The Ultimate Shave Match: Dollar Shave Club by an Edge

Last month I wrote about the upheaval in the shaving industry with the emergence of “shave-by-month clubs” that are challenging the way we have bought shaving products. At $18 and up, manufacturers could afford to give away the razors and still pocket a tidy sum. As I also reported, the market for razors alone is a “whopping $14 billion worldwide”. Ninety percent of all sales are coming from two manufacturers: Gillette and Schick. Success invites competition so it’s not surprising that the good folks at Dollar Shave Club (DSC) and Harry’s would emerge. It is surprising that it took so long–but that’s another post.

For all of us who aren’t practicing Lumbersexuals, who forgo the razor for a post-millennial grooming style this Northwest native likes to call “Yukon Chic”, this is good news. Why? Cheaper blades more often. Depending on your grooming proclivities and sensitivities you can either 1) replace your blade more often without flattening your wallet; or, 2) bank the extra ka-CHING.

But this is all beside the point. A cheaper blade is nothing if doesn’t cut the muster.

As part of my Movember venture, I decided to find out. I spent the month testing the upper-end products from DSC, Harry’s and Gillette, which recently announced their own version via a heavily rotated World Series ad campaign.

In each case, ordering was what you’d expect–kind of. Gillette cleverly off-loads the fulfillment to Amazon and others. (While I don’t know the terms of the deal, adding Amazon as a channel partner means they could get into the recurring business with minimal disruption and maximum speed.) Other than that each had a quick and easy to use online form, shipping was fast. Within a couple of days I had razors, blades and creams arriving at my doorstep and overfilling my cabinets.

And while they all provided a solid shave the real tale of the tape is reflected in here:


So what’s best?

That depends on what “best” means to you. If you crave the thrill of a motorized buzz cut and don’t mind paying twice as much then the Gillette Fusion is for you. If you want (IMHO) the closest shave that actually won my blade version of the credit card challenge (for those who aren’t old enough to remember, click here.) and induced a first-ever “wow” upon using then its DSC. Buyer beware; it also resulted in a hell nick one day. (I’m chalking that up to user error.) If you want a great razor that feels good in hand, has great packaging and provides a competitive shave at the best price then the tip of that hat goes to Harry’s.

In the privacy of my own master bath it’s about the shave. And, if I can get that at half the price then I’m a happy man. So for me the edge goes to DSC. Yet, for you results may vary.

Here’s the constant and why this somewhat silly, somewhat serious post finds its way to this blog. Recurring revenue models often afford us–meaning all of us–consumers more and better choices than we had before. As I stated at the top of this post, before “Mike” and “Harry” marketed razors via recurring models I had two options: Gillette and Schick. They charged me what they wanted and then divvied up the profits amongst themselves. Now I, and you, have greater selection, delivered where I want at a price that’s better than ever.

It’s a nice gift for all of us as we enjoy the holiday season.