Interview With NEWSED

One day in 2015, retired Marine Corps veteran Kevin Gouran ran into his longtime friend and fellow veteran, Jim Dorkins, at church. At the time, Jim was also technically retired, having sustained a disabling work injury that kept him from continuing as a trailer mechanic. Always ambitious and creative, however, Jim was hard at work on a new project: making organic beard products in his kitchen. Although Doc Goodbeard Beard Care Products was officially founded in 2017, that was the day it all really began.

“We ran into each other at church and started hanging out again after that.” Kevin recalls. “Then one day I gave him a hug and I said, ‘Jim! You smell so good! What is that?’ and he said ‘Well, that’s my beard balm. I make beard care products. This is the first one I made; it’s called Lavender & Lace.’” Impressed and ready for a post-retirement venture, Kevin offered to help Jim launch his business and get his products off the ground. That year, Doc Goodbeard launched their collection of 10 beard balms, 5 beard oils (to match their top beard balm sellers), and a beard wash.

“Back then, we did all sorts of trade shows,” Kevin said. “We’ve been everywhere, from Vegas to just about every show in Denver. And eventually, we got kind of popular.” Around that time, Jim enrolled in NEWSED’s Retail Business Incubation program at The ZONE, which became one of Doc Goodbeard’s first in-person retail locations. Jim had heard of NEWSED through people he met at various business courses and programs around Denver, and eventually formed a partnership that continues to this day.

Over time, Jim and Kevin’s one-of-a-kind products, hard work, and charming branding (the Doc Goodbeard logo, which became a fan favorite, is an endearing illustration of Jim himself), took them all the way to present their product to QVC in Seattle. Then, Doc Goodbeard caught the attention of Kevin Harrington of Shark Tank fame.

“The Harrington’s just got a hold of us one day and asked if we were interested in forming a partnership.” Kevin recalls. “At first we thought this was a joke, because, how does the first Shark just approach you? Don’t you have to go on Shark Tank first? But they just noticed our products and they spoke for themselves!” Jim and Kevin eventually signed a marketing agreement with Kevin Harrington, opening a new chapter for Doc Goodbeard.

Then, tragedy struck when Jim unexpectedly fell ill and passed away in late 2021. “He was gone in just three weeks, and it was devastating.” Kevin said. “I’m still retired, but now I’m doing this for my buddy—this was his dream.” And certainly, while Kevin is now sole owner of the business that continues to grow and surpass him and Jim’s wildest dreams, Jim’s legacy is at the heart of all things Doc Goodbeard. “I am glad to have had this journey with Jim and to have learned so much from him, but I’m sad Jim missed all this really incredible stuff. I mean, we used to make all our beard bombs and beard oils in the kitchen; now we have it made at Mile High Soap in Denver. But I know that we’re gonna keep moving on for him”

Today, Kevin has a new partnership with Kevin Harrington, has launched Doc Goodbeard products on Amazon, and recently signed a contract with Mammoth Nation, a successful online shopping platform for Veterans. Through it all, however, Doc Goodbeard has remained unwaveringly true to its roots; supporting veterans, continuing to sell their products at The ZONE, and keeping Jim’s likeness on each and every tin and bottle. “You won’t see my name out there, because this is Jim; it’s his story, and I was just along for the ride.” Kevin says. “I still feel him sometimes, I’ll tell you that.”

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