The REAL Beard Struggle Of Small Batch Companies And Beard Clubs
The topic of beard clubs has always been a very touchy subject and it's almost taboo to talk about another beard club within your own ranks. Despite its prohibited nature, on a whole when you talk to brothers from another club it's actually a pleasurable experience with a lot of similarities in the way these clubs / brotherhoods operate. The concept of beard clubs vary slightly from club to club however there are at least two unspoken agreements which the clubs operate under a unified manner. Firstly don't openly steal each other's members, this allows separate clubs to run in close vicinity to each other with a certain amount of respect. If members decide to move clubs then it is generally accepted to have time restraints put in place before members can jump from one club to the next. Secondly you can not be part of two clubs, this is surely common sense but it creates a bond and loyalty to your own beard club.
Other rules are present which include pays monetary fees, required social media posts per month or activity involvement however these vary from club to club and allow each club to create its individuality. The recent announcement of The Beard Struggle creating their own club (sorry I mean brotherhood) has sent shockwaves through the bearded community once again and has left hundreds of members torn between a tight brotherhood bond created by their own respected beard club and the loyalty portrayed to The Beard Struggle which has been obtained through the recently launched Aett and its Ambassador Programme. The issue which faces these individuals is that virtually all established beard clubs follow the unified agreements which state you are not allowed to be part of two separate clubs. Whilst the Aett was an exception to this rule because firstly it was not a beard club rather a clan which allowed like minded TBS individuals to socialise within a strict ruling of promoting TBS brand alone and thus was considered a "brand clan". Despite senior members recently claiming you could be part of Aett whilst using other brands I can happily confirm that is a lie. Myself and friends were turned away from Aett due to openly using other products which we deemed superior to TBS cooking oil formula which we discovered through reviewing.
My aim is to break down why Midgard Vikings decided it's acceptable to separate itself from being a beard club but consider itself to be a beard brotherhood which exemplifies itself from the accepted brotherhood rules which the community abide by.
What Is A Beard Club? To understand why Midgard Vikings are so different we must understand what constitutes a beard club in the first place. In order to do this I have spoken to a handful of popular, worldwide beard club members from Villains, Rebellions, Berserkers, Titans, Bad Boys and many more to get an overall consensus of how these clubs operate on a daily basis and provide brief details for entry into their clubs. A general rule of thumb for these clubs to accept new members is the requirement of some form of facial hair. These requirements vary from club to club with lenient requirements of some form of facial hair to a minimum of a 2 inch, ear to ear beard. A possible new recruit may even join some clubs if they are required to be clean shaven for short periods at work or undertaking charity causes and thus actually allowing non hairy members.
The clubs operate on a tier system of power which once again will vary from different clubs however they all have a similar structure. Anyone who has a desire to enter into the club can be considered as a “hopeful'', with actual entry into the club sees someone earn the rank of a “supporter”, leading onto a “prospect” and finally a “full patch”. Time lengths differ from clubs with some phases taking only weeks whilst others can take over a year.
Above your patched members youhave "board members'' or "committee" who will oversee the day to day running of a club chapter. These are typically made up of the following :
"Presidents'' (The Top Dog) "Vice President" (Second In Command)
"Enforcer" (Someone Who Keeps The Peace) "Treasurer" (Someone Who Looks After The Money) "Scouts: (Someone Who Finds New Recruits) "Secretary" (General Bookkeeping, Meeting Notes and Generic Enquiries) Plus others roles like Captains, Lieutenants, Knights and PR or Social Media Managers.
Positions of power are respected within the club chapter and normally will confide within each other to ensure the chapter is functioning correctly. If a club is recognised as an international club these roles are often replicated to create an "International Board" or "International Committee" the role of these are to ensure the whole club is operating correctly and provide an overall general direction for its chapters. Understanding why these clubs are almost identical in most ways with small variants allows us to understand why clubs as a hole can be successful but also will give each individual club its own identity. These similarities have allowed the clubs to create a mutual respect for each other without even realising it. Now let's have the same breakdown for Midgard Vikings to establish why they are different from these clubs:
"Freeman" which is compared to a supporter
"Recruit" which is compared to the rank of prospect "Warrior" which is a full patch.
AMAZINGLY these are almost identical to most other clubs apart from its name variant. Leading to the "Committee" or "Board" and your have roles of :
"Treasurer" who takes on the exact same role as a club Treasurer. "Watchdog" who keeps the peace like an enforcer. "Recruiter" who brings in new members like a scout "Promotor" who would take on the same role as a PR or Social Media Manager.
International roles once again don't make any separation with "Directors" references to International presidents and other ranks which position themselves at the top of the food chain overlooking the brainwashed sheep. Establishing that there's blatant lies or twisted truths being published to differentiate between what MV are calling a brotherhood and what everyone else is calling a club appears to be something similar to child's play. This to me is an indication of devious undertone movements, questioning why the sudden branch out despite Aetts being recently launched. Surely Aetts are still within its juvenile stage, with much to learn and many kinks to iron out before deciding this was the best course of action?
Despite the MV "Director" saying it's a brotherhood his "Consigliere" has openly admitted the opposite with this quote “we could have called ourselves a club if we wanted to, we just felt brotherhood was better fitted to who we are”. Possible turmoil in the ranks already or more to the fact that members can't comprehend the difference due to the lack of community activity, experience or just ignorance. I suppose when you only want to follow brand Vikings and a few others then your experience and knowledge is going to be pretty limited.
The Beard Struggle Themselves
Moving away from the newly formed CLUB and we now look at The Beard Struggle themselves. As a guilty pleasure I openly admit TBS are marketing geniuses, however certain "experts" have caused nothing but chaos in the bearded community with complete disrespect and disregard to everyone involved.
Annoyingly to admit the Brand Viking Programme was successful with a huge influx of ambassadors, all with their own personal codes to further promote TBS and getting a personal discount on poorly produced and overpriced items. (Read The Bearded Brit Blog). Advertising was popping up in virtually every Facebook or Instagram ad and on top of that every time I scrolled another ambassador would be showing me a pic of the "Best Product On The Market'' and a discount code despite most ambassadors never experiencing another brand. This type of consent advertisement suffocated small batch brands like a putrid smog leaving them with very little room to manoeuvre or compete against advertising on such a large scale. Small batch companies clawing for attention but yet every new community member was being lured into a cult like TBS community.
Before I'm lynch mobbed myself ask yourself what amount is produced to be considered small batch? 50 maybe 70 at most? Does TBS honestly fit into this category despite their recent posts and how active their ambassadors are?
A toxic, mob mentality snuck in creating vicious circles of hatred over brainwashed individuals bleeding into the brand exclusive Aetts. The creation of Aetts caused volatile ripples within the Beard Club community with fear of losing established members however as this was brand exclusive despite opposing claims and more lies, the true beard clubs decided the Aetts was a "Brand Clan" not to dissimilar to the Brand Viking Programme and allowed members to be part of both. It was far from an ideal situation however a situation in which clubs took a reasonable response to ensure all its members and the community was being supported and combated the foolhardy approach of TBS.
The introduction of raids by leaders allowed members to earn reward points (gold) on new start-up companies like Beardtings, which created a lynch mob of cyberbullies who were sending threats, hundreds of fake comments to the point it crashed Facebook reviews due to the wrath of the keyboard Viking warriors. Yes they actually rewarded you for being a cyberbully, racking up 578 comments to date, with hundreds of raid submissions photos where people proved their worth and claimed their gold in true Viking style. A controversial backlash of comments for using sexual references in Beardtings IG stories which was directed at TBS for a bit of “banter” sound ironic from a company who has an advert of lined up, fully kitted out “Vikings'' however the only Shield Maiden in the line up hides her uncovered breasts behind a shield. More modern “Vikings'' luring women in with the use of their heated brush and oils which the sheep fail to remember when commenting how great a brotherhood is when inclusivity only includes straight males and women in a sexual form.
Private Aett chats saw messages thrown around saying they would bury an axe in the back of people's heads, was never jumped on and stopped by Watchdogs however only exaggerated by a select few "Generals'' and a continual droll of hatred spread through its ranks like an infected wound seeping puss. People who stood against these toxic attitudes got slammed to the ground and spat on in disgust by their supposed brothers, with them quickly being removed or voluntarily leaving from the affiliation of TBS followed by a volley of abuse. If you don't believe me check out the Brand Viking Facebook page and type Beardtings, dated 25th September 2020 (if they haven't deleted it)
With this toxic, hatred still oozing amongst the ranks, yet TBS deem it's now appropriate to expand becoming a beard club / brotherhood formed because thousands of their members supposedly asked for it. They feel they should be welcomed with open arms from the community, and will work with everyone. A complete disregard for brotherhood rules which are established and widely recognised, but yet instead MV decide to dictate what they want to do or how other clubs should act around them. Isolating thousands of members who are ripped apart between the brand and their own clubs due to the rule of not being allowed to be part of two beard clubs. A selfish, self centred approach directed by high ranking individuals who provide nothing back to the bearded community as a whole but would rather focus on TBS, highly likely for their own personal monetary gains.
Isn’t For Charity Thought?
Yes the whole idea of MV is supposedly to break away from Aetts with automatic conscription into the ranks to promote brotherhood and charity however when a brotherhood has a base which is underpinned by a toxic mentality its pretty hard to accept where these good intentions are actually leading. Already we can see certain members play the victim card wondering why they are receiving such a backlash after so many lies laid before them. Claims of people trying to shoot down a new charitable organisation (I thought you was a brotherhood because this is technically a different thing?) Would be clearly operating under a different set of values. Yes, I agree with that statement. Most other clubs and companies are working under a set of values which are pure with good intentions rather than working behind a shadowed veil which masks true intentions. The problem is they have been caught out time and time again supporting this toxic mentality within their ranks so why would this been any better? Yet don’t worry because the latest command they have given is to not retaliate and “kill them with kindness" Yes, i reference the messages in discord chats where they chastise members for leaving but yet on their comments it’s nothing but sweet lies leaching out from the snake of Nachash. Sometimes the discord announcements just don't make sense, like a "small batch brand" who doesn't know the difference between CNCP and CPNP portal to register your products to ensure the are safe for use.
Crude charity advert campaigns like “7 ways to die" which raised funds just reeks of their unprofessional behaviour and bad taste and yet they wonder why the community fights back. No class, no professionalism and no respect is given to anyone apart from TBS loyalists. So my advice would be that if you want the respect of others around you then prove it rather than expecting everything to come to you. I see brands exchanging oils for mutual fun reviews, podcasts, giveaways (not already purchased by an ambassador or compulsory purchase to enter) meet the owners but yet none of that from TBS.
TBS marketing plans have caused problem after problem within the small batch industry and forces the whole community to work around them. A few power mad individuals, who don't bother to research the industry, accompanied by “yes men” and a toxic mob mentality of followers has left a sour taste in community members' mouths and tarnishing the name of The Beard Struggle to become something hated by thousands. As a company who is so vocally into brotherhood, community and giving, it sure as hell only moves in ways that's self beneficial leaving the rest of the community in tatters like a hurricane aftermath. As usual the small batch industry and TRUE beard clubs will work around them however with a sky rise in members leaving TBS and MV in a vocal manner, denouncing the rancid ways in which TBS has been allowed to operate. It truly makes you think what could be on the horizon, to which I can only hope this movement continues, creating a cataclysmic collapse and the vice like grip which is strangling the UK small batch industry can be loosened on the fantastic community underneath. This movement will allow the members of Aett or MV to breakaway joining in with a community whose intentions are for the greater good and what Aett should of been rather than what it has become.
Finally I want to convey that these are my own thoughts and opinions and do not portray any other individual, brand or club. If anyone wants to use TBS as their product then that is a decision with your freedom of choice. Not all members of TBS, Aetts or MV are part of the hate culture however this is something which is rife within its ranks and if unchecked then it will continue to grow affecting our beloved community.
If you have enjoyed the long read then spread the news and share on social media. Stay Safe, Peace Out.