Dollar Shave Club has been the buzziest company in razors since its first, out-of-nowhere absurdist ad went viral in 2012. Today, 1.7 million men and women subscribe to its under-$10-a-month razor delivery service. The Venice, California-based startup has since moved into shaving cream, aftershave, and even butt wipes. Now the company is aiming higher: to men’s hair, specifically, with a new line of styling products and a new online tool to match customers with the right products.
The haircare line, called Boogie’s, includes five different products for various hair types and styling preferences. The Boogie’s Match digital tool, to be released April 1, is supposed to help match your hair with the appropriate product. The tool was not yet available for me to test, but Dollar Shave Club claims that it will ask easy questions accompanied by diagrams. Do you want your hair firm, really firm, or super firm? Do you want your hair shiny or not? As a guy with kinda-wavy, kinda-thick hair, who has previously puzzled over gel vs. cream vs. paste vs. clay, the digital tool’s step-by-step hand-holding sounds great.
CEO Mike Dubin told me the new tool aims to change the way men choose hair products–a process that, for most men, is decidedly unscientific. “On the products now, there’s language that guys aren’t necessarily used to: there’s pomade, which can mean any number of things, and it does mean different things across different brands. They’re getting recommendations from friends whose hair is nothing like theirs, or from the barber who has a limited selection, or they’re looking in a store trying to decode from a sea of labels and colors,” says Dubin.
At $10 a pop, the Boogie’s products are in line with Dollar Shave Club positioning itself as an inexpensive grooming brand. The company promises to replace (but not refund) any unsatisfactory bottle of product. The Boogie’s hair products, like Dollar Shave Club’s shave cream and aftershave, are order-as-you-go (not part of a monthly subscription, like the razors).
By the numbers, Dollar Shave Club is far beyond startup: It ships 62 million razor cartridges to 1.7 million active members per month. That gives it a hold over 3.4% of the U.S. razor market. Dubin says the company made $65 million in revenue in 2014. The $1 basic monthly subscription offers a basic handle and five replaceable, two-blade cartridges each month; for $6 or $9 a month, customers get fancier handles and four- and six-blade cartridges, respectively.
The success of Dollar Shave Club is not that it offers the very best razors, or even the lowest prices. As Fast Company writer Bill Barol points out, you can get a 100-pack of straight razor blades for $1. Dollar Shave Club’s success is due to a mix of clever marketing and the decision to try something very different in a saturated market. Gillette and Schick line drugstore aisles with $25 four-packs; they get away with high markups thanks to an 85% razor market dominance. Founder and CEO Dubin was featured front-and-center in DSC’s first advertisement in 2012, a short clip that went viral for its absurdist humor. Dubin followed it up with another hit advertisement in 2012—this one a straight-faced promotion for butt wipes.
Dollar Shave Club’s earnest approach to hygiene has even attracted a fair number of women. Almost 20% of its customers are female, according to Bloomberg. Right now, however, addressing those customers is not a priority for the company. In our interview, Dubin sticks to the mission statement: helping men solve problems and solve them affordably. But that might not always exclusively be the case. “It’s a little early to talk about our plans there, but everything’s on the table.”