I had the pleasure of catching up with Jony Smith, of Jony Smith Combs, to talk a bit more about the man behind the ox horn.
I wanted to delve into the man behind the combs, understand how Jony became a beards man and what he gets up to when he is not hand crafting combs.
“I first grew a full on big beard about 3 years ago. I have a friend who lives in L.A. We made a pact not to shave until we next saw each other, which was 2 years ago. By then we had both got big, big beards. About a year ago I shaved off my beard and kept my tache, for a few reasons to be honest… I’d entered a few competitions with a beard and I felt that the competition for full natural beards was crazy big. I really enjoyed the competition scene, so I decided to go for a natural tache. I came 2nd in the first competition that I entered, and then in October it was the British beard and moustache championships in Liverpool and there I got the 2nd second place in the best full natural moustache in the country. I was pretty chuffed with that! There are many different categories for moustache championships including; English moustache which is waxed but straight, handlebar moustache – which is waxed and curled up and then freestyle which is crazy shapes. Then there’s me, I fit into the full natural category. It has to be no longer than 1 and a half centimetres from the edge of your mouth, and then free of products. You can blow dry it, but not use any waxes or anything.”
So not only does Jony make award worth combs, he sports an award winning moustache! I wanted to find out about Jony’s moustache care routine and see how you look after an award winner…
“I occasionally wax it up depending on what I am eating. I’ve never trimmed my top lip, so it can get in my food. I have a special china mug which has a moustache guard built on, I also have a moustache guard to take to the pub and put on my pint glass. Unless I plan ahead for eating things like burgers, cream cakes and doughnuts, it just can’t be done… especially in public!”
I had it on good faith that Jony was also a keen runner, and asked him to tell me a little bit about that.
“I’ve done a half marathon, and have my first full marathon coming up in October, which is the Kielder Marathon. It’s quite a hardcore one for my first one but I wanted a bigger challenge than just a marathon. I used to do a lot of cycling but had to stop because I had bad knees, so I decided to start running but this was also hard because of my knees. I then got into barefoot running which is running with very thin shoes. You run on your toes in these shoes, which is a more natural way of running. It is much better on my knees. If you run without shoes on, you naturally run on your toes, which takes pressure away from your knees. I got really into it, I did lots of 10k runs and I also do a Park Run every Saturday. Last year I decided to do a half marathon and I really enjoyed it, so I thought it was time to do a marathon. I joined a running club last week actually!”
Before I let Jony go, I asked him a bit more about his personal life and who he lives at home with…
“I’ve been married for 13 years! I got engaged in Vegas and then years later returned to get married. I also have a dog, which is a parson russell terrier, called Eddie. We adopted him when he was 6. He has had major problems though and can be a right pain. I did have some health issues in 2006, we got him just after that and to be honest if I didn’t have him, I probably wouldn’t be here now. He helped me so much. We can’t pet him much but just being with me and getting out of the house helps so much. He used to come out running with me but he’s an old man now!”
Finally, maybe the most important question I ask anyone that I interview… are you a frequent visitor of the barbershop?
“Well, when I had a beard I would visit the barber shop loads. I go to Sheffield, there’s a shop called Honkytonk Barbers. Harry has won loads of awards, he’s brilliant with both hair and beards. He did trim my tache just before the big competition, but generally I don’t get it done now.”
Well there you have it, all you need to know about Jony Smith… the award winning moustache sporting, comb making marathon runner!