The Monarch story began at the lowest point in my life. I had lost my job, my apartment, and was legally separated. I felt like a failure as a provider, a husband, and a man. I had fallen into a deep depression. While staying with various family and friends, I learned to make handmade goods out of oils and butters to save money and to use for gifts. I also learned to make several other items, such as perfumes and body sprays, but once I tried pomade, it just felt natural. I gave the first jar to my best friend, and he loved it so much, he told me that he would buy it if I were to ever sell it.

I would occasionally ponder that idea, but the failure mentality was deeply ingrained into my psyche at that point. The failure mentality, for me, was the belief that no matter how hard I tried, I would fail in the end, so it made more sense to preserve my energy by NOT trying in order to avoid disappointment. But the idea wouldn’t go away, and I found that merely thinking about it gave me life. It made me feel free in a way that I imagine an artist feels with their easel and tools or a musician in a studio. On the other side of the anxiety that comes with releasing an original product for retail and running a business was the freedom that comes with the journey of crafting something that I could share with the universe in my own way.

As I continued to refine the product, I gave more away in exchange for feedback. If I’m being honest, I hoped to receive negative feedback so I could feel justified in not executing this, but I continued to receive encouragement that helped me to overcome these thoughts. It became clear to me that the only thing holding me back was my own fear.

The fear of failure is still present. It may never go away, actually. I have to make a consistent choice to face it. Monarch, for me, is a physical manifestation of my internal choice to face my fears. But moreover, it is a platform for others to see that they are not alone. We are greater than our fears.