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Launching a Wet Shaving Company: Lesson #1

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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) I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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5 thoughts on “Launching a Wet Shaving Company: Lesson #1”

  1. I quite disagree with this opinion.
    The wetshaving market is an expandable one. There is enough room for innovation-type companies like Rockwell and for companies selling standard more common supplies. These are the companies and the people sustaining this market and expanding it. How many people started the journey into wetshaving with a simple Chinese-made razor and then moved into higher priced products like the Razorrock? I’m sorry but its not innovation that is driving the wetshaving community into expanding, its simple and cheap products that introduce people to it.

    1. I would agree with you as well! Anyone with Knowledge can add value to anything…it doesnt have to come in the form of a product…it can be as simple as someone creating a value added forum or portal for which to educate the wet shaving community and then monetize it using several different methods…one would be affiliate marketing. The other would be to sell an electronic product (Ebook) and then there would be the model you all have chosen and that is your own product. So success can come in several packages in the wet shaving community.

  2. The corollary to Gareth’s point is that innovation should also add real value and not just be innovation for innovation’s sake. A case in point would be the Phi Razor, a so-called “intelligent” razor which, after lots of build-up and speculation within the wet shaving community, pulled it’s Kickstarter after two days citing “exciting” behind the scenes developments that it could not talk about.
    The thing about the Phi Razor was that it was not just a repack of some Chinese or Pakastani razor. It was, according to the Kickstarter, a microprocessor-controlled handle providing customizable skins, adjustable vibration and a shaving assist light paired with an interchangeable set of heads to support both DE and cartridge blades. According to the designers, they had gone so far as to design their own DE head and custom spec both DE blades and 3-blade carts. So, there was genuine innovation there.
    The problem, in my opinion, is that they went too far on the innovation front while not appearing to provide a genuine value. Both vibrating and lighted handles have been around almost since the invention of the modern safety razor. The microprocessor control seems almost overkill for such a simple application. Worse, the Kickstarter page went overboard on the “intelligence” to the point of proving links to the spec sheet for the microprocessor while giving almost no mention to the important part- how it shaves and why their innovation would actually improve the shave.
    Needless to say, the community was not impressed.

    1. Thanks Larry!
      Also, that’s a great point John. I think a joy of double-edge shaving is escaping the marketing gimmicks associated with over-teched shaving, including vibrating handles. This is where the value of Kickstarter comes into play – backers had the opportunity to vote with their wallets whether that razor should exist, and for now, they said that it should not.

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