Dollar Shave Club vs. Harry's

Added on by Eric Peckham.

I've been testing out the products of two exciting shaving startups who are offering razors at dramatically lower costs than the usual big brands like Gillette. Dollar Shave Club (LA) is a subscription service, and Harry's (NYC) is an online retailer founded by Warby Parker co-founder Jeff Raider. They are both trying to do to the shaving industry what Warby Parker is doing to eyewear--undercutting a monopoly/oligopoly that has set sky-high artificial prices by instead making product themselves, crafting a "cool" brand, and marketing it to younger swaths of the population. What sort of price difference are we talking? Well it runs me $25 to get a 4-pack of Gillette Fusion at CVS, whereas I could get a 16-pack from Harry's at that price or get the same 4-pack from Dollar Shave Club at $6 with shipping included. Any man who doesn't jump ship to one of these new companies is crazy. As for the competition between these two newcomers, it's tough to say, but it caused me to cancel my DSC subscription and jump to Harry's. Harry's seemed the slightest bit smoother and less irritating to the skin. However, that's mostly a psychological excuse to myself because I like minimalism, and their handles are sleek and simple.

The branding of these two is the main differentiator. But I think it says a lot about the characteristics of the rival cities they are based in. Dollar Shave Club--as its name suggests--comes across as all about the low price, and it's marketing is dedicated to a humorous digital video and social media presence (which has worked). It has LA's entertainment-savvy and developed a brand that comes across as cool/amusing to the everyday American. Harry's acts like the sophisticated (or one might say, pretentious) New Yorker, with a more aesthetic, stylish design that claims to be German-engineered. In contrast to DSC, it feels a bit more Art of Shaving than Gillette. I expect hipsters in Williamsburg and architects in Copenhagen would definitely both go with Harry's. I wonder what it says about me that I went that direction...

Have you tried either of them? Do you think they represent the broader difference between LA and NYC e-commerce ventures? Let me know below or at @epeckham.