In 2011, Andy Katz-Mayfield walked out of a drugstore with a 4-pack of razor blade cartridge refills, a can of shaving cream and a $25 receipt. “I looked in my bag and realized I hadn’t bought a lot,” he says. “But moreover I saw this blister packaging and pictures of razors flying over the moon, and it just didn’t speak to me as a consumer.”
In fact, nothing about the shopping experience, which involved waiting for a clerk to unlock the refills, really spoke to Katz-Mayfield, prompting him to call Jeff Raider, a friend and co-founder of Warby Parker. The eyewear company has built a brand—and disrupted an industry—by selling fashionable frames for $95 direct to consumers and donating a pair of glasses for each one purchased. “I wondered if there was an opportunity to do something similar with razors,” says Katz-Mayfield. ”To create a shaving brand that felt more considered and a high-quality product that was reasonably priced but still had an element of style and design, which the mass market was lacking.”
Two years and “several physically and emotionally scarring experiences” later, says Katz-Mayfield, the duo is trying to do just that with the newly-launched company Harry’s. Offering razors ($10-$20), blades ($2 or less), shave cream ($8) and shave sets ($15-$25), the duo say they’re trying to create boutique-quality products for discerning customers at affordable prices, and like Warby Parker, through a direct-to-consumer sales model. The company’s philanthropic efforts also mimic Warby Parker: for every order they deliver, the founders will donate a blade or its dollar equivalent to like-minded companies.
“Our goal is not to convert people who are really happy in their shaving situations, but to give people who aren’t an alternative brand that’s respectful of their intelligence.”
And their humor. “Squeeze a quarter-sized dollop of shaving cream onto your fingers and massage it into your beard to soften, while you whisper a love sonnet (optional),” reads one step of the shave guide that accompanies the sets.
“We hope people who use the products have a great shave and feel confident about the way they look after,” Raider says. ”And, as we say, we want them to give a shave about the shaving experience.”