08-09-2012, 01:22 PM
#1
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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[Image: ScreenShot2012-08-09at43949PM.png]
This is the tenth interview in a series with the artists, authors, craftsmen, and vendors who make wet shaving great. Todays interview is with Richard from Tradere Razors

Stainless Steel Razors have become a huge hit in the wet shaving community due to their durabilty and stylish looks, and one of the newest stainless razors has made a huge splash: Tradere Razors. Tradere Razors are designed and crafted in the United States in Reno Nevada. Today’s interview is with the man behind Tradere-Richard Mason. Richard is busy getting ready to launch a standard bar edition to go along with the Open Comb Variety of the Tradere as well. These razors are not only well made but are beautifully crafted and designed as well. I will state right up front that I’ve been testing a Standard Bar for most of the last 3 weeks and it has taken the #1 Razor slot away from my Tradere Open Comb Version. I’d like to thank Richard for taking time away from his vacation to give us a bit of history as well as an update on what’s coming up for Tradere.

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself Richard. 

Let’s see- well my surname is Mason. Aimee and I will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary in October; we have two grown daughters, both professionals. No grandchildren yet, but I am still hopeful. We have been really fortunate. After graduating college in 1976 I started with Columbia Pictures in New York as an accountant, while attending law school at night. I ended up staying in the film business. Other than a few years in Los Angeles, we lived in New York and Connecticut. From 1983 to 1998 I worked mainly on the financing side of the film business, raising money for film production and managing the transactions we arranged. I decided to become a professor to give something back, so I went back to school to add a PhD in business to my resume and moved to Reno in 2000 to work as a professor here. I started Tradere earlier this year as an extension of my interest in shaving and, as I have always found business fun, as a way to keep myself occupied as I come closer to retirement from the university.

How long have you been wet shaving and what is your favorite Shave setup?(razor, blade, brush, as, etc)

If you count cartridges, than other than a brief unhappy stint with an electric, then I have been wet shaving since the late 1960’s. Now, I shave with everything from a straight to a mild DE. I am also quite a fan of some of some SE razors. As to particular favorites that is a tough question.

My carryon travel set-up is a Bumpfighter handle and the Twin blade carts from Wal-Mart. I have some straights that deliver superb shaves; I probably lucked into honing these correctly. I do like the regular Kai Captain for a replaceable blade straight. Some of my favorite SE razors are the ER Streamline, the older Auto Strops and the Wilkinson. As to DE razors, for current production, besides my own razors, I really like the EJ 89, the Merkur slant and HD, the Weber DLC, and the open comb side of the Ikon machined models. As to vintage, the New, the ABC pocket editions, and the Gillette 1916 Aristocrat with the bell tube handle are up there.

For DE blades I have been favoring the Personna Med and Labs, the Permasharp and the Super Max platinum of late.

I face lather mostly creams and favor smaller brushes with a bit of backbone. I have an early New Forest 2201 that is just a great brush for me and a Simpson 55 that gets a lot of use. Lately, I have been enjoying my 2012 B&B Rudy Vey LE with the Shavemac knot.

I received a gift from my son-in-law of some eShave White Tea cream I have been using lately that is working out very well. I never would have ordered a tea anything for myself. When I was a boy I was always given tea with whiskey when I had a fever. For some reason, I associate the tea with being ill. The whiskey, however, I associate with recovering. Go figure.


Where did the name Tradere come from?

I was looking for a name for the firm and something that conveyed what I was trying to do- make something that would outlast all of us. When I searched through a Latin dictionary “tradere” popped up as meaning to give up, surrender, or to pass on to posterity, the latter being the meaning we are embracing.

For someone relatively new to designing and building a razor, how has the process been for you?

Not relatively new, totally new to this. The whole process is really a blast and I am learning quite a lot never having made a consumer product before. And, anyway I really like doing new things.

Initially, I had a number of choices to make- as examples: copying something already on the market with a few minor changes or trying to redesign from scratch, machining a razor versus casting a razor, and stainless versus other materials. Making it in the United States or overseas was never a question; I knew I could find the talent here in the US to do it.

I opted to redesign for the both the challenge and the fun. It is more time consuming and costly to do it this way and folks may love our razors or not, but at least I know no one is going to say our razors are a copy of something else. We have a design patent pending. My motivation for starting Tradere was more to have fun with something I truly love doing than to make money. It has to pay for itself, and in time I think it will do more than that, but as long as folks are enjoying the products and I am having fun that is what is most important to me.

 What did you learn from the Open Comb Design and launch that will aid you in projects going forward?

As to the launch, I was quite surprised the first OC production run sold out so quickly and really was not prepared for it. So, we have more than doubled production this go around and am now prepared to keep production at higher levels. As we figure out the base demand curve, we will be better able to set production levels going forward.

I think the most important lesson I learned about design is that a product has to have an element of intuitive comfort, as well as excellent function and form. I have tweaked the OC head design a bit; we are taking a few thousandths of an inch, and will be testing it by next week. I will always keep trying to improve the products as we proceed.
 


Tell us a bit more about the Solid Bar Tradere.  When will it be ready for wet shavers to buy?

I was at the factory yesterday and the handles are just being cleaned up, they are all spun. The SB heads are being milled this week and next, the OC heads should be done by the third week in August, so we should be shipping everything before the end of August.

As to how the SB performs, everyone who has tried one likes it. It is not as aggressive as the OC, but is aggressive enough for a truly excellent shave. I have been using one for the last few weeks, including on a cross-country train trip with three shower shaves with Amtrack soap on a rocking train, and find it an easy to use, fun razor. I am really quite proud of it. My hope is that folks will find the razor as much fun as the testers and I have.



You are working on designing a Slant Bar Razor.  Tell us a bit about it and when can we expect it.  

This is a harder question. We have the geometry down, at least on paper; it is the manufacturing bit where we are currently stuck. Originally, I planned to mill a slant head. But, the estimates of what it would take in machine time to make a slant head through the milling process are just too high to make it economically feasible. The razor would become prohibitively expensive. So, the factory is trying another approach. They are milling a partially finished head flat and then physically going to twist it into a slant. Sounds totally bizarre, huh? It did to me as well. But, these folks have been doing great work and I should have some photos of their first attempt later this week. I am not sure that this approach will work. If not, I will start looking into casting a slant head.

What else is coming up for Tradere?  Will we eventually see other shaving items with the Tradere name on them?

The way I see it, our current MSRP at $169, although ~25% less than the Pils or the Ikon equivalent products with their $225 MSRPs, may still be hard for many shavers to afford.
So, for 2013 I plan to explore introducing a lower priced range. My goal would be to make something truly special that could retail for less than $100. For sure the head will not be machined, and I have no specific design yet, but the concept seems to be right place for us to go. Otherwise we will be continuing to work on making the best machined razors we can.

As to other shaving gear, I have a feeling we will be busy enough with razors for the next couple of years, so there are no plans now for other shaving products.



I’d like to thank Richard for taking the time (on vacation nonetheless) to answer a few questions for Nook Readers. You can order the new Standard Bar Head upon release at Tradere Razors or Bullgoose Shaving, with other vendors coming on board soon enough.

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 08-09-2012, 01:33 PM
#2
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Dave, another excellent review. Richard, thanks for taking the time to share this valuable information with all of us.

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 08-09-2012, 01:36 PM
#3
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Another great interview! Thank-you Dave and Richard!

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 08-09-2012, 02:06 PM
#4
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Wow, you have done it again, Dave. Smile

Richard, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I was fascinated with it from beginning to end. Thumbsup

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 08-09-2012, 02:07 PM
#5
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I can't even begin to imagine how hard it was to start this undertaking. Thanks Richard for giving back to the traditional shaving community and having fun doing it. Thanks to Dave as well for another splendid article.

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 08-09-2012, 02:11 PM
#6
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Well-done, Richard and Dave! Thank you both for your time.

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 08-09-2012, 02:17 PM
#7
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Love these Dave, great job! Thanks Richard for taking the time!

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 08-09-2012, 02:42 PM
#8
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Very informative and interesting...how things come to be..what is really involved and the marketing of same ....just amazing in todays economy. The sages of old ...said" Make a usefull product at an affordable price and you will sell it" "Sell it and make a profit and you will create a business " Richard added one new aspect in todays cyber world....COMMUNICATION and FEEDBACK..truly what everybody really wants...I wish you continued fun and success and we are ALL waiting with our credit cards and Pay-Pal so let the Products appear !!!!!BiggrinBiggrinBiggrin

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 08-09-2012, 02:57 PM
#9
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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Thanks for the interviews Dave. I really appreciate getting information directly form those who make the product. I look forward to the new SB, but I am also curious about his ideas for a less expensive razor. Keep the interviews coming. Clap

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 08-09-2012, 03:37 PM
#10
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Excellent review!

I love to read about other entrepreneurs.

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 08-09-2012, 03:59 PM
#11
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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Thank you both Richard and Dave!

I am excited to read that the Slant is being researched more closely. This would truly be cool to get in on for testing.

My take on testing is take some that know the past products (slants from another maker), some that have never used that type of product. As well as the experience in wet shaving (how easy for someone that has only been wet shaving less than 3 yrs, what about a seasoned vet, etc)... but, QA takes funding too Smile

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 08-09-2012, 04:04 PM
#12
  • Triad
  • Triad Razor Handles
  • Texas
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I enjoy reading these
Thanks Dave and Richard

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 08-09-2012, 06:28 PM
#13
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Great Interview...

Thank you Dave & Richard

Picked up a lot of new info,will have my eyes on the next generation OC

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 08-09-2012, 06:57 PM
#14
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Great interview, gents. Thank you both, Dave and Richard, for sharing.

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 08-10-2012, 12:52 AM
#15
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Good to hear the slant is still on the table

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 08-10-2012, 03:24 AM
#16
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Another fantastic interview!

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 08-10-2012, 05:26 AM
#17
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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Thank you for a great review. We have a better idea what is coming in the future.

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 08-10-2012, 10:43 AM
#18
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Dave, well done on another interesting and worthwhile interviews Thumbsup

Richard, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer those questions and offer us a glimpse into what goes on behind the Tradere curtain Thumbup

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 08-13-2012, 07:08 PM
#19
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Yet another Gentleman of the wet-shaving community... Great interview!

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 08-14-2012, 06:33 AM
#20
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Thanks folks for all the kind comments. Take a look at the Vendor Forum for some snaps of the first prototype of the slant.

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