Posted on by Mike Knopke

Thanks to Joyce Smith of The Kansas City Star for writing such a wonderful article about our company...

Longtime friends — bearded Joe Henderson and clean-shaven Mike Knopke — would commiserate over their different shaving issues.

“Beards are very fashionable right now. But there are different types, how they grow, why are they itchy,” said Henderson. “I never grew mine very long because of the itch.”

Knopke would buy premium products and use a safety razor for skin “as smooth as a baby,” but he balked at the prices.

So about eight months ago they created KC Shave Co., sourcing vendors across the country, then creating gift boxes using upscale cigar boxes that they purchased from local The Outlaw Cigar Co.

A few months later they started creating their own products, testing them on friends and family, and making tweaks based on their feedback. Is the scent too strong or not strong enough? Which oils have the best benefits?

With their own line they also have more control over packaging, the size of the bottles, ingredients and pricing.

They work out of the basement of Knopke’s Overland Park home or sometimes Henderson’s Olathe home, making enough product to last two or three months.

“We’re control freaks,” Henderson said. “We can manage it better and make dramatically more money, which allows us to be competitive entering the retail space.”

That includes filling requests by outlets, such as barbershops, that want to carry the products.

KC Shave’s signature all-natural line has a beard balm that comes in a choice of Leatherwood and Clean Cut scents. The business also offers Polished Mahogany shave soap and Royal Aqua Beard Oil.

Other products include safety razors and blades, straight razors, brushes and bowls, beard-trimming scissors, beard wash and combs.

Currently the products and gift boxes are sold through their website,, and on Etsy, an e-commerce website. They have about 30 gift-box options ranging from about $19.95 to more than $100. They also do custom boxes, like their groomsmen gift boxes.

They’ve sent samples to bloggers to get the word out and also have been giving away a free premium kit on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to create buzz.

“I love the entrepreneur side, and having a passion about the products certainly helped,” Knopke said.

Henderson is now sporting a shorter beard for hot weather and for his upcoming wedding in September.

“I shave every day, too. You have to keep it looking nice,” he said. “But I get kind of cranky around some beards. They don’t know how to take care of them or use the products. For the love of everything sacred, just a comb and wash can keep it soft and fragrant.”

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