The rise of subscription shaving companies over the last five years has been nothing short of miraculous. It’s not surprising, however, when the daily shave was getting about as expensive as gasing-up the car.
While there are literally hundreds of options of “alternatives” for a subscription-based shaving service, it is likely best to break them down categorically.
What are the Different Niches that Compete with the Dollar Shave Club?
Shaving tools are not all created equal. In fact, in today’s world, there are almost too many options in both hardware (plastic and steel) and software (soaps and creams) to choose from.
So, in an effort to keep things simple, we will break the alternatives down into classical traditional wet shaving and cartridge razor shaving. In order to make the list, the company must provide a recurring, replenishment program based on subscription. Otherwise, the list would be much too long for a single shaving blog post.
Cartridge Razor Shaving
Dollar Shave Club — With its quirky viral promotional videos the Dollar Shave Club quickly captured a massive amount of market share. Thanks to their runaway success, the are now the exclusive subscription provider for PacShave and DorcoUSA razors and blades. Dollar Shave Club boasts millions of subscribers worldwide and growing. Unilever is now the parent company of the Dollar Shave Club after having acquired them for a reported $1B in cash.
Harry’s — Harry’s came into the picture in quick succession and subsequent to the Dollar Shave Club, albeit with a slight twist to the model. Unlike the Dollar Shave Club who chose to enter the market quickly by partnering with Dorco on the actual product, Harry’s developed their own cartridge razor set, opting to contract with a German razor blade manufacturer. Their success has been similar to Dollar Shave Club and after multiple rounds of funding, they eventually horizontally integrated by acquiring their contract manufacturing facility in Germany.
Gillette — The unabashed market leader was somewhat late to the subscription shave club party, but after their attempts to legally squash Dollar Shave Club, they joined in the fray–a classic case of, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Gillette offers versions of the Mach 3 and Fusion brands shipped as a monthly subscription. Gillette runs their “OnDemand” service as well as their twist on classical wet shaving via TheArtofShaving.com where they offer safety razors, cartridge razors, soaps and creams via a replenishment program. The Art of Shaving was acquired by Gillette several years ago for some $60M.
Billie — Billie is a direct comparison to Dollar Shave Club, but with a focus on women. Their marketing strategy has been unique as well. Instead of focusing on the absence of hair, they have pushed to showcase women with long leg and armpit hair, understanding that some shock value may drive brand awareness for them.
Classic Wet Shaving
Wet Shave Club — There really is only one Wet Shave Club at WetShaveClub.com. The nature of the razors and blades in wet shaving does not provide the margins to justify an entire business surrounding it. Hence, the Wet Shave Club provides variations of soaps, creams and other soft products on a monthly or semi-monthly basis.
*Update–It appears the original Wet Shave Club has gone out of business, but that doesn’t mean we can help fill the void.
A very large number of online vendors cater to the wet shaving community, some are more successful than others. None of the others–from what we have found– include a subscription-based service.
Here at Shave.net and Razors.net, we service the needs of real men, providing a subscription-based cartridge and safety razor service at affordable prices, understanding that men shave differently. We also acknowledge that some men use both a safety razor and cartridge razors, depending on what the time, speed and need of their respective shaves.