There is not a better time to get a close shave than Valentines’s Day…
Sending lots of lather and love to our shaving friends.
Happy Valentines Day from RetroRazor
More vintage valentines at http://7deadlysinners.typepad.com/
As only MadTV could do – though the Onion has a similar take on 5 blades in 2004.
Mantic59 is not affiliated with RetroRazor, the video(s) are used with his permission, and are provided as an educational resource.
Michael Fassbender, recently starring in Inglourious Basterds (and Band of Brothers back in the day) featured on the cover of the New York Times Style Magazine: Fall Men’s issue on September 13th. Photographed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. No other mentions of shaving in the issue besides the cover shot; Armand Limnander wraps up the issue nicely.
Thanks to Roberta and Shelby for the sharp eyes!
Scott Meyer has a fantastic shaving cameo in his Basic Instruction comic. Click the comic to read the whole strip and to check out the rest of his site – its great!
Every new business looks for ways to save time, cut costs, and boost sales. “As the head of a start-up with no money, I use as many free tools as possible,” says Chadd Bennett, founder of RetroRazor. Here are 10 free or inexpensive Web-based services that he recommends.
Every start-up founder uses free or inexpensive online resources to get his or her company launched. Chadd Bennett of RetroRazor, a Seattle-based company that sells old-fashioned safety razors, provided us with a list of the tools he found to be the most helpful. First up, he recommends a CRM application. “Until recently, we used a Google spreadsheet to keep track of the retailers buying our razors,” Bennett says. “But we just started using a program called Zoho CRM. I chose it because up to three people on each account can use it for free. Plus, it’s established enough that I don’t think it’s going to disappear. We only use it for our retail clients, not for individual customers, because we have hundreds of them and it would take too long to enter their information into the database.”
“Dropbox is a virtual hard drive, but it doesn’t just store your files; it syncs them as well,” Bennett says. “I use it to send files to my video producer. After he edits the video, he saves it to Dropbox and the new version is automatically saved on my computer. Dropbox is free for the first two gigabytes. Now that we’re doing a lot of video editing I’m going up to the paid version, which is 50 gigabytes for $99 a year.”
“I’m all about redundancy so my files are backed up in multiple places, on Dropbox and on Mozy,” the razor-company owner says. “Mozy is free for up to two gigabytes of storage, which is plenty for regular documents. I use the commercial version, which costs $4.95 a month for unlimited backup.”
“PortableApps is a package of free software, which you can download onto a flash drive,” Bennett says. “It includes a lot of popular programs, such as Open Office and Audacity, a sound-editing program that I use a lot. You don’t need to install this software on the computer you’re using; just plug in a Flash drive and run it. This way, I know that I have my software programs with me at all times, so I’ll never be in a situation where I don’t have access to the application that I need.”
“oDesk is a great place to find remote employees, like virtual assistants,” the Seattle-based entrepreneur says. “I have a virtual assistant in the Philippines who takes care of any small tasks I don’t have time for. And in the past few weeks I’ve hired an entire team, including a video editor, a technical writer, and a guy who will manage our social media, like our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts. This weekend we’re having our first team meeting over video chat.”
“Now that I’ve found Dropbox, I don’t use Google Docs as much as I used to. But I still use it for spreadsheets,” Bennett says. “Recently, for example, I asked my virtual assistant to do some research and find all the swim coaches in the U.S., because swimmers shave their bodies so I thought this could be a good market for us. I set up a template for her to use on Google Docs. It took her a few days to finish the list but, meanwhile, I could see her progress, and I started making calls while she was still compiling contacts.”
“We use Mailchimp to keep in touch with our individual customers by sending out a monthly e-mail,” Bennett says. “We looked at a lot of the other tools out there, like Constant Contact. But MailChimp made more sense for us because of the way it structures its pricing. You can send six e-mails a month, to up to 100 people each, for free. But we tried that and we almost got put on a spam blacklist. So we bought a block of e-mails instead; you can get them for as little as a half a penny apiece.”
“I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek, and I’ve realized it’s much more efficient and much cheaper to outsource the hell out of things,” the entrepreneur says. “Initially, my wife and I did all of our packing and shipping from the house. Then we became an Amazon merchant, and sales doubled. So we signed up with Fulfillment by Amazon. We own the inventory, but it’s stored in an Amazon warehouse. That means our product is eligible for free SuperSaver shipping, and Amazon does all the work to ship it out. We pay by the square foot of warehouse space we use, plus a monthly fee. Fortunately, our product–razors–doesn’t take up much space, plus, this has saved us hours upon hours of work each week.”
“I’ve been using Skype for more than three years,” Bennett says. “It’s beautiful–I can make unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada for about $36 a year. It saves me on cell-phone minutes, as long as I’m sitting next to a computer, and I probably use it 50 or 100 times a day. It’s also fantastic for international calls. It costs me three cents a minute to talk to my suppliers in China. Plus, it syncs with Outlook, so when I add someone to my Outlook contacts, the information is immediately uploaded to Skype.”
“This is my favorite service provider of all,” the entrepreneur says. “Whatever packaging is not handled by Amazon, we do at the Northwest Center (nwcenter.org), a group that provides work opportunities for learning- and developmentally-disabled adults in Seattle. It costs the same amount as a regular piecework shop, but it is a non-profit. Many cities have a similar program.” –Hannah Clark Steiman
Barely safe for work…If my mother in law saw this, it would make me a bit uncomfortable!
The original version of “Shaving Cream” was issued on Benny’s record label with Phil Winston on vocals under the pseudonym Paul Wynn, and as that name was also used by Bell himself, Winston’s version has often been mistaken for Bell’s, and has appeared on Benny Bell compilation albums more frequently than Bell’s own version. “Shaving Cream” uses a technique in which each verse suggests a rhyme with a certain rude word, but drops two beats before the chorus, which replaces the word with the title. The same concept was used in “Sweet Violets” and many other songs that Benny recorded.
RetroRazor and Finished Lines Barbershop were featured by Jesse Jones and Dino Delarosa for King5 Television’s Get Jesse spot on Friday, April 3rd.
The RetroRazor and the Straight Razor (wielded by Gino Reyes, owner of Finished Lines) were pitted against each other in a shave off. The faces of Orion Baker and Ben Gomes were the playing field; It was a close match – watch the video for the outcome:
RetroRazor vs. Straight Razor
RetroRazor: Faster, cheaper, convenient, darn close shave
Barber Straight: Slightly closer shave, community, perfect for special occasions
RetroRazor wins by a hair!
Precision blades are the hallmark of Double Edge shaving with a Safety Razor; as you can customize your brand to your preference. Many users try three or more blade manufacturers before settling on ‘their’ blade. Variables such as the grinding, coatings, and sharpness can vary the type of shave trememdously depending on your skin and beard type. This is why RetroRazor includes three types of blades to sample.
Here is a fascinating article about Personna American Safety Razor’s plant in Knoxville, TN. This plant is primarily producing Plastic Disposables for privalte label drug stores, but the segment about blade manufacture is very cool…This is the same company that makes the Red Personna’s, though ours are made in the Northern Israel plant. We also supply Korean and Turkish blades in our starter kit. RetroRazor is seeking out a domestic source of Razors as well for those who want to buy American!
“Personna American Safety Razor is a private-label supplier of consumer razor blades in the United States. “When you go into a Kroger [a Cincinnati-based grocery retailer] and they have a private-label razor, more than likely that is our razor. Our competition is Bic, Schick and Gillette, as well as other private-label manufacturers. We consider ourselves as competing in the overall wet shaving market, and private label is one aspect of that market,” says Kermit Bantz, director of shaving manufacturing at the Knoxville, TN, facility.”
skip a ton of QC things about plastic razors…
“The Manufacture of a Blade
Operators on the shop floor perform several inspections and quality checks throughout the manufacturing process, and it all begins with 3-mile-long strips of steel. ASR goes through about 25 to 30 coils of these strips each day. First, 2,000-degree furnaces harden the strips of steel at about 50 feet per minute. The strips are then cooled.
A strip from each coil goes offline to a Smart Scope for inspection. If the strip is out of spec, the entire coil will get scrapped. A statistical process control (SPC) system keeps track of all scrap and data from this point on through grinding.
Along the way, the steel strips are perforated. In 2004, the Knoxville plant had five presses. Today, to keep up with the increased production, the facility has eight. During the hardening process, the steel strips are at risk for stretching or breaking. ASR employs an inline vision system to check for these defects.
“Online detection is very important, because with 3 miles of steel, you can get a lot of bad product,” says Daron Roberts, value stream manager/production manager at the Knoxville plant.
To double-check the vision system used, an operator uses an offline stretch gage to check for stretching and straightness with a tolerance of about 4 /16 of an inch.
Next, the blades go to the grinding process to achieve their sharpness. Throughout the process, cameras measure blade height. Tolerance is approximately 1 /1,000 of an inch. Offline, an operator checks for blade appearance and edge quality with a microscope.
An in-house designed machine, called the Sharpometer, is used by an operator to check for balance of the blades—from edge to edge and front to back.
Blades then go through a cleaning and coating process. Sensors measure position of blades along the way and a vision system ensures that the coating was applied correctly and evenly. Blades are packaged in small boxes and wait for shipment to Mexico for assembly.
The test and inspection processes don’t stop after the blades are complete, however. “All products are shave tested annually and are tested against the brand name products,” says Anna Hickman, quality engineer and consumer quality manager for the wet shaving division. Hickman sends product samples to a third-party source for consumer testing regularly, as well as conducts in-house shave testing.
There are two lab technicians on staff responsible for customer quality issues. Offline, a scanning electron microscope at 10,000X to 30,000X power is used to determine how smooth or sharp the blade is and to look into customer issues. The microscope also is used to research the impact of different processes on the edge of the blade.