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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Boutique razors - the manly thing to do

What is up with the boutique razor craze sweeping the nation? Okay, maybe craze is too strong a term. But it sure seems like these trendy, affordable facial deforesters are popping up everywhere. Not that that's a bad thing. I looked at Gillette razor prices the other day and almost fainted, right there on aisle seven.

The first exposure I had to this hedonistic shaving-man plan was the Dollar Shave Club (DSC). I have to admit experiencing a certain guilty pleasure when watching their goofy television commercial.

Actually, I had planned to embed DSC's commercial in this blog but couldn't find a version that did not include their snappy tag line (which I never noticed on network television)...Our blades are "&%^$-ing" great.

Author's Note: I had a much looser version of the expletive in question (above) in the original blog post. Apparently it was enough to flag Blogger's own expletive filter. Let's see if my shift-key version flies...X

The DSC has, from everything I can tell, a tremendous product. If you're good with an old-school 2-blade razor (like me), they will send you a free handle and five blades to get you started, with an additional five blades every month thereafter for a measly $1 per month. That's insane. Even with the shipping + handling charges added on, this pricing blows even nasty, disposable razors out of the water.

DSC also has more upscale razors with four or even six blades. I'm sorry. Who in the world needs six blades on their razor?

I'm guessing DSC are selling a boatload of these to people that don't mind a little expletive with their product marketing. (The latest customer count I found for DSC was 300,000 monthly subscribers)

I happened to check my Twitter feed today at lunch. And there at the top was an over-sized tweet advertising Harry's razors. Browsing Harry's website, I was grateful for the apparent lack of expletives. In fact, Harry's seems to be aiming for a much more metropolitan clientele. I'm guessing Harry's customers don't lean back and undo their top button after a good meal.

The Harry's site news feed notes that their razor blades are going to get even better...because they bought the factory in Germany that makes them. Top that, Michael Dubin.

Andy Katz-Mayfield & Jeff Raider (Harry's founders)

German engineering aside, Harry's is not going to compete with DSC...unless it's on image. If I go with Harry's, I'm going to pay for the handle - $10 for something called "The Truman" or $20 for the clearly superior "Winston".

And we haven't even gotten to the blades yet.

Harry's blades are still a good value - $2 per blade if you buy the 4-pack (individual blade cost decreases if you purchase a larger package; 8-, 12-, and 16-packs are available). But still...they're not beating a <inferred expletive deleted> dollar per month.

Money no object? You can shop at places like Classic Shaving. Be prepared to fork over some cash for that classic shaving cream and horsehair brush, though. Cartridge razors? Look out for those north of $50 prices - and that's just for the handle.

So what's a guy to do?

We could all just say, "Forget it!" and grow beards. But I'm guessing there would be a lot of upset significant others. Or we could blithely ignore the edgy marketing campaign at DSC and go with, hands-down, the best shaving deal on the planet.

We're gentlemen; be gentle...

And lest you think DSC is all about shaving...

What do you think?


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