Lessons In Razor’s-Edge Creativity From The Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club launched to great success by communicating in a way that simply couldn’t be ignored. Whether you’re starting your own business, seeking a promotion, or improving your community, taking your creativity to the brink will help you come out on top.

Lessons In Razor’s-Edge Creativity From The Dollar Shave Club


It’s easy to feel like the window of opportunity in business has shrunk to the size of a Tic Tac; many
entrepreneurs long for the pre-Internet days when it seemed there were oodles of
products just waiting to be invented. And it’s one thing if you are a Zuckerberg-like tech
geek, but innovating in more mature industries can seem especially daunting.

So how do you take on a big, established industry?

One recipe includes
humor, web marketing, a borrowed business model, and a heaping dose of
creativity. launched last week, and in their first
seven days they snagged over 17,000 paid subscribers. Their hilarious marketing
video–produced for under $4,500–has been now seen by over 3 million


Check out their fantastic video:


Founder Michael Dubin (read Fast Company’s interview with him here) did a number of things to make this one of the most
successful launches in history. Dubin’s first insight was that he didn’t have
to manufacture and market the razors; he could sell the blades directly. He
“borrowed” a low-cost subscription model from Netflix and now offers his monthly
razor blade subscription service for as low as $1 per month.

Naturally, you’ll probably prefer their $9-per-month plan with better
blades. But by the time you reach that order page, he’s already got you. Never
run out, blades shipped right to you, save up to $300 per year. Brilliant!

Next, he used humor and the power of the web to market his product to
consumers at a fraction of the price that Gillette or Schick spend on TV and
in-store campaigns. And with his subscription model, he only has to market to a
customer once and then they are on auto-renew.


If Dubin only keeps his current pace (which will likely increase as word
spreads), he’ll have nearly a million subscribers at the end of his first
year. Assuming $5 per month as an average, this Santa Monica-based entrepreneur
will have a $60 million business in 12 months. In an old-school, mature,
commodity business. With no marketing budget. No salespeople, distributors,
retail stores, trade promotion, supermodels, or TV commercials.

you’re launching your own business, seeking that big promotion, or improving
your community, you can do the same thing. Focus on disruptive thinking. Let
your creativity shine, and bring your most potent and differentiated ideas to
the forefront. Communicate in a way that simply can’t be ignored.

Do something remarkable. Unleash the never-been-done-before. It’s time to
take your game to the razor’s edge.


–For more insight on creativity and innovation, visit

RELATED: A Startup Ad Pivot: Behind the Dollar Shave Club Promo

About the author

Josh Linkner is the New York Times Bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top 10 business books of 2011. Josh is the CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners