Business is a lot like shaving: preparation is everything, the ultimate objective is for things to run as smoothly as possible and both ventures require calm and patience. Few people understand these similarities more than Messrs Andy Katz-Mayfield and Mr Jeff Raider, founders of award-winning men’s care brand Harry’s.
Old college friends and now business partners, the two men set up the New York-based shaving company in 2013 after Mr Katz-Mayfield had one of those lightbulb moments while buying some razors. “After waiting for 10 minutes in a drugstore for someone to unlock the case where the razors were kept, I finally bought a four-pack of blades and some shaving cream. It was a pretty frustrating purchase experience and at the end, I walked out with a bunch of shaving products that were over-priced, over-designed and branded in a way that didn’t really resonate with me,” he explains. “The next day, I called Jeff to see whether we could create a better experience.”
The result was Harry’s – a grooming brand whose fair pricing, clean design and commitment to social good (the company gives one per cent of its sales to charitable organizations, specifically in men’s mental health) has led it to becoming one of the most interesting and dynamic shaving brands in the world, and one widely praised for disrupting the existing razor-blade world order.
The success of the brand is the result of careful hard work and considered strategic planning, but, fittingly, given the nature of their business, also on a few lessons learnt from the daily shave itself.
01. Preparation is everything
No shave will go smoothly without adequate preparation and it’s the same when raising capital for your business. “Before talking to investors, prepare by coming up with a bunch of scenarios in which things don’t go exactly as planned and how those scenarios will impact the amount of money you’ll actually need,” says Mr Raider. “For example, what if your business grows twice as quickly as forecast – something that actually happened to us? Knowing that you’re prepared with an extra cushion can bring you peace of mind in less than ideal scenarios.”