The founders of Harry’s, a men’s grooming brand, came up with the idea for their mail order razor blades after a frustrating experience at the drugstore.
Andy Katz-Mayfield went to buy razor blades and found expensive cartridges locked in a case. He ended up spending $25 for four refills and some shaving cream.
He reached out to his friend Jeff Raider, one of the founders of the successful direct-to-consumer eyeglasses brand Warby Parker, to commiserate about the experience and the price. The two decided to team up on a company that would provide high quality blades at a fraction of the typical cost.
While there were already companies offering this service, Raider and Katz-Mayfield figured they could stand out with competitive pricing and very high quality.
Harry’s razors use blades manufactured at its own specialized factory in Germany. Blades and shaving accessories are available to purchase online, via a subscription or at Target stores, where the brand recently scored a distribution deal. The brand eventually plans to debut a women’s line.
Raider said Harry’s is more than just a razor blade company. It’s focused on educating consumers about how to shave.
“Lots of guys are never properly taught how to shave. They sort of learn through watching somebody,” Raider told CNNMoney. “We get a lot of questions from guys around ‘How should I do this? What steps should I take to get this right?'”
Katz-Mayfield still remembers his first shave.
“The earliest memory I have of shaving was actually at my best friend’s house when I was little, and he definitely had sort of like facial hair that required shaving and I probably didn’t,” he told CNNMoney. “I was like ‘Oh, I’ll just shave, too.’ I just copied what he was doing.”
The founders describe shaving as almost tribal because it gets passed down, often from father to son.
Realizing this, the company debuted a special gift set for Father’s Day with a plastic razor for kids. Raider said shaving with his son and daughter has become a “fun family affair.”
Katz-Mayfield said Harry’s also tries to present a different, more progressive image of what it means to be a man. He said traditional advertising focuses on a view of manhood that involves “sports or sex or bathroom humor.”
Harry’s started with an annoying and expensive experience but it’s grown into a company with dozens of employees that continues to expand.
Both founders realize just how far they’ve come.
“When we bought our factory in Germany, and we got up on this little podium and looked out to three hundred people in the audience,” Katz-Mayfield said. “These are people whose lives depend on this factory running and all of a sudden now we’re responsible for their livelihood.”
Raider said he feels responsible to his employees but said “it’s also a ton of responsibility” for them.
He said that unlike “working on some huge investment bank or a really well-established business, the success of the company is going to be driven by their ability to be successful in their roles.”