How The Dollar Shave Club changed how I think about advertising, grooming, and business

How The Dollar Shave Club changed how I think about advertising, grooming, and business

Five years ago, I saw this ad:

and it changed how I think about
  1. Advertising
  2. Business
  3. Grooming

See, before this ad, I guess I hadn't really considered how OK it was to be yourself in business. But here's this guy with actually my sense of humor, making an ad and swearing in it. Yes, the video has 2,400 downvotes, but it has been watched more than 25 million times and created an entire industry. And it's all because of this guy, the founder (and former advertising exec) is his own damn self in the ad. I read somewhere that the ad cost a few thousand dollars to make, and launched the business into what ultimately sold for $1B to Unilever a couple years ago.

Not because it's a grooming company (they already had that), but because it created an industry and had repeat customers already built in.

Dollar Shave Club changed business, too. What this guy realized is that people don't really know how to reliably buy razors, but they go through razors at a pretty reliable rate. So if you could get razors to people before/when they needed them, that would be pretty damn convenient.

He solved a problem and created a repeatable business model that is actually useful to people who had previously been at the mercy of a grocery business.

And it is! I'm one of those people who used to buy disposable razors and use them for a few months. Why? Eh, I'd just forget! And when I finally changed to those razors with the removable head (for environmental reasons), I had absolutely no idea how often I should change the head. Standards of sharpness obviously weren't a big deal to me, so it could be months before I even thought to change the head. I went through a little pack of those heads about annually.

Or I'd lose them.

I think I'm not alone in my lazy grooming style. Sure, some people know this stuff, but I suspect this gap in my knowledge wasn't because I was raised by wolves (though I was, and their grooming habits are different, but equally valid).

But The Dollar Shave Club showed me that you should change your blades every week, and here's a fresh set so that you're forced to remember!

And it was this helpfulness that caused us to launch our own soap subscription box

First, we launched The Clean Getaway Club, which I talked about the history of in this other blog post. And then we started the single soap subscription service, where fans of individual soaps could get those delivered reliably, and for lovers of variety, we launched the soap of the month, where you can choose a category (or no category) and enjoy our selection of soap month after month.

Most recently, we launched the Badass Body Wash Subscription Service, since people also go through body wash at a very regular clip.

People often bemoan the state of the world as the fact that everything's already been done, and there are no original ideas. But here's an example of an old idea applied to an old industry, for totally fresh results.

Are you a subscriber to the Dollar Shave Club or any of our subscription boxes? What do you think? Can you think of other subscription boxes we should create?

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