Any man who has suffered the indignity and frustration of having to flag down a store clerk to unlock the razor blade case so he can spend more than he thinks he should have to for a set of razor blades is a potential customer of Harry’s. This is why the chances are very good that, when a man finds out about Harry’s, he will be seduced by the allure of receiving high-quality blades at home at half the cost.
New York-based Harry's was co-founded by Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider in 2013 and owns its own razor factory in Germany since 2014. The factory, named Feintechnik, boasts a solid craft pedigree, and owning the factory gives the company full control of the production process, allowing it to make tweaks according to customer feedback.
Harry’s has completely disrupted the razor blade market, long dominated by Gillette and Schick, with its simple formula of combining high-quality shaving products with the convenience of home delivery at affordable prices. This alone makes Harry’s worth it for many men, but there is a lot to its products and its service that also make it a much better shaving experience.
- Harry's is a by-mail shave club targeting a more hip or affluent clientele than its competitors, selling slightly more expensive but higher quality items.
- Harry’s also sells its products at upscale department stores like Barneys in New York City, in addition to offering a shaving club subscription.
- One downside to Harry's is that they continuously ship new razors on a set schedule whether or not you need them.
What You Get With Harry’s
Harry's razors come in two styles, Truman and Winston. Truman sports the basic handle, which is offered free to new subscribers, while Winston is the premium option. Regular prices are $15 and $25, respectively. The subscription is based on the frequency of shaving, where the customer can choose from five to seven shaves per week, two to four shaves per week or just one shave per week. Membership is flexible, and subscribers can cancel at any time.
Pricing depends on the shaving frequency. For example, a customer who shaves two to four times a week gets a package of eight cartridges every three months for $7.50 a month. He can add two bottles of shave gel for $15 a month, or two bottles of shave gel plus a 1.7-ounce bottle of post-shave balm for $19 a month. There is only one type of razor cartridge: five blades with a flex hinge and a lubricating strip.
Harry’s utilizes its website to sell high-quality razors along with other shaving products at an affordable price. An initial purchase is usually a set, such as “The Truman Set,” which includes a razor, three blades and shaving gel, and sells for $15. From that point forward, blade refills can be purchased for as little as $2 each as needed or on a subscription basis. The shaving cream is a little costly at $8, but it is formulated to last much longer than the typical can of shaving cream.
Harry’s set out to ensure its razors and blades are always of the highest quality. To that end, it purchased its own blade factory. It is not just any factory, but a factory in Germany that has produced billions of blades in its nearly 100-year history. By actually owning the factory that produces its blades, Harry’s can maintain quality control and innovation that goes into manufacturing them. Its closest rival, Dollar Shave Club, simply purchases blades made by an Asian manufacturer.
One of the complaints about shave club subscriptions is razor blades are sent to you whether you need them or not. Harry’s recognizes that shaving needs are specific to each individual. It offers a Shave Plan that allows you to customize your product deliveries based on your actual need. You can adjust your Shave Plan each month.
In an age when socially conscious consumers are affecting business decisions, Harry’s is very much a socially aware business. It gives 1% of its annual profits to a designated organization, and it lends 1% of employee time for volunteer work throughout the city of New York.
The Buying Experience
Everything about Harry’s products and its website exemplifies simple elegance. Its German-engineered razors have a simple, understated design, but they feel substantial. Its website design also has a simple, understated elegance, which makes the product offering seem substantial. The time it takes to go from product selection to hitting the purchase button is minimal, but you may find yourself hanging around to learn more about Harry’s compelling story and its philanthropic commitment.
Once you click the purchase button, you are coddled by a stream of elegantly crafted communications thanking you and offering a virtual concierge to handle all your shaving needs. Before you know it, your shaving set arrives in the mailbox.
The Shaving Experience
It is difficult to review razor blades, because shaving is such a personal experience. Every man’s face is different, and every man's idea of a good shave is different. Some reviews give the blades a high grade, while others say the razors are just a step up from disposable blades. As Harry's is a fast-growing e-commerce business, it listens to its customers. Since it is the designer and direct manufacturer of its own products, Harry’s is always working toward improving the quality of its products. The only issue is how far it can go without having to raise prices.
Where Harry’s Goes From Here
Harry’s razor products are good enough for more than 2 million repeat customers. This takes a small chunk out of the $40 billion razor market that has been dominated by two large companies. Gillette has responded with its own subscription club, but it has yet to compete with Harry’s on price. Venture capitalists think enough of Harry’s prospects to invest more than $120 million in its growth.
A rival company, Dollar Shave Club, raised $75 million, with an eye toward a possible initial public offering (IPO) as a way to keep up with Harry’s growth. With its valuation approaching $1 billion, Harry’s may also be thinking about an IPO. There is also a chance of a buyout from a larger company such as Gillette.
In May, 2019 Harry's was purchased by Edgewell Personal Care company for $1.37 billion in cash and stocks. The media has reported that the deal is slated to wrap up in 2020.