The Beast Within: An Insider's Perspective on Personal Care

by Merryn Johns

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday April 24, 2020

Imagine personal care and grooming products that defy gender, incorporate natural ingredients, boast sleek design and give back to the planet? Enter Beast Brands, an industry-disrupting suite of 14 self-care items that will redefine your bathroom routine from head to toe: from shampoo and shaving cream to Nutt butter.

One of the men behind the brand is Nashville-based Jay Wilkison, Beast Brands' VP of Brand Strategy & Development. The former Broadway alum and occasional film and TV actor uses the products daily, and even appears in some of Beast's ads. EDGE chatted with Wilkison via phone to learn more about the company's mission.

What is the mission of Beast Brands, and what is the ethos of the brand?

Beast's mission is simple: make wonderful products, with natural ingredients, for beasts of all kinds that are better for the planet. We are a brand for everyone. We are taking steps to be better ourselves and grow as a company and as people.

What impact is Beast making?

We know that customers not only want great products for themselves; they also want to feel a part of something. If someone comes into the Beast family, they have a wonderful fun experience, and they look forward to the continued experience—awesome products, better for the planet and fun.

What sets Beast apart from other brands?

What we think sets us apart is the experience you have within the brand. The quality of our products is terrific. The ingredients, scents, etc. We are also trying to introduce a new shower system that is better for the planet—our eco-friendly, refillable Beast bottle.

The Beast bottle was created with the planet in mind. But while doing as much, we also wanted to solve a much more minor problem: so many people have so many moldy, dirty plastic bottles in their showers. This sleek, aluminum bottle looks great. The refill pouches are just the first step. We eventually would love to be plastic free. That's a bit of a longer journey, but we had to start somewhere and we're very proud of it.

In addition to your role with Beast Brands, you're also an actor. How do you balance business and treading the boards?

I do love acting, do it when I can, and really enjoy it when I do. That was my main gig for about 14 years in New York. During that time, I also had (as most actors do) other interests and jobs. Most of those revolved around fashion, branding, retail, distribution, etc. We moved back to Nashville about nine years ago, and I made acting more of a side hustle and started to focus on business.

You appeared in "Rent," which is an LGBTQ classic. Which character did you play, and what was that experience like?

I had the great privilege of getting to play Roger on Broadway in "Rent." Like anyone who had the same experience would say, it was an extremely formative and precious time of my life. Not only was/is "Rent" one of the most special pieces created, its message of unity, love, and acceptance in this world is also so powerful.

It seems like you've carried that message forward.

"Rent"'s message is simple: love and live. It's one thing that I take a lot of pride in here with Beast. We are a company that wants to welcome 'beasts' of all kinds, as we like to say. We want anyone who comes into the brand to feel welcomed, respect others and really have fun. There is a beast inside all of us. That beast represents everyone's personal journey to maximize life's enjoyment. Acceptance in this world is the key to it all. If we just took a moment and appreciated the person standing right in front of us, our days would be a lot more enjoyable.

Beast Brands recently brought on soccer star Kelley' O'Hara as a brand ambassador. How did she become a part of your team?

I've been a soccer player my entire life. When co-founder John Cascarano and I first started discussing opening the brand up from men to unisex, we wanted to bring someone on board that represented John and me and the company. I've been a massive fan of Kelley's for a long time. I've just loved what she stands for and how she plays on the field. She is a beast on the field. She is our partner in this and is extremely excited to steer the brand even more eco-friendly and for everyone to use.

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Merryn Johns is a writer and editor based in New York City. She is also a public speaker on ethical travel and a consultant on marketing to the LGBT community.

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