When you’re a tiny startup, most people would advise you to not enter a market which has a large player with a virtual monopoly. But Mark Levine and Michael Dubin decided to do just that. They’d met at a party, and conversation turned towards how expensive razor blades were. Soon after, they’d come up with a company that sold razor blades at an amazing price point of $1/month. But they had one problem in their way. Gillette.
Proctor and Gamble owned Gillette is a $200 m behemoth that controls 60% of the market share in the US. With its large advertising budgets, it can get biggies like Roger Federer to talk about how their products give him the smoothest shave. What does a tiny startup do to compete?
Use unconventional language, for one.
“Our blades are f**king great” isn’t a tagline that’ll get past most ad agencies, but that’s what Dollar Shave Club decided to go with. In addition to that, they came up with a video which is unlike anything you’d have seen before.
This video went viral, and with its 19 million views and counting, spread the message of the amazing $1 blades far and wide. It helped that there was a growing consciousness that people were paying too much for their razor blades, and were on the lookout for cheaper alternatives.
The startup just received its Series D funding, and is now worth a cool $500 million.
“We have 2 million members that get a shipment every month or every other month,” Dubin said. “Men’s grooming is exploding and we think we have a role to play.” The site is now responsible for 13.3 percent of all razor sales in the U.S.