March 6th, 2020
Two years into my career as a Corrections Officer and this was the day I finally got my all black uniform, assigned a riot helmet, and a stab proof vest. Printed on the front of the vest was the word “SERT” (Special Emergency Response Team) in bold white letters and my last name “DRAY” on the back in even bigger letters. This was so when an officer conducted cell extractions, jail admin would know who to arrest first if the extraction might be deemed inhumane.
Getting handed that helmet and vest designed to “keep us safe” was truly for the protection of the facilities regulations, yet being part of the SERT team was still one of the proudest moments of my life. I was part of a brotherhood now. It didn't matter if all 700 inmates in the facility hated me, or if the administration had a target on my back. I had a team to lean on, who were all taking the same risks as me every time we punched in for our 12-hour shift inside a concrete box with nothing but a radio, a pair of handcuffs, leg restraints, and some big fucking balls.
With that being said, this was one of the most dangerous, underpaid, and under-appreciated jobs I have ever done in my life…
Around the time I joined the SERT team I started rocking an undercut, the kind that if left without a product would completely cover your eyes. I always used basic, run-of-the-mill over the counter gel products. I'm sure a few brands can pop into your mind when I say "run-of-the-mill" gel-based. And I'm sure you can relate to when your hair gets slightly wet with that product in your hair, it fails miserably.
Now imagine being called down to booking 5 times a night to fight combative inmates while also doing the duties of a normal officer running a unit of 92 inmates solo, and providing countless other services only SERT officers are allowed to perform throughout the length of that 12-hour shift...
It fucking sucked and it was still my favorite part of the job! All that sweat under my riot helmet and the way it affected my hair, however, was not my favorite part. A good hour into my shift, or sometimes even less, my hair was already falling into my face. It got so bad that I would sometimes leave a pomade and comb in my desk just so I could re-style my hair after every cell extraction.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that the idea struck me, but it would have to have been on a rare occasion when I could actually sit at my desk and relax for a moment. I remember looking at the pomade and thinking to myself… 'this is complete shit, I could make something 100x better!' So that's when I started researching, watching videos, looking up documents, reading books, and looking into ingredients and qualities.
I went out to my local hippie store and purchased a shit load of raw ingredients and then ran to a local home/kitchen supply store and bought a small induction blender and a double-boiler. I ran into the house like a giddy schoolgirl on Christmas thinking to myself, 'this is going to be easy as hell... I’m about to be a millionaire!'
I went into the kitchen and started throwing ingredients into that double-boiler like a mad scientist who lost his PHD from conducting experiments that had absolutely no reason behind them. Needless to say… It was not easy, and I made a bunch of shit colored candles, great…
I worked vehemently for months on this pomade that I was determined to call Kraken’s Blood. I even left my job at the jail and pulled my retirement to dedicate myself to my newly formed business that is Barbaric Style. I eventually went to barber school and tested my science experiments on students, clients, and anyone who was willing to sustain possible exposure to radiation (just kidding) or any other crazy properties my failed experiments might produce would have my experimental goop thrown in their hair immediately!
Fast forward another year or so and I had just about given up on the idea of the pomade. After everything I went through and the pomade itself being the start of my new business altogether, I had moved on. I designed a new barber bag based off of a tactical assault pack, and that was going to be my new product to put me on the map.
But in the back of my mind, Kraken’s Blood was always circulating and it ate away at me constantly. That is when I started reaching out to other homebrew businesses and started asking for advice on where to go because I could not let this product die.
I was pointed in the direction of Flagship Pomade who I had previously discovered from my various research adventures of homebrew pomades. Me and the owner of flagship, Cody, got to talking and after a few months and multiple iterations, we came up with an actual WORKING product!
This was it, this was the product I could finally be proud to name Kraken’s Blood! It gave me the same pride putting that product in my hair as putting on my riot helmet and stab proof vest at the jail. And I honestly think it has just as much balls and durability as the officers who walked into that hell hole every day…