Q&A: Jared Friesner of Cliff Original

From the July/August 2014 issue of Capital Style

Jared Friesner was frustrated when he couldn’t find men’s all-natural hair products. So the 34-year-old married father of three, who works in sales and marketing, took matters into his own hands –literally. In October 2013, after working through and testing myriad recipes, Cliff Original—a line of men’s products for hair, beard and face using 100 percent natural ingredients—was born.

“I’ve always been health conscious,” says Friesner, who was completing online holistic wellness school when he got the idea to create the line. “I researched natural ingredients for hair, and it was trial and error.” It’s been ordered by people from Columbus-area boutique owners to individuals in Europe. And Friesner hopes that the line, which he manufactures from a commercial kitchen, will continue to have both a local and global reach. “Education for men about what’s good and natural for your skin and hair is key,” Friesner says.

Cliff Original, 800-513-2758, CliffOriginal.com

On the company’s name

I grew up in Lancaster on a small family farm next to my grandpa Cliff. My aunts and uncles lived on the same dirt road. I followed my grandpa Cliff around wherever he went. When he passed away, I knew I wanted to do something in honor of him.

On how the idea came to fruition

During nutrition school, I had an aha moment and thought, “Why don’t I give this a shot?” As I made the products, I tried them. I had my brother try them, and I sent them to my friends around the country. I would tweak them and do more research. I originally made everything from my basement.

On the hair and beard products

They’re very affordable, between $10 and $20. The Hair Arousal Wax is a styling aid that gives hold. We use local beeswax from a beekeeper in Fairfield County. The Face Wash Brick has goat’s milk from a goat farm in Fairfield County. It comes in scents like mint and musk—manly scents. The Beard Arousal Balm and the Beard Oil bring your hair to life.

On where to find Cliff Original

We sell it online, through The Brittany Group (a salon product distributor from Charles Penzone), at both Thread on High and Thread on Grandview, Celebrate Local, Simply Vague, Old Familiar Barbershop, Turner’s Barbershop & Shaving Parlor, and Brigade. And we recently were approved to sell at Whole Foods.

On future plans

We’re growing into shampoo and conditioner. I want to keep it strictly men’s, but also expand into skincare while keeping it 100 percent natural. And I want to have a place to manufacture products locally, but have a global reach. Everything has been out of my basement, but I’m renting a space with a commercial kitchen. I’m also getting creative space at 400 W. Rich—a studio for videos and marketing.

On charitable giving

Ten percent of the profits go to Farm to School. It helps local farmers by bringing their food to schools, and it educates the kids on local food. The program is put on by Ohio State.

On inspiration

My faith and my family. They are the most important things. My grandpa, too. And it’s so important to give back. The more you give, the more you get.