Raider, one of the brains behind Warby Parker, who changed the way people buy their spectacles has taken a major step in changing the way they shave.
(R-L) Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield, Harry’s co-founders
Jeff Raider, one of the driving forces and co-founder in Warby Parker, the online company that is in the process of revolutionizing the way that America, and who knows, the way the world buys their spectacles.
Working roughly along the same principal Raider, got together with his friend, Andy Katz-Mayfield, ten months ago to establish Harry’s to market safety razors, and they did so with a plan. To cause a similar revolution in the vast but previously unexciting world of shaving.
To begin with, Harry’s started from day one working on the same principal as Warby Parker, who adopted a policy of donating a pair of frames for every pair that theys sell. Harry’s have been following that same policy and have been donating either a shaving razor, or at least its equivalent dollar value to charitable organizations around the World.
When Raider and Katz-Mayfield decided to make their mark on the face of shaving, dominated today by Schick and Gillette, they followed the same path that Warby Parker took. In other words, identify a range of products that would fit the market, and not just set out to buy them off the shelf, but instead to find a specialist manufacturer who would produce the products they were convinced that the market needed.
Raider recalls when he and Katz-Mayfield first began to envision their project, they knew that in the long term it would be difficult to build it to the levels they expected, without having totally control of production, and that they should either establish or buy their own production facility. They even approached a number of potential investors, who, while they didn’t knock the idea totally on its head, suggested that they at least establish a range of products and make some inroads as far as market production is concerned.
For the next year, Raider and Katz-Mayfield focused on building up the company, raised a seed round of “a few million dollars” and officially launched Harry’s in early 2013. In its first nine months, Harry’s sold “well over” 100, 000 shaving kits — a razor, shaving cream and set of blades — and opened up a barber shop location in New York.
The duo eventually homed in on Feintechnik, based in Eisfeld, Germany to be their master manufacturer. Feintechnik are one of the longest running companies in the razor-blade manufacturing industry, in operation since 1923, during which time they have specialized in producing high-quality, double-edged blades, marketing their products through distributors and only in mainland Europe.
Raider and Katz-Mayfield managed to convince the board at Feintechnik not only to produce a few specific products for them according to their designs and concepts, but also because of the company’s flexibility of thinking, unusual in a company of their size and age. Feintechnik produce blades that suit the lower to middle range market, but also for the top end including five-blade razors, which have become, by far and away, the best selling product in Harry’s range.
Now, in a classic case of the cart buying the horse, and only just ten months after Harry’s sold their first razor kit, Harry’s have paid out out $100 million to acquire the Feintechnik company in its entirety.
Jeffrey Raider explained their decision to acquire Feintechnik as being for the necessity for the fledgling company to be able to totally guarantee their own vertically integrated production and supply chain, whilst going on to admit that to outsiders it will undoubtedly appear to be a disproportionately large investment but Raider and Katz-Mayfield as well as those who invested in the company are convinced that the benefits of being responsible for their own production, and especially product developement will bring tremendous benefits. Benefits that will be felt in many directions, and will not be long in coming.
Harry’s will differ entirely from the “big boys” in the shaving market, by continuing to follow a path of marketing purely online through a direct-to-consumer model allowing them to reduce costs and cut prices dramatically.
The $122.5 million that Harry’s have raised has come from from Tiger Global, Thrive Capital, Highland Capital, SV Angel among a few others, who are well aware of Jeff Raider’s entrepreneurial abilities, vision and unconventional yet effective marketing abilities through Warby Parker.
According to Raider, Harry’s will be using the remaining $22.5 million in venture capital for a number of purposed, firstly to to expand their range and width of shaving products.