In a new essay on the importance of having a beard, bearded billionaire Sir Richard Branson reveals a life lesson: If you ever want to shave your beard off, you should be damn sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Branson says that he shaved his completely off just once ― to promote the launch of his short-lived wedding store, the unfortunately-named Virgin Bride.
He wanted everyone to know it was a one-stop shop for all your wedding needs, so to get the word out, the proven self promoter launched it the only way he could: by going completely over the top.
Branson slipped into a bridal gown and had his hair and makeup done, and he credits shaving his face as the reason for the store’s demise.
In an essay on the importance of growing a beard (published this week on Virgin.com to promote melanoma awareness), Branson flashes back to the regret he felt:
On launching our new venture, Virgin Brides in 1996, I decided to don a wedding dress, slap on some blue eye-shadow and shave clean. Unfortunately the business never really took off – maybe because there aren’t too many virgin brides, or perhaps it was the picture that put people off. I think my beardless face made more headlines than the company itself. Call me superstitious, but I’ve never fully shaved again, and ever since that day I have worn my facial hair as a badge of honour.
Virgin Brides closed the following year, according to The Telegraph, but it had nothing to do with its unfortunate name or the fierce competition at the time. Obviously, it was because Branson shaved his beard.
And now, today of course, there’s a Virgin for just about anything: a Virgin Casino, Virgin Books, Virgin Hot Air Balloons, Virgin for flying across the United States, the rest of the world, even for going into space.
So maybe Branson’s on to something with his beard superstition. Maybe.