If you tell Matt Amos you’re sorry to hear he lost part of both of his legs while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan, he has a standard reply.
He says he likes to jolt people with that response so they listen to what he says next.
The life-threatening experience – the second time he was injured by an IED in war – was also an eye-opening one for Amos.
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“When you’re a Marine, you’re doing your job and serving something that’s bigger than yourself,” Amos says.
He says the support he’s received from the military and everyone around him since the injury “has been incredible.”
“I’ve seen what we’re there defending. I consider myself lucky because I’ve been able to see that.”
That support is what Amos says is allowing him to now start his own company, Admiral’s Pennant, which initially will sell high-quality beard oil and then expand into shaving products.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own company,” Amos says.
He has ideas for a couple of businesses he’d like to try other than what he’s doing, but says that “they’re so large, it’s not a prudent first company.”
Amos’ own beard inspired Admiral’s Pennant.
Like many of his military counterparts, when Amos left the service, he said, “You know what? I’m done shaving.”
Also like a lot of people who grow beards, Amos had some itchiness and other issues. Someone suggested he try beard oil.
“I had never heard of it before.”
The oil caused problems for him, too, though.
“Most of it was too strong,” he says. “I found some different ways to make it. It’s just a little bit less harsh. It’s not overpowering.”
He says he purchased the best all-natural oils he could find and made his own blends.
“That’s the only way to ensure the right proportion,” he says.
Each of the five blends he has so far is named for a significant event in American history, such as 1783, which was the end of the American Revolutionary War.
“We celebrate the end of war,” Amos says. “We don’t celebrate the beginnings.”
One of writer Herman Melville’s names for a beard – admiral’s pennant – is what Amos’ business is named after.
Amos says he learned that Melville had served aboard a ship docked at the port of Callao in Peru where he had once done a training exercise.
“So I was like, man, OK,” Amos says. “That’s kind of a tip of the hat to the inspiration for the brand.”
He says he’s finishing up his website, which is www.admiralspennant.com, and plans to be fully operational by March 1.
Amos says he’s working with some local shops to carry his products. He says Weiss Barber Supply is already on board.
“Eventually, I’d like to have my own store, but I kind of want to do it a different way.”
Amos says he’d like to have a civilized club of sorts for men and women to relax with some cigars and drinks.
For now, though, he’ll stick with adding products to his line, including more beard products, soaps and shaving and grooming items for men and women.
“It’s an unexpected change,” Amos says. “Obviously, I wasn’t planning on being injured and planning on doing a beard oil company, but it’s exciting, and it’s fun. I enjoy doing it.”
He says he can picture one day having an umbrella of companies.
“That’s how Marines are. We like to get in and just start taking over.”