The story of Dollar Shave Club can inspire any budding entrepreneur. To put it straightforwardly, two men ran into each other at a party and conversed on how costly razor blades were. Subsequently, they developed a site that used to market razor blades at more affordable prices. After five years, their diligent efforts paid off. Unilever, one of the biggest FMCG multinationals in the world, took it over for an astounding valuation of $1 billion. Yes, it’s unbelievable yet true.
The Foundation of Dollar Shave Club
Ten years back, Dollar Shave Club was founded on January 18, 2011. The headquarters of this US-based company is located in Venice, California. The company supplies personal grooming products and razors to its customers via email. Every month, it supplies razor blades and extra grooming products for home delivery.
The Founders: Michael Dubin and Mark Levine
Michael Dubin and Mark Levine are co-founders of Dollar Shave Club. With their funds taken from Science Inc., a startup studio, they started their business on 18 January 2011. They operate in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Dollar Shave Club launched its official website in April 2011.
The success story of Dollar Shave Club
Since the time of its inception, the company has won the support of a range of venture capitalists. Seed investors offered financing to the tune of $1 million in clusters in March 2012, comprising Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Shasta Ventures, and so on. In October 2012, the same cluster, strengthened by the participation of Venrock, offered $9.8 million by way of a Series A round. In 2013, a Series B financing to the tune of $12 million took place spearheaded by Comcast Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and New World Investors. In the middle of the fundraising declaration, Dollar Shave Club proclaimed that it would grow its line of merchandise to incorporate a dozen of other products for men in the next year. The firm procured a series D round of financing to the tune of $75 million in June 2015.
The company’s most rewarding moment arrived on July 19, 2016, when Unilever plc, the British FMCG multinational took it over with an estimated valuation of $1 billion. It was entirely a cash transaction.
How Dollar Shave Club designed its Product Line
Currently, Dollar Shave Club provides three plans for the customers:
- “The Humble Twin” (five razors per month, two blades per razor, $4 per month)
- “The 4X” (four razors, four blades, $7) and
- “The Executive” (four razors, six blades, $10)
Every subscription is accompanied by an adaptable handgrip.
Dollar Shave Club did not manufacture the majority of shaving blades and razor handles. Instead, they are re-sold items of Dorco.
Other than these, the firm merchandizes associated add-ons like wet wipes, shave butter, and lotion.
At the end of 2012, Dollar Shave Club expanded its business to Australia and Canada.
In 2015, there was further expansion to the line of products of Dollar. The consumer packaged goods company incorporated hair care products, known as “Boogie’s”. The product line comprised hair cream, hair gel, hair clay, hair paste, and hair fiber.
Dollar Shave Club started employing publishing supervisors and content writers in May 2015 for Mel Magazine, a new site, (formalized as MEL). The website became live at the end of 2015. The MEL website features newspaper column content labelled by the firm as “men’s lifestyle topics”. As stated by Fast Company, though the website does not feature sponsored substance, the business prototype “relies upon being a branded publisher”.
Till 2016, the number of subscribers of the firm touched 3.2 million. While the company’s products mostly emphasize men’s grooming, there are women customers (around 20%) as well.
Dollar Shave Club formally started its operations in the United Kingdom in 2018.
Promotional Initiatives taken by Michael Dubin and Mark Levine
Dollar Shave Club launched a YouTube video on March 6, 2012, with the title “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”. In this video, the product line of the firm was explained in a short and snappy manner with an ideal blend of humor and sarcasm to attain the target market. Lucia Anello directed the video and Michael Dubin wrote its concept. The brilliance of the Dollar Shave Club brand lay significantly in the straightforwardness of the concept. The video may not be amusing for those who don’t use razor blades. However, for those who do, the video is a must-watch and an ideal instance even after seven years on how to introduce a product through video.
The bottom line from this video launch is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to launch your product line. A to-the-point video that aims properly at your target audience can work wonders for you.
In this video, Michael Dubin is seen giving a lecture in a casual and satirical way. Within just two days, customers placed 12,000 orders following its launch. At first, packing of the orders took place manually in a storeroom in Gardena, California, before shifting the storage warehouse and accomplishment to a third-party logistics hub in Kentucky.
Till November 2020, the video has attained a viewership of 27 million.
This product launch video by Dollar Shave Club achieved the “Best Out-of-Nowhere Video Campaign” at the AdAge Viral Video Awards held in 2012. It also won the 2013 Webby Award in the group of Fashion & Beauty and achieved the People’s Choice Webby Award in the category of Consumer Packaged Goods.
The FMCG company launched its second video on YouTube on June 4, 2013, and the title was “Let’s Talk About #2”. This video featured its CEO Michael Dubin once more and endorsed One Wipe Charlies. In 2014, it achieved the prestigious Shorty Award for the most effective implementation of Social Media.
Benefits provided by Dollar Shave Club to its Customers
Dollar Shave Club has garnered substantial fame due to the following reasons:
- It offers free shipping on razor subscriptions
- There are no hidden costs
- Flexible delivery dates make it more convenient for the customers
- Club Professionals reply to the customer’s queries
- There is a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Customers can cancel the order online anytime
- There are special discounts for DollarShaveClub.com members
- There are rewards and gifts on the subscribers’ birthdays
- All the products are manufactured with superior-quality ingredients
- There are three subscription plans for the members that are upgradable and downgradable, subject to the discretion of the members on any occasion
Customers become members following their first buy. Dollar Shave Club offers top-shelf grooming products that cover from hair to toe.
Dollar Shave Club along with its One Wipe Charlies joined forces with the Colon Cancer Alliance in an endeavour to aid in eradicating colon cancer. According to the statement released by the company, Dollar Shave Club was successful in contacting 23 million people in communicating this message regarding the importance of getting evaluated throughout the month of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness. The dollar also made a contribution of $10,000 to the Alliance and this was a part of the revenue generated from One Wipe Charlies. In this way, they invested a dollar’s worth in social sharing. As a segment of the promotion, the colonoscopy of CEO Michael Dubin went live on streaming.