This is the eighth in a series of articles on synthetic fibers and how they relate to shaving brushes, including a brief history of synthetic fibers, their development, stagnation, and resurrection in the market place. By the early 2000′s the traditional shaving market was still a very small segment of the market place. A new form of communication was about to change that situation. The Internet has opened up the world of communication and commerce all over the world and that has allowed niche markets to boom. If you were a traditional shaver before 2000 you had some limited brick and mortar choices, unless you lived in an area that could sustained major traditional shaving shops such as St James Street & Jermyn Street in London. The Internet changed that situation by providing access to vendors throughout the world. International shipping allowed people the opportunity to have access to traditional shaving products that a few years prior would have never entered their imagination.
The Internet also allowed what was known as “Bulletin Boards” to spring up. This provided the first means of sharing data, tips, techniques, where to shop, etc. These eventually gave way to full fledged forums which allowed users to sell and swap among themselves along with all the other functions of the old “Bulletin Boards.” An Internet site called eBay® allowed a “virtual marketplace” to exist. This new site allowed individuals and small businesses the capability of buying or selling both vintage and new products all across the world. Another Internet site called YouTube® allowed for users to post their own videos and a certain individual going by the moniker of “Mantic59″ began making demonstration videos to show various shaving techniques, tools, etc. This allowed the new traditional shaver a wealth of opportunities and experience to tap into.
With all of this innovation taking place, the market began to grow for all traditional shaving products and the brush makers began to realize that several issues would be in play. The first issue was that if the growth would be sustained then the issue of demand would eventually outpace natural hair supplies. The second issue was that many new users would enter traditional shaving truly seeking less expensive products that would have a long life span. These new users were seeking to find economical substitutes for the cartridge and can products, and would only be interested in items that would save money in the long run and not move into an expensive hobby. The third issue was one that went back to the original nylon bristle toothbrush discussion in which, practicing Muslim and Jews (who don’t consume pork products) would seek a product that they could use with a clear conscience.  The fourth issue was one that was beginning to affect more than one market. The Internet provided communication on more issues than just shaving. It provide communication and information for another movement that has been building for years, and that is the animal rights movement. Whether you agree or disagree with their premise on the use of animals, their impact on society has been felt. Some manufacturers realized that there would be a strong market for a brushes that did not use animal hairs, just as in the cosmetic brush industry had experienced for many years.
With those things in mind, a few companies began to venture out into developing synthetic brushes was Men-ü. In 2005, a blogger had this to say about the early Men-ü synthetic brush.
The only synthetic shaving brush I could find was $50 from the creepily named Men-ü, but if you check very carefully, you can find `natural bristle’ brushes, which are plant-derived. 
Given time, the name Men-ü does not sound as creepy as the blogger stated due to the level of discussion their products have received since that time. The cost of the early brushes were high and any natural brush of equal price would best it in performance, but again, performance can be a lower level issue if the user has other concerns preventing the use of a natural brush. In fact the image for this article was from a Mantic59 video with the discussion revolving around the fact that the synthetic brush displayed was relatively new to the market and that they (synthetic brushes) were worth looking into:
Soon other companies would soon take up the challenge of making synthetic brushes using the materials and techniques developed in the cosmetic industry and the added competition would come from a variety of areas of the world. That will remain for future discussion in a later article.