Dollar Shave Club: How to Launch a Startup with Creativity, Style, and Humor

5 years ago

I absolutely love hearing about startups, businesses, and work that people do that comes from them owning who they are and doing it with a sense of style and humor.

Today my husband shared a new advertising video that one of our best friends sent him that was released this past Tuesday by a startup called Dollar Shave Club.  

I am sure by the time I am writing this, many of you already may have heard about it.  On YouTube, the video, which was produced for just $4500, already has more than 2.6 million hits.  Their website shows that @DollarShaveClub already has almost 10,000 Twitter followers andf more than 11,000 Facebook likes.  Makes me think about the amazing exponential growth that we have been seeing with Pinterest and how fast other startups and businesses may become known in the future.


(Screenshot of video on YouTube)

In the video the very confident CEO, Michael Dubin, reminds us what the purpose of a razor is.  We (men and women) just need to shave off the hair and help us have smooth skin.  That is all.... As they remind us about how men of our grandfathers', great-grandfather, generations used to shave with simple blades and razors, it makes me think of how some of the best ideas come from stepping back and stripping down a problem to its most basic form.  That is the beauty of SPANX as well.  Starting with her footless pantyhose idea in 1998 and a lot of hard work subsequently, Sara Blakely is now the youngest female billionaire, as featured on Forbes.    

The Santa Monica, CA based startup offers monthly membership services for three razor types.  Their most basic, the Humble Twin, a two blade razor is $1/month + $2 shipping and handling.  They have two other designs that are for $6/month or $9/month (that includes shipping).  Note that at this moment, their monthly membership service is for men, but it seems that they may be looking into providing a product for potential female members.  They don't call it a subscription service because a membership is warmer and I assume makes their customers feel like one of their golf buddies is helping them save money - again, a great way to connect and it sure seems to be working!  Already they have had 12,000 members join since Tuesday (5,000 signed on on Tuesday).

Now back to the video... The way in which they present their simple solution for men's razors using humor is excellent.  It's not over the top, not trying too hard, and it's current.  Humor helps disarm skepticism and draws the viewer in.

I also appreciate the simplicity, style, and ease of use of their website.  The color scheme and content is relevant with a touch of vintage, is tongue in cheek sometimes, and fun.   

We have yet to find out what the future holds for the business, but it was great to see my husband laughing at the video.  I realized that with that first impression of this company, for now he and I (and everyone else who enjoyed it) will associate this brand with laughter, silliness, and warmth.  

I am reminded of a quote from Robin Chase's, co-founder of Zipcar and founder of BuzzCar in France, speech at this year's Women 2.0 conference that was shared on Twitter by many of the attendees (I may not have the quote perfectly but here it goes): "build companies that people write love notes to."  Now, that is an excellent goal for any startup or corporation.

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