Bristlr: A Hairy Alternative to Dating Apps


Paul Murray, Reporter

Internet dating is all the rage. From Eharmony to Tinder, you are bound to have heard of someone that has used online dating or at least seen an ad for one. The world of online dating has become so popular that there are even specifications when it comes to datings sites.

Want to meet a down-home, tractor riding country girl? is the place for you.

How about someone of the African-American descent? You got it,

Maybe someone with your same religious views?

And if you are really getting specific, how about someone with a beard? Look no further than Bristlr.

“Connecting those with beards with those who wish to stroke beards,” is the tagline of this beard centric dating app that launched in 2014, and has since created over half a million connections and has reached over 100 cities around the world.

The creator of the app, at the time 28-year old John Kershaw, admits that the initial idea was a joke.

“I made a joke about how there are so many really silly, cliché sounding startups out there, that there should be one for beard stroking. On the train ride home I came up with the name “Bristlr”, and by the time I went to bed I had a fake signup page built.” said Kershaw

Initially, Kershaw claimed that if 100 people were to signup, then he’d take the business seriously. Within a week, 80 people were down for bearded town, and that was all it took. A prototype of the current app was created and pushed to numerous public forums such as Reddit and Product Hunt.

“I was on the radio, I was in print, I was on TV. Bristlr exploded and I found myself running a joke that had gotten way out of hand,” said Kershaw.

By January of the first year, 30,000 people had signed up for Bristlr. It had officially entered the dating app world.

“I found Bristlr while I was researching dating apps, and all of my friends know I like beards, so I decided to join as a joke,” said Bex Hunter, Senior at Ashland University.

The app itself is simple— Bristler asks if you have a beard, you select yes or no, and then you are able to match with those with a nice beard or those wishing to stroke such beards.

Once you have created an account, you can scroll through pictures of potential matches. If you like an account and they like yours in return, then you are sent to a messaging interface. Plus, an adjustable search radius allows you to meet singles from 5 miles away to 500 miles away.

“I think it’s interesting, it’s surprising how many people you can meet on there. And not just locally, from other countries too,” said Nate Hosey, Sophomore at Ashland University.

Today, Bristlr is enjoyed by over half a million people. It averages over 4,000 users per day, and it runs fairly easily like most dating apps. Most users come from the United Kingdom and the United States, but some still come from Brazil, Norway, France, and numerous other western European countries.

So if you are in the market for a new dating app, and one that offers a wide variety of potential matches with a little hair on their chinny-chin-chin, maybe give Bristlr a chance.

“The app is a little old school, but I guess if you really want a guy with a beard you’ll be willing to explore and learn the app,” said Hunter.