In 2015, New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs compared the prices of products marketed toward men versus women — a range that starts with baby onesies, includes scooters and other toys, and continues on to support braces — and found that women, on average, are asked to spend more.

It’s called the “pink tax” and some estimates say that women end up spending about $1,300 more per year.

So — what’s a girl to do?

Blue Tax owner Angie Frank smiles as she picks through the cedar tree in her Duluth backyard Monday afternoon, August 17. Frank uses cedar in some of her Blue Tax grooming products. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Blue Tax owner Angie Frank smiles as she picks through the cedar tree in her Duluth backyard Monday afternoon, August 17. Frank uses cedar in some of her Blue Tax grooming products. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Enter Angie Frank, a Duluth entrepreneur, who recently started an all-natural line of grooming products. Her company, Blue Tax, charges 13% more for its beard oil, aftershave and balms — and the extra money is donated to organizations that support equality.

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“I think in everything I’ve ever done, personally and professionally, I come at it from a social justice angle,” Frank said in a recent phone interview.

A few years ago, Frank started selling grooming products, made with mostly locally sourced ingredients, under the name Ron For Your Life. As she traveled to festivals and fairs, customers found a hole in her product line.

“People kept asking me for a beard oil,” she said. “You’re in Northern Minnesota, you’ve got to make a beard oil.”

A collection of Blue Tax grooming products are displayed in the Duluth backyard of owner Angie Frank Monday afternoon, August 17. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
A collection of Blue Tax grooming products are displayed in the Duluth backyard of owner Angie Frank Monday afternoon, August 17. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

So she came up with a beard oil recipe that is a mix of oils: almond, jojoba, coconut, sunflower, castor and essential blends along with Vitamin E.

“It’s grounding and earthy and kind of mysterious,” she said of the scent. “But also uplifting. I really like how the scent turned out. It captures a lot of levels.”

Along with the beard oil came an unconventional business move.

“I’m going to charge more for it because it’s made for a man,” Frank said.

Blue Tax owner Angie Frank adds a label to her Palm Balm in her Duluth kitchen Monday afternoon, August 17. Blue Tax donates 13% of proceeds to organizations that support women or other issues. Thirteen percent is the difference, or “pink tax,” for women’s products like razors and tampons. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Blue Tax owner Angie Frank adds a label to her Palm Balm in her Duluth kitchen Monday afternoon, August 17. Blue Tax donates 13% of proceeds to organizations that support women or other issues. Thirteen percent is the difference, or “pink tax,” for women’s products like razors and tampons. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

A 1 ounce bottle of beard oil, which is packaged in recyclable blue glass, is $18.08 — with $2.08 going to this month’s nonprofit, Juxtaposition Arts, a North Minneapolis based studio-gallery space run by teenagers.

Frank has found a fan in Brandon Golding, whose barbershop Deep Cuts, 1607 Woodland Ave., is scheduled to open Aug. 29. Golding specializes in short clipper cuts and describes the space as a queer-friendly barbershop that is inclusive and gender-affirming.

“When I saw the mission that was behind Blue Tax, I was fully on board with it,” he said.

Blue Tax owner Angie Frank pours Palm Balm from her mixer into a bag in her Duluth kitchen Monday afternoon, August 17. Frank leaves the Palm Balm in the mixer for an hour before packaging it in tins. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Blue Tax owner Angie Frank pours Palm Balm from her mixer into a bag in her Duluth kitchen Monday afternoon, August 17. Frank leaves the Palm Balm in the mixer for an hour before packaging it in tins. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Golding has been using the aftershave in his work and said it will be the shop’s signature scent. He is also open to carrying other local products. Frank opened her Blue Tax online shop in May, she said, and then quietly began rolling out her products. She is a company of one right now — mixing up recipes at home, labeling bottles at the kitchen table, and creating quick-hit commercials where a man chops wood and stops to say “I’m ready to pay my blue tax.”

Her intent is to start small and see if the concept catches on. Eventually she would like to make products that meet everyone’s grooming needs.

“Get up and put on Blue Tax deodorant and brush your teeth with Blue Tax toothpaste,” she said, imagining her goal. “Fighting gender inequity in my bathroom.”

Blue Tax info

Where: Blue Tax products are available at Deep Cuts, Adeline Inc., and online at bluetaxformen.com.

Deep Cuts

What: Queer-friendly barbershop

When: Opens Aug. 29

Where: 1607 Woodland Ave.

Online: Facebook.com/deepcutsduluth