Happy New Year Wet Shavers!
As we enter 2023, it’s almost hard to believe that less than three years ago, we entered a phase of life that many of us never saw coming. From lockdowns to material shortages, the wet shaving industry had its share of challenges.
2021 and 2021 saw price increases, supply chain delays, with new innovation, and several new vendors entering the market with the promise that the wet shaving industry would not only survive but flourish.
2023 already looks promising with the announcement of several large scale meet-ups and more new innovation. Let’s take a look at some predictions for the new year!
Russian and Ukrainian Product Shortage:
With the disturbance still active between Russia and Ukraine, it’s no surprise that these products will be hard to come by in 2023. Many retailers have banned the sale of Russian products and are no longer importing them, so once inventories are depleted that may be it for a while before we see them again. I did notice that Voskhod blades were still available in 2022, but may start going out of stock in 2023.
In terms of Ukrainian products, several vendors did not produce in 2022, although there are still several available for sale by US vendors. There are still plenty of vintage Ukrainian products on secondary sales sites, and companies such as Lezo are still in production.
Expect items to be low stock and/or shipping delays if you plan on purchasing items direct from these countries or stick to European/USA based retailers that have them in stock.
Comment from “Mantic59″ – reliable sources have just told me that Gillette is moving all of its razor blade production out of Russia (probably to India and/or China).
Inflation: Product Price Increases…Again
If you’re located in the USA, chances are in 2022 you paid more for just about everything. In terms of wet shaving, prices went up about 15% for software from 2021-2022.
Some vendors fought back by offering slightly smaller sizes and bulk shipping, but unfortunately when prices go up there is little vendors can do to avoid price increases.
Shipping on the other hand went up 5% in 2022 and announced to go up 5.5% in 2023 according to USPS’s latest update. This not only affects the shipping you pay to have your stuff sent to you, but what the vendors pay to have the stuff sent to them.
Combat the higher prices by taking advantage of free shipping from artisans and vendors alike, and prepare to spend a little more in 2023.
Meetups: They’re Back!
There’s something about being bottled up for 3 years that really makes you want to say “Let Me Out!”. In terms of wet shaving that can only mean one thing. A Meetup!
Expect 2023 to be the year that Wet Shaving Meetups come back in full force!
Several groups have attempted online Zoom based meetups which did get us through the pandemic, but there’s just something about getting to meet everyone in person, that really makes wet shaving fun. The ability to see, smell, buy/sell/trade products is also a huge plus. Having attended several large meetups myself, I can tell you they’re a lot of fun so try to make it to one!
Major meetups are in the works from what I’ve been hearing, so all of you new wet shavers will get a chance to experience something very special!
Want to throw your own wet shaving meetup? Check this out!
From only a handful of producers in 2012 to now well over two dozen, new safety and straight razors keep emerging every year! As more and more people enter the traditional wet shaving world, the more artisans enter trying to make their vision of the perfect razor a reality.
There’s nothing more exciting than to get a new razor in the mail. Yes, I’ve been guilty of waiting by the mailbox for a new razor, and I’ve actually left work early before because I knew I had a mail call. I’m sure there are some of you reading right now feeling the same way.
2022 had several newcomers enter the market mostly in the mid-price range.Expect 2023 to be no different as there have already been announcements of some new razors on the horizon.
Items that have shown increase interest:
Mid-Range Safety Razors:
A simple scroll in any of the major wet shaving forums and you can’t help but notice how many people are talking about mid-range priced razors. With product availability and price increases, many have turned to these razors and realized how great some of them are.
2022 saw several new razors in this category and 2023 looks promising with several releases already announced. Be on the lookout for razors from The GoodFella Smile, Razorock, Henson, Blackland and of course some newcomers.
Rocnel Sailor Adjustable:
This limited edition adjustable razor is simply on fire! It’s one of the first modern day adjustable razors produced and is one of the finest razors I’ve ever held. What started out as a collaboration razor between Rocnel and Barbados razors is now in its 8th version.
Every year Rocnel releases a new version of the razor, with a few upgrades from the previous version, noted by the year. It’s well made, polished and definitely collectable. Check out Sharpologist’s review of the Rocnel adjustable.
Expect to pay 10-15% over retail for previous year’s releases and 20% over retail for the current year if it sells out.
Titanium razors, brushes and other shaving related items have always been popular. It’s a rarer, more expensive metal that is slightly lighter stainless steel, holds a good finish when polished and is a tougher metal to machine making it harder to find.
Many makers make titanium razors: Wolfman, Timeless Blackland are some examples, with some newcomers entering the market in the past year. Best part about razors made of titanium, they retain their value. Rest assured because most titanium razors are limited and in high demand you won’t lose if you decide to sell later.
Expect to see several releases of titanium razors this year with some more affordable options.
Vintage Straight Razors
The interest in using a straight razor may have been at its all time peak during the pandemic. Many people were stuck at home looking for new hobbies, and discovered how interesting it would be to use/collect them.
Although still abundant on secondary sales sites, the noticed the prices have edged up about 15% for non- honed vintage models and new razors staying flat.
Based upon what I heard from a few honemeisters I know, the honing/restoration business has been extremely busy, so please be patient with your razors.
Expect the interests in vintage straight razors to increase through 2023, and possibly start slowing down in 2024.
Items that have shown a decline in interest:
High End 3 Piece Safety Razors:
It’s hard to believe this, but higher end safety razors are showing a decline in value and interest. There was once a time you could purchase a high-end razor and easily flip it for more than double what you paid just moments before. (Remember the Mongoose craze of 2015-2017)
The reasoning? They’re more readily available, having been around for several years, and easier to acquire which makes them a little bit less desirable.
Expect to pay 10-15% under retail for a high-end razor on the secondary market (as opposed to the opposite just a year or two ago) although several high end pieces have retained their value (such as the LASSC BBS-1, and Tradere Original) mainly because they remain out of production.
Although I purchased my “grail scuttle” in 2022, I honestly rarely saw any posts, or any new items featuring any lather warming tools. For those unfamiliar, a shaving scuttle is a device usually made of ceramic material that stores warm water in a chamber, allowing the lather to stay warm during a shave, while bowls/mugs do the same thing minus the warming chamber.
These pieces are not required for wet shaving in any way, but are functional and enhance the experience. Several years ago they were the hype but interest has since dropped in the past year or so. A few well known makers shut down in 2020, but we’ve seen several newcomers enter the market, so these pieces are readily available.
Expect to pay retail and minimum wait time (example in 2012 I had to wait 4 months for a Dirty Bird Brush Scuttle and in 2022 I purchased the SHD with no wait) (Becker Scuttle no longer active in production)
Notable items to check out: Dirty Bird Pottery, Schwarzweisskeramik Pottery.
3-D Printed Safety Razors
The concept of 3-D printing is really cool and the technology has improved immensely over the past few years. You can literally take an image and enter the right specifications and print an identical item right in front of your eyes!
There have been several artisans making wet shaving hardware such as blade banks, brushes, stands, holders etc, but when it comes to safety razors,the idea just hasn’t taken off yet.
Recently there was a blog post by a popular razor maker in regards to why they were pulling out of the 3-D razor market, and it’s easy to understand why. With high costs, to make a safety razor of the quality level wet shavers want, it’s difficult to do so at this time.
In general, the plastic and metal 3-D printed razors are not taking off with the traditional wet shaving crowd especially when you can get a high quality razor for less. Expect to see models come and go this year, but as technology advances and production becomes cheaper that may change in several years.
Personally I think 2023 will be the year that we see wet shavers reunite in person, with a record number of meet-ups and attendance. Be ready to see new concepts and new releases from new and existing vendors.
Price increases are definitely on the horizon, as costs for virtually everything are up year over year, but it seems as there is enough stock to go around so I wouldn’t expect any shortages.
Most of all expect another great year from our beloved hobby and continue to enjoy your daily shaving ritual!
Check out previous years: