Pete Karjalainen has had a lot happen to him over the past three years since we last spoke with him back in the winter of 2014. He successfully transitioned into work in his first barber in Washington D.C. and has now gone full throttle in the men’s grooming business with his own line of beard care products simply called Barber Pete. Pete is somewhat of a chameleon of sorts in that his colors always change in terms of the career path he is taking, but each have shined bright in their own ways, and this new one might be his brightest yet.
I recently sat down with the current Los Angeles native to discuss the concept of his own beard care line and how it came about, his incredible devotion to the Tom of Finland Foundation, if he would ever get back into his past industry and what’s next for this super talented guy. Check out why you need to know more about Pete Karjalainen.
It’s hard to believe that our first interview was three years ago! What has been the biggest change since our last chat?
WOW!! A lot has happened since that. I lived in Fort Lauderdale and had my own barber studio in the middle of Wilton Manors. I got engaged and moved to Las Vegas. I then moved back to Los Angeles where I’ve been 18 years all together. During all of this, I came up with my own line of men’s beard care named Barber Pete.
Tell me about your beard care line. How did all of this come together?
That was always my dream, even more so than running my own barber shop. First, I was working with this awesome straight bear daddy in South Africa. Unfortunately, the customs and shipping ended up costing so much that I started to look for something locally. Then I found this couple in Salt Lake City who helped me out. But I’m VERY opinionated in how I want my products to look, feel and smell. On the flip side, I had my favorite artist Chris Lopez design my logo. After all was said and done, the product looks, feels and smells exactly how I always wanted to be. But it definitely wasn’t easy.
Did you have a hand in everything from designing how it looks to the actual preparation of each product?
Which is your favorite product in your beard care line?
My beard paste. It styles and conditions your beard and I also use it for my hair. It makes it so healthy and shiny looking with a scent of black leather. I’m very pleased with it.
Do you think you’ll do more than just beard care when it comes to personal grooming?
The shaving products are coming next. And a few promo t-shirts with the Chris Lopez logo made by Sold Out Clothing.
Ever thought about getting back into the adult industry?
After getting Living Legend Award in 2012, I think it was their very polite way to say, “Thanks for everything, but you are done.” LOL!! I did my first movie in 1994 when there was no Viagra and back then they actually payed good money for each scene. Not everyone can perform 8-10 hours without Viagra. I did my first films under the name Eric York, back when I was this smooth young twink. Last few I did as a hairy mature bearish man with the name Pete Finland. I did my last film in London in the summer of 2012. No, I would never go back, but it definitely was an INTERESTING experience.
I see you are involved with the Tom of Finland Foundation. Can you tell us more about this?
I’ve been their official mascot since 1999. I’ve always been a huge Tom of Finland fan. When I moved to Los Angeles and met Durk Dehner (the president of Tom of Finland Foundation), he told me that I look like the type of guy that Tom would’ve love to draw. I told him that you and I are actually from Finland. He thought that was too good to be true- A leather man from Finland living in Los Angeles. I then hosted their parties around the country.
Last summer I hosted the Mr. European Leather Contest in Helsinki, while also modeling their clothing. I translated Tom’s personal diary from Finnish to English. It’s been such a great last few years for Tom of Finland. From a stamp to bedding, cologne, coffee, vodka and now the movie. I just saw the raw edit, It looks just AMAZING!! I came a long way with them, and being loving every minute of it.
I noticed you will be on the upcoming season of “Where the Bears Are”. Can you tell me a little bit more about your character?
It’s just a cameo. I’m a cop. Running around with my unloaded gun and bossing people around (I was born to play that role, LOL)
What are you most hopeful about with your career moving forward?
My ultimate goal is to have my Barber Pete beard care in every CVS.