This is a guest article by Gareth Everard, a co-founder of Rockwell Razors. You can check out Rockwell’s Kickstarter campaign for their new adjustable twist-to-open razor, the Rockwell Model T, here! “If the product you’re selling isn’t a genuine innovation over what already exists, carefully consider why you expect people to buy from you.” One of the benefits of today’s hyper-connected world, if you’re the entrepreneurial type, is that starting a business has never been easier. There are avenues where you can connect and communicate with like-minded individuals in a click. If you have an idea for a new wet shaving company or want feedback on your new soaps, you simply can post on /r/WickedEdge or pop on Instagram and tag your photo with #wetshaving or #wetshaveloyalists. If you have a prototype you want to validate, you can join some incredible classic shaving projects that have launched on Kickstarter. There’s an incredibly supportive, ruthlessly honest, and passionately engaged community at your fingertips, ready to support your innovation.
Lesson #1: Innovate and Add Value
This is where you should exercise caution. The key consideration here is that what you’re launching must be innovative.
It’s no secret that there has been a significant influx of companies into the wet shaving space, many of whom are offering incredibly creative new takes and perspectives on the products that make up the timeless art of classic shaving. For example, take Bufflehead Soaps, whose soap recipes incorporate duck fat, to reportedly incredible results. Or you can look at Castle Forbes, whose pre-shave is entirely water soluble. Chemistry-wise, this is simply good logic when considering how many men are currently wet-shaving with oil-based, hydrophobic pre-shave oils. My company, Rockwell Razors, has been built on the back of an innovative flippable base plate system, which has made it possible to create the first adjustable three-piece safety razor. Beyond that, the Rockwell 6S is the first stainless steel razor to use a scalable manufacturing method (injection moulding, instead of machining), allowing our razor to retail at a fraction of the cost of other stainless steel razors.
That being said, there are a number of new wet shaving companies that are choosing to not innovate. For example, Rockwell gets “liked” on Instagram each week from a new company that is selling a safety razor that is readily available on Alibaba, and is simply repackaging this razor with their own branded packaging. It’s a shame – not because I’m concerned about competition, but because these new companies do not appear to be trying to add any value. Truly, if you’d like to start a non-innovative safety razor company, it is easy to do. But if you’re considering doing that, I implore you to reconsider. The thing about those safety razor “companies” that happen across my Instagram feed is that within a short while, they are never heard from again. Their businesses failed, because they didn’t add enough or any value for the community and their customers. Simple as that.
There is so much innovation yet to be unlocked in improving the daily shave for billions of men around the world – there’s so much potential value for you to add. Finally, innovation simply makes economic sense. The companies that have endured long-term over the years are companies that focused on innovation. I sincerely doubt we’d have ever heard of Ford Motors if Henry Ford has simply put the “Ford” logo on a horse carriage and waited for customers to find him. Same goes for Tesla Motors if Elon Musk had decided that he would bring yet another sleek, gas-powered car to market.
If you’re considering launching a company in the wet shaving space, I cannot offer enough words of encouragement for you to do so – starting a company was the best decision I’ve made in my entire life. However, be sure that you’re creating at least one key innovation in the product you’re unveiling, or don’t be surprised if you launch and are never heard from again, like those aforementioned companies. If you’ve found this article useful at all, or if you’d like to run a product idea by me for feedback, feel free to reach out anytime through gareth(at)rockwellrazors.com. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!