works as a graphic designer, said: “He’s a really down-to-earth guy. He gets a hard time sometimes but he is just really nice.
“I think he is just genuinely interested in the product and he is always keen to hear how it is going and to offer any advice.”
In October, Mr Jackson flew out to Hollywood to spend four days hanging out with Durst at his studio, and helped the musician hunt for a new home.
He said: “It was great to see Hollywood and it was pretty chilled out. He’s a complete professional so it wasn’t like we were partying every night.”
Durst said the product was “far superior” to anything else he had tried, and delivered a “genuinely satisfying softness” to his carefully cultivated beard. The 44-year-old musician said: “It’s manly yet suitable for anyone and I find that the ladies love the smell and texture of my beard.
“A lot of below-par beard products out there are quick to brag, but BBO is far superior to anything I’ve tried.”
The ringing endorsement has helped Braw Beard Oils – which is sold online and through ten UK stores – to expand its reach by securing deals in Europe and the US.
Extra support has come from Scottish Development International and Business Gateway East Lothian.
Al Bryce, adviser at Business Gateway, said: “The strength of his brand has already opened doors for him overseas and with our continued support, and the support and advice of SDI, alongside his hard work I have no doubt that he will be able to achieve his goal in Europe and America.”