- Dollar Shave Club is launching in the UK.
- Hot US startup offers low-cost subscription razors. It was acquired by Unilever for $US1 billion in 2016.
- Dollar Shave Club faces competition from rivals like Harry’s and Cornerstone in the UK.
LONDON – Hot subscription razor business Dollar Shave Club is launching in the UK, amid a raft of competition in the once staid market.
Dollar Shave Club lets people subscribe to low-cost, regular razor deliveries, undercutting the prices of the traditional big two players in the market, Gillette and Wilkinson’s Sword.
The company was founded in the US in 2011 and grew rapidly to represent 20% of the market by volume and 10% by sales before being acquired by consumer goods giant Unilever for $US1 billion in 2016.
The company launched in the UK shortly before Christmas and is rolling out its full offering this month.
“We looked at if the key proposition would travel into the UK – are the consumer needs at least roughly in line with how we’re serving our population in the US and the answer to that is yes,” Dollar Shave Club’s Europe general manager Bart Kuppens told Business Insider. “The habits of online shopping and online subscriptions are there.”
While Dollar Shave Club was one of the first to shake-up the world of razors, it has inspired a wave of other razor startups. It faces competition from New York razor brand Harry’s, which launched in the UK last year, and homegrown razor subscription business Cornerstone.
“In general we’re never worried about competition,” Kuppens said. “In fact, we welcome competition because that keeps us sharp and focused. We believe that if we continue to do the right thing with the people we serve we will always come out stronger.”
Kuppens added: “Only a fraction of people in the UK have established a very strong habit of monthly subscription of your daily grooming needs. If I look at the vast amount of people who shave every day, who shower every day, who style their hair every day, if you look at the very, very small percentage of people who have gone to a subscription model, we believe there’s still a very strong first-mover advantage to be had.”
Kuppens said Dollar Shave Club’s pitch to consumers is that it’s “trying to do is to help men become the best version of themselves.”
“That’s not just in terms of products, it’s helping men to take care of their minds and bodies,” he said. “It is also around what questions can you ask that you have difficulty asking your friends, that you sometimes wouldn’t even ask your partner? If you’re ageing a little bit and your hair starts to become thinner – how to deal with that?
“There’s a very big trend around ‘manscaping’ and the moment, another example, so: how do you safely shave your balls? That is not something you’d easily talk about, it was one of the best valued and engaged articles on our site last year in the US. You have a lot of people with a very developed interest to do that right.”
Dollar Shave Club has been working with social media influencers in the UK but Kuppens said the brand was also planning a TV, outdoor, and cinema advertising campaign, as well as Google and Facebook advertising in the UK.
The company recently launched new products outside of shaving equipment, such as face cream and shower gel, and Kuppens said this wider range would reach the UK later this year. “We need to establish our position first,” he said.
Dollar Shave Club is looking at further expansion across Europe, Kuppens said, but he wouldn’t name specific countries.
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