You’ve probably seen the Dollar Shave Club video. It’s a great video, and by some accounts a genius marketing strategy. But does the “steak” meet the “sizzle?” By coincidence I received a sample of the two blade razor and cartridges late last year. To be honest, it had been sitting on my shelf since I received it…cartridge razors just aren’t my bag, ya dig? But since the video has generated so much buzz I decided to give it a test shave.
Dollar Shave Club – Refills For A Buck A Month? Sorta.
The twin blade cartridge subscription does go for $1 per month…plus postage and handling (p&h). That’s another $2. So you’re really looking at $3 per month for five cartridges. Still not a bad price though–it works out to $0.60 per cartridge. That’s closing in on double-edge blade price territory.
The other cartridges aren’t quite as good of a deal: a four blade cartridge subscription runs $6/month (including p&h) for four cartridges–$1.50/cartridge, still not too bad. The six blade cartridge subscription goes for $9/month for three cartridges–$3.00/cartridge. I found it interesting that a 3 blade cartridge–a la the Gillette Mach3–isn’t offered. The “M3″ is still very popular with the cartridge crowd and there are now alternate sources for the blades.
I received a razor handle, a pack of five cartridges, and an “Official Member” card with some additional information on the back. The handle and it’s cartridge attachment assembly is similar in design to the Gillette Sensor (and in fact the Dollar Shave Club twin blade cartridges are compatible with Sensor handles, and vice-versa). The handle has a little weight to it: about 0.8 oz without cartridge (a Sensor razor at 0.9 oz). That’s nowhere near the weight of a typical DE razor of course but not feather-light either. And I think it actually has a decent balance and grip. The cartridges, though compatible with Sensor cartridges, are clearly different in design.
By the way, the “Membership Card” says presenting it at any bar in America will get you a free drink. I like the humor (but good luck with that).
So…how does it shave? Well–for me–pretty f**king good. The twin blade cartridge is set to a fairly mild angle so you may have to work a little for that “baby’s butt smooth” shave, but there was no tugging or harshness that’s often indicative of a poorly made blade. No nicks, cuts, or irritation for me either. I did notice that that pivot design (the “rocking” pivot found on the Gillette Sensor, the Schick Hydro, and some other razors) resulted in a slightly less consistant level of beard reduction, but that’s a nit-pick.
Will it convert me from Double Edge razors? No. But all-in-all, at least for the twin blade razor, Dollar Shave Club is producing an acceptable product and a great value in my opinion.
By the way, the “razor blades by subscription” business model isn’t new. Raz*War in Europe has been offering a similar service for a couple years now. They recently expanded their product line into things like shave soaps and creams.