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Five Years to a $ 1 Billion: The Dollar Shave Club Story

Having just been laid off, a New Yorker, Michael Dubin packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles with no job and no plan. One fine day an old family friend, Mark Levine, who asked,

“Hey Michael, I have a warehouse filled with 250,000 razors from South Korea—any ideas on how to sell them?”

By looking at all these 250,000 razors, Dublin recollect his own experience of standing in a line, seeing the racks of Gillette razor blades which are sold at $ 20. He finds the entire process of buying and pricing of razor blades preposterous .

Dublin saw an opportunity here.

Dublin cut the price from $20 to $1 home delivered. No hassle. No Queues.

Philips, Gillette and Bevel commands the high-end market of Razors/ Shaver by investing in research and development & hoarding patent rights.

Second rated players such as Schick and Hydro are facing tough times as their market is being eroded by subscription players such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s.

While low quality use-and-throw player such as BIC will also face tough times against competitively priced DSC & Harry.

Breaking the Monopoly of Gillette (70% Market Share)is not easy & penetrating thecategory needs more than just Product, Place & Pricing. What they need is a viral promotion, they got one when a bizarrely absurd video featuring Michael Dublin launched in 2016. The Startup got 12,000 orders in the next 48 hours.

How Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is Different from Gillette?

Subscriptions to Dollar Shave Club is the biggest strength of DSC.

Currently it has more than 4 Million paid subscribers.

Here is the business Model Canvas of DSC:

SWOT analysis of Dollar Shave Club:

Will acquisition by Unilever kill the Hip Personality of DSC?

Author is a founder of Marketing Weekly & an IIFT Alumnus connect with him here.

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