It's 2017. I'm sitting in my barber chair examining a product label for a beard balm. The logo is fantastic, and the label is high quality. I can tell it isn't a mass-produced item, and that fascinates me. I never thought something as complex as self-care products could be made in such an independent, mom-and-pop way. I read through the ingredients and think, I can make this. So I did. That night I placed an order for beeswax, shea butter, some carrier oils, and some essential oils. I had an Altoids tin nearly empty, so I cleaned it out with some alcohol wipes. I made a double boiler with a glass bowl and a small saucepan.
And Oddball was born.
Just kidding. I used too much beeswax and created a candle. A useless block that smelled good but had no function. So I melted it down again and added more oil until I got the consistency right. But then it was too greasy. On and on it went. Finally, I had something I was happy using on my own face. I needed to make something else, though. This was too much fun. I grabbed a jar of my favorite pomade, but the ingredients looked like another a language. What the hell was Ceteareth-20? (Turns out it's just a fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil – nowhere near as scary as it sounds.) Maybe I could make an old greaser-style pomade. Petrolatum, castor oil, lanolin, microcrystalline wax, and all that good stuff. It was a damn cool product, albeit tough as hell to wash out.
The dream died there for a while. It was expensive to make and test product. And I didn't want to half-ass something like that. It was disrespectful to those crafters out there who put so much time and effort into their products.
Three years later, summer 2020, mid-pandemic, I looked at my wife, who had already been ruminating about reviving an old t-shirt company we'd started in our early 20s as a fun quarantine project, and asked her if we should include self-care products in our store. That's when I realized Oddball was a potential reality. I could make the products and sell them in our newly/oldly dreamed workshop, Anomalous. And here we are.
We wanted our products clean and free of damaging chemicals, but we also wanted to stay away from fear-mongering labels such as "all-natural" and "from the earth." You know what else is from the earth? Arsenic. Slapping some propaganda phrases on our labels was of zero interest to us. Instead, we carefully curated a list of ingredients we were okay using and did our own research – using the research of scientists and academics and chemists. After all, we're making these products with our bare (gloved) hands. Anything that goes into our recipes is handled by us and tested extensively on our own skin, first and foremost.
In conclusion, Oddball is just our name for the branch of Anomalous that makes self-care products. It's all us!
– L & J
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