Enlisting in the Army directly from high school in 2005, Andrew Weiss quickly found himself stationed with a small team in a series of small forward operating bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan as a crew chief for a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter conducting medical evacuation missions. These missions meant little moments of self-care had a big impact — and a close shave was one of those moments. Weiss said after heckling his team leader and mentor Staff Sergeant Carry Adkins for using an “old school razor,” he quickly adopted the practice. It also created a bit of healthy competition between his team for who could get the best shave. After leaving the Army in 2014, it grew into a start-up business, Battle Brothers Shaving Co. Visit battlebrothers.com.
Grand Rapids Magazine: Tell me about your service in the Army.
Andrew Weiss: My job was to assist the combat medic onboard when we picked up injured and wounded. While not on mission my primary focus was to ensure the aircraft was well maintained and mission ready at all times.
GRM: Shaving was a small piece of self-care that you guys could actually enjoy, why do you think this is/was important?
AW: Living at a small forward operating base has its own unique challenges. Month after month we ate, slept, laughed and fought together. As the missions went on, our bonds strengthened, a brotherhood was formed.
GRM: How did this lead to Battle Brothers?
AW: Battle Brothers Shaving Co. started when I was deployed, and a little self-care made a huge difference for me and my platoon. I built the company to share this experience and pride with service members, military families and everyone who is back home.
GRM: Why do you think having quality shaving tools is important?
AW: There is something sacred when your dad first teaches you how to shave. Almost a modern passage into masculinity that is sometimes lost today. Shaving with these extremely sharp and high-quality razors takes a little practice to get used to. It’s a highly personal activity that I think deserves an equally personal razor. Like most people, I want to get the most out of life and live the best me I can. I want tools and equipment that give me the confidence knowing that I am putting my best foot forward. That is really what Battle Brothers is all about, being your best self.
GRM: What types of products are available through Battle Brothers?
AW: Right now, we’re focusing on just shaving products. Soon we have an amazing beard care line launching. We have shampoos, conditioners, body soaps, lotions, aftershaves, toothpastes and mouthwashes all in the works. All made in the U.S., too. I want to have a men’s product in every drawer of the bathroom someday. … We haven’t even dipped into Battle Sisters yet. A super high-quality line for women that I can’t wait to dive into.
GRM: Battle Brothers is an e-commerce store currently, do you have plans or hopes for getting your products into brick and mortar stores?
AW: Someday we plan to scale in retail stores and outlets. We do have experiments going with a few select retailers. It’s a fun experiment to see what kind of stores we do well in. Getting to the shelves brings unique challenges but I am confident we will find a scalable solution.