Michigan college student turns pandemic beard oil ‘side hustle’ into business

MIDLAND, MI — Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Sinclair, like many Michiganders, found himself laid off from his job, his daily routine dissolved.

With “nothing but time” on his hands, the 20-year-old Midland man and Delta college student launched his new company, Outer Grove Co., and began selling his own handmade all-natural, organic, vegan men’s care products.

Sinclair makes his own organic beard oils, beard balms and room/body sprays and is now selling his products online at outergrovecompany.com and in-store at Ways to Wellness, 122 W. Main St. in downtown Midland. He also designed the graphics and labels.

“I was laid off from my job because of COVID so, you know, I really had nothing but time to work on it so it was kind of a little passion project for me,” said Sinclair, a 2019 H.H. Dow High School graduate now studying business management at Delta College. “It’s all my own recipes and blends for the oils. It’s all my original work.”

Sinclair, who has had a beard and an interest in self care for quite some time, said, “I became the beard guy in my family.” But after struggling to find products on the market that he liked, “I kind of set out to create my own,” he said.

Outer Grove Co. beard oils are made with organic jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils and a variety of essential oils. The beard balms, which are made for both conditioning and styling, are made with carrier and essential oils, plus beeswax and organic shea butter. Sinclair also makes a “Utility Spray” for room and body in a variety of scents.

Sinclair was laid off from his job at a gym for several months, but is now back to working full time, attending college and running his business.

“I’m glad I put in the work for it. I worked really hard on everything, trying to do everything the right way,” he said. “It feels good.”

Find Outer Grove Co. on Facebook or visit outergrovecompany.com to learn more.

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