Dollar Shave Club: Marketing Gimmick or Real Deal?

4 years ago by in Featured Articles, Marketing Tagged: , ,

I think most Dad’s who shave would agree one basic principle: it sucks.

If you’re not a bearded member of the Duck Dynasty family, the daily (or for some of us, every-other-day) grind of scraping your face with expensive metal and varying degrees of foamy cream isn’t our favorite part of being a man. In fact, for those of us with less rugged genetics, shaving can sometimes be a painful and burning experience.

That’s why I spend a ton of cash on buying more expensive razor blades like the Gillette Pro Fusion Power, which are thinner and supposedly better for my wussy of a mug. The price for making sure my face doesn’t end up looking like Freddy Kruger: $32 for eight blades. No, that’s not a typo.

Despite the fact it severely impacts my kids college funds, I gladly pay the Gillette man his vig because if I don’t, I walk around with cuts and burns on my face. It’s not pretty and it’s a pain in the ass. Since I’m not a fan of strutting around with little pieces of toilet paper all over my face, I go with what works despite the exorbitant amount the company charges for its products. It had become my new normal.

Now, thanks to Dollar Shave Club, I’m reconsidering my loyalty to Gillette.

Most of the Klout perks I usually receive are not spectacular because I don’t work very hard to “up” the score. Just at 70, most of what I get are smaller perks of free mints or free hamburgers from fast food joints. But this time, the perk from Dollar Shave Club intrigued me so I actually ordered it. In a few days, it arrived in the mail with some blades, a razor and shave butter. Now, being what I’d consider an “old school” man – meaning I don’t wax, I don’t pedi/mani, and I usually don’t fuss with fashion in general, to put something called “butter” on my face took some convincing. But I digress.

No toast with this butter, just a good shave

No toast with this butter, just a good shave

I decided to put the DSC to the test. I had been a fan of its irreverent ad campaign and it’s really dialed-in brand voice. Besides loving their marketing, I have increasingly become more interested to actually try their service and products. Klout made that possible for free, so I said “what the hell.”

Let’s look at the products I was sent and my experience with each:

  1. Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter: Again, the word “butter” on my rotund face isn’t exactly something that excited me. But I figured I’d give it the old college try. When I opened the shave butter, it did smell a lot like many of the lotions my wife keeps in the house. That wasn’t building confidence. I squeezed it onto my hands and then proceeded to rub my face. Although it didn’t lather like my usual gel shave cream, it nicely slicked up my face. Although I was a bit concerned that when I put the blades on my face, I might end up looking like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Note: having a little one with Celiac Disease, I did notice that the shave butter was not gluten free and included barely and oats – and despite listing the ingredients, if you have Celiac or a gluten sensitivity, this isn’t for you. I hope DSC will change their packaging to include this warning. Retail Price: $8 -not exactly cheap.
  2. The 4X Razor: When I pulled out this bad boy, it looked a lot like the Gillette I had become accustomed to. I am sure that’s by design. The razor was nice and well built. I’d recommend it but also found some drawbacks on this model – one of three that DSC offers its customers. The chief drawbacks for me were two-fold: the small length of the razor and it’s too active, 90-degree head. Now, perhaps I’m just shave science ignorant but with a head that pivots too much, it doesn’t feel like I control the razor or its direction enough. The head also snaps back quite a bit and it left me feeling a little concerned. DSC promotes this as the “Lovers Blade” because it can be used by both men and women. While men and women may be equal in almost everything, shaving isn’t one and perhaps their other razors are more in tune with just what a man needs, dunno. The handle was also a bit danti for my liking. Yes, length does matter – at least with razors.
  3. The 4X Razor Blades: Built like many of the common multi-blade razors these days, the 4X blades did a very nice job on my three day growth. Working in conjunction with the shave butter, the blades glided over my beard and did a nice job and gave me a very close shave. They include a lubricating strip on the top and the shave was easy and painless. I really didn’t notice a difference between these, which retail for $6 a month for four blades, and the blades usually spend almost three times as much on. Well played Dollar Shave Club, well played.

So there you have it. My quick experience with the Dollar Shave Club. So the question is: did they get my business?

The X4 razor system from DSC

The X4 razor system from DSC

Although I am opting to upgrade to the more super-duper Executive razor, my experience with the trial pack Dollar Shave Club sent me has me convinced. I’m going to give it a run and see how it goes. Who doesn’t like a nice, close shave at almost 1/3 the cost? I like the way the products worked and I love the brand voice and how the company operates. In many ways, it reminds me of Warby Parker but without any pretense. I love that brand and, after one shave, I’ve become a Dollars Shave Club member.

Will I buy the $8 Shave Butter? Not sure I’m there yet.

What do you shave with? Would you consider the Dollar Shave Club?

Disclosure: This post was prompted by a free sample of Dollar Shave Club’s products sent via Klout.

This post originally appeared at Every Other Thursday.




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