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The Year In Review And The Year Ahead

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It’s the end of a year that’s been very interesting for both Sharpologist and the shaving industry.  I thought it might be useful to take a look back at shaving in 2016 and maybe even make some predictions for 2017.

2016 Shaving Business News

The “business” of shaving saw some interesting events happen in 2016.  The biggest was must be Unilever’s purchase of Dollar Shave Club in July for a reported one billion dollars (US).

Bevel started penetrating into brick-and-mortar Target stores.

In the “old school” wet shaving niche, 2016 saw a number of artisans quit their business: Strop Shoppe, Knockout Shave, Queen Charlotte Soaps, Tim’s Soap, to name a few.

Several large, established vendors (such as Classic Shaving) were sold to new owners.  Owners of some other long-established vendors have been quietly shopping for a buyer as well.

On the other hand there have been several successful crowdfunding programs, including Rockwell Razor, Grim Blade’s Scent Kit, and more.

Sharpologist in 2016

The most popular Sharpologist articles published in 2016 include:

  1. What You Should Know About Harry’s Razors
  2. Rockwell Model T Adjustable Razor
  3. Rockwell Razor 6S Version 2
  4. The Mr. Fine Superlite Slant
  5. Parker Variant Adjustable Safety Razor

Jay’s review of Harry’s was the most-read article published in 2016 by far: it’s showing up as one of the first results when someone does a search engine query about Harry’s razors.

I find it particularly interesting that the Parker Variant article showed up in the most popular list, since it was only published a few weeks ago!  That indicates a ton of interest in the razor (and deservedly-so).

Old school wet shaving got a nod on television when I appeared on The List.

Looking Ahead

I think 2017 will be a really interesting year for shaving!  Some predictions:

  • High-end razors from artisans will be more prevalent, now that OneBlade has opened the door to the super-deluxe niche’.
  • Artisan soap makers will continue to exit the business as competition stays robust.  Larger businesses will see more consolidations or ownership changes.
  • We’ll see continued (perhaps even expanded) examples of counterfeit shaving products, as more Far Eastern businesses decide that “copyright” means they have the right to copy something (without licensing).
  • Some reeeeeeally interesting products will be introduced in 2017, both “hardware” (razors, brushes) and “software” (shaving lathers), from US-based businesses.

What do you think will happen in wet shaving in 2017?  Leave a comment.


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

3 thoughts on “The Year In Review And The Year Ahead”

  1. Interesting article.
    A few years ago, Rudy Vey started a thread on B&B, asking how many artisan soap makers were making soap. I was surprised at how long the list is.
    Given that there’s much buzz about new soaps, many shavers stock up buying years worth of soap (I know this from personal experience 🙂 which has to eventually lead to a slow down of buying.
    YouTube shaving videos, Facebook shave groups, as well as the traditional forums all fed into generating a lot of excitement for anything artisan.
    The most interesting developments on the retail side in the past few years, have been the meteoric rise of Maggard Razors, which may have been even faster than the previous shaving rocket, Italian Barber. I wonder how some of the old reliable vendor will do in this environment. Bullgoose shaving has moved to the high end, selling luxury shave products, and West Coast shaving has started doing flash sales. It will be interesting to see how the shaving retail world shakes out.

  2. I am interested in hearing more about consolidations. To me there is “beyond saturation” as this has been shown in the soap arena. For the amount of wet-shavers out here it seems to me that we have too many goods chasing too few customers. I am waiting to see what happen between WCS, Bullgoose, IB, Maggards as I consider these to be top guys right now.

  3. Don’t know if this bolsters your predicition, but the Art of Shaving store on Walnut St. in Philly just closed.
    Happy New Year!

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