By Jill Davy
Photos by Heather Kanillopoolos Photography
The Camaro Crash Helmet.
The Arkansas Waterfall.
The Achy Breaky Bad Mistakey.
Those are just a few of the colorful nicknames anointed by those who opt to sit back and volley their pitiful slings and arrows from the safety of the sidelines.
Yet there are others walking among us mere mortals who refuse to be regulated to unambitious obscurity or confined by the rigid shackles of social norms. Yes, these are the giants who disregard commonplace societal standards and fearlessly embrace exotic and forbidden taboos with such unbridled enthusiasm that they demand to be noticed, if not revered in awe-inducing wonderment.
They are the heroes who think outside the box. Or in this case, think outside the shirt collar. The history books will record his name as Al Durham, and he is the founder of Guy with a Mullet Landscaping.
Some brands have been exceptional at evoking emotion over time — Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Co. come to mind. Big budgets and brilliant, creative minds have served them well. In little ol’ Grand Ledge, we have witnessed the birth of a successful brand that not only checked the box of solving a problem for customers but nailed it when we speak of stirring a certain series of sentiments.
Durham created the Guy with a Mullet Landscaping Facebook page April 16, 2021. With what appears to be a goal of generating some extra cash to enjoy the finer fruits of life versus a full-time business launch, the page materialized with its first posting, appropriately enough, right alongside the blossoming spring topography:
hi i’m just a guy with a mullet who doesn’t have a harley.
what i do have is a certain set of skills that i want to sell to you, for money, that i can then use to buy a harley.
so contact this guy with a mullet to do all your landscaping needs this summer. i’ll do it cheaper and better than any other company around here.
are you another company around here that’s reading this because i keep undercutting you and stealing your clients? buy me a harley and i’ll stop.
With that, Durham set the tone for his brand. Did he know what he was doing? It likely didn’t involve weeks or months of planning, presentations, adjustments and concessions. In early July, local photographer Heather Kanillopoolos offered a photo session after Guy with a Mullet Landscaping started to gain some steam, and Durham’s popularity exploded. Guy with a Mullet Landscaping is everything we aspire lawn mowing and landscaping to be: A case of your favorite beer, a few swear words and your favorite cutoff tee to catch a tan. He toes a line most corporate brand powerhouses would fire someone for in the blink of an eye, yet that is exactly what keeps his fans coming back for more.
In relative terms, he’s pushing 7,000 followers on Facebook from across the country, he made enough money to get to Las Vegas for the Conor McGregor UFC fight (one of his early business goals), and — more importantly — he gained enough business to make a go of it by quitting his minimum-wage job and eventually hiring some help. A local insurance company purchased a riding mower for him, and together they partner to offer free lawn mowing to a few lucky single MILFs (Moms I Landscape For, obviously). With a nice amount of press from the local news stations, and a growing custom T-shirt business, Guy with a Mullet Landscaping is only increasing its stock and moving on up.
In today’s cluttered and chaotic world, Durham found a way to give us just the dose of what we need every day – honesty, laughter, authenticity and a healthy dose of mulletude. Are we witnessing the birth of the next big franchise opportunity? Stay tuned to this developing business-in-the front, party-in-the-back, local brand story.