05-12-2019, 04:05 PM
#21
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You’re the pro and would know.

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 05-12-2019, 04:15 PM
#22
  • norton
  • Member
  • The Alien Nation
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Indeed it seems the marketplace is overflowing.  I also agree about the social media thing, as much as I personally don't care for it. 

Supply and Rockwell are both good at this, and have products that hit the sub 100.00 sweet spot.  They also encourage reviews by emailing offers for 10 bucks off your next order in exchange for a review, and - they ship direct for free.  That model didn't exist even 4 years ago, but based on the number of reviews they have, it seems to be working.  Perhaps a new generation of folks obsessed with this shaving 'hobby' is brewing. 

Me, I tend to go in fits and starts.  I'll buy a bunch of stuff, then chill for a bit to see how it performs.  Sell off what doesn't work for me, rinse, repeat. 

However, when a new razor is priced like the Janus example above, I will wait and see how well it is actually executed.

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 05-12-2019, 04:55 PM
#23
  • Garb
  • Senior Member
  • Oregon
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About 4-5 years ago I got kind of burned out with all the wet shaving hype after I'd been doing it for 10 years. I just had the kit I needed and didn't need to burn any more cash flowing in that direction. I still was using DE kit but had all I could handle.

Last year I was running low on soaps, a crime in itself I realize, but none the less, I searched the forum and found quite a few artisans were out and up front with great products. I think products run their course and when it's time to replace or upgrade a lot of the same people will come out again. 

Now with that said, there are plenty of people that are just not aware of the art of shaving like we are. I was pleased to show a buddy the benefits of a great shave and he didn't go hog wild buying products but did drop some serious coin on what he thought he needed. (wished he would have asked me first but, he loves his r41 shaver) Go figure. Never wet shaved then goes that route. Good going buddy.

I remember when Bullgoose started up while I was with B&B, it was an awesome place  to finally find everything I needed, and remains tops on my list, (thank you very much sir).   

I just believe that the economy has been wildly changing these past few years and people are watching their cash flow more than ever before.

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 05-12-2019, 08:26 PM
#24
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I'm not so sure that is accurate.  You mentioned the Janus razor as an example of a new product that didn't "wow" the market.  Maybe it's because the razor just wasn't that great.  I would have to say that I have sensed a great deal of excitement over the new offerings from Karve Razors.  And the open comb version has definitely gotten my attention.  But I have seen several threads devoted to just Karve razors.  I'd say that equates to excitement.  Of course, if that is the exception and not the rule then what you say may be true.  But I've also seen a great deal of excitement over their aluminum and stainless offerings that are not yet available to the general public.  I would venture to guess that the lack of excitement has more to do with what some others have already said which is products that aren't really all that different from what is currently available as well as the high cost of some, if not a lot, of the new offerings.  I know that when I see prices that are well over $125, I begin to tune it out.  And with so many excellent specimens of vintage razors floating around out there at prices that are often a fraction of the cost of a new razor, you have to ask yourself, why bother?  My favorite razor is a Gillette New Deluxe.  Nothing shaves as smooth on my face.  I stick it on a modern handle and voila.  And I was able to find two of them where the price of each was about half of what a new Karve goes for.  And the Karves are not all that expensive.  I am not promoting their razors.  I don't even have one yet.  But I'm just using it as an example of a new offering that is both attracting a fair amount of attention and also happens to be fairly reasonably priced.

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 05-12-2019, 11:28 PM
#25
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As I only jumped in around 2013 to this hobby, I will echo some of the other comments about the availability of products now compared to then. I recall when Cobra razors were all the rave on the Market and how excited everyone was when the Mongoose came out. Up until perhaps the last 5 years there was nowhere near the volume of new introductions into the market for hardware or software so it was very easy for everyone to get excited about somethig new and fill forums with buzz.

Nowadays, how many news soaps are coming out on a monthly basis or new razors in a year? This flow of new products dilutes the buzz and excitement as there is simply more to explore and everyone won't/can't spread their energy or budgets across every possible new avenue.

IMHO, the excitement still remains for razors under the $300 and absolutely under the $100-150 range as there are plenty of posts across forums about the pending release of certain products.

Software on the other hand, isn't catching much traction/attention because there are too many new artisans/vendors compared to 6 years ago.

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 05-13-2019, 01:21 AM
#26
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(05-12-2019, 11:23 AM)bullgoose Wrote: At the risk of sounding like the get off my lawn guy, the golden era of wet shaving has long passed. Some of you may disagree and point to the fact that there are more products available than ever before from artisan soaps to custom brushes to stainless steel razors. In fact, it seems as if there are new products every single day. This is indisputable. It is also the problem.  How so you ask?

Nobody gets excited about anything anymore. After several years of in your face hucksters churning out new products at a dizzying pace, wet shavers as a whole (which is still a fairly small market) have simply grown numb to it.  There is no longer great anticipation for a product release and nothing seems to move the needle anymore. 

This point was really driven home recently with the Janus razor. Several years ago, a remake of the toggle (especially a stainless steel version) would have caused wet shavers to soil themselves. Janus has been working on this project for about two years and, they are finally close to making it a reality. Despite this, all I hear is crickets.
I think this point, Phil, is the real crux and I agree. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has been jumping on the Wet-Shave Meat Train. I can't tell you the number of soaps that I have tried which are simply crap. The number of true, educated soap-makers has actually diminished. I Coloniali, WSO, Vintage AoS, Figaro, Yardley, to name a few.
It seems that flashy packaging and ridiculously, complicated scents and fancy-schmancy names are the order of the day. 50% junk being released. (or more!) That, in and of itself, is definitely turning off a lot of us wet-shaving enthusiasts, including myself, from trying new products.

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 05-13-2019, 06:58 AM
#27
  • SCOV
  • Senior Member
  • Minnesota
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For me, the "thrill" has diminishing returns plus frequently matches performance improvements or vendor service.

Big thrill from my first purchases (EJ DE89 and EJ Best Badger).  Big thrill buying direct for custom made brush and small vendor made razor (Cadman and Seygus).  I still can have high excitement on purchases (my recent first Varlet/Everset for example).  Same day shipping priority mail and friendly emails adds to the excitement.

I am happy with the performance of my shaving gear.  The next razor or brush purchase will be "emotional" as opposed to a gigantic leap in performance.  The next razor or brush purchase will probably be from favorite suppliers.

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 05-13-2019, 08:03 AM
#28
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(05-12-2019, 04:55 PM)Garb Wrote: About 4-5 years ago I got kind of burned out with all the wet shaving hype after I'd been doing it for 10 years. I just had the kit I needed and didn't need to burn any more cash flowing in that direction. I still was using DE kit but had all I could handle.

Last year I was running low on soaps, a crime in itself I realize, but none the less, I searched the forum and found quite a few artisans were out and up front with great products. I think products run their course and when it's time to replace or upgrade a lot of the same people will come out again. 

Now with that said, there are plenty of people that are just not aware of the art of shaving like we are. I was pleased to show a buddy the benefits of a great shave and he didn't go hog wild buying products but did drop some serious coin on what he thought he needed. (wished he would have asked me first but, he loves his r41 shaver) Go figure. Never wet shaved then goes that route. Good going buddy.

I remember when Bullgoose started up while I was with B&B, it was an awesome place  to finally find everything I needed, and remains tops on my list, (thank you very much sir).   

I just believe that the economy has been wildly changing these past few years and people are watching their cash flow more than ever before.

Those old days at B&B were a great time for wetshaving. Enthusiasm seemed at an all time high.

I agree that the economy is partly to blame for the slow down. I cannot believe how many commercial spaces are vacant right now...businesses going under are outpacing new businesses...at least around here.

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 05-13-2019, 08:05 AM
#29
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(05-13-2019, 01:21 AM)primotenore Wrote: [
I think this point, Phil, is the real crux and I agree. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has been jumping on the Wet-Shave Meat Train. I can't tell you the number of soaps that I have tried which are simply crap. The number of true, educated soap-makers has actually diminished. I Coloniali, WSO, Vintage AoS, Figaro, Yardley, to name a few.
It seems that flashy packaging and ridiculously, complicated scents and fancy-schmancy names are the order of the day. 50% junk being released. (or more!) That, in and of itself, is definitely turning off a lot of us wet-shaving enthusiasts, including myself, from trying new products.


Yes, I completely agree.

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 05-13-2019, 08:07 AM
#30
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(05-12-2019, 11:28 PM)hillbillyreverend Wrote: As I only jumped in around 2013 to this hobby, I will echo some of the other comments about the availability of products now compared to then.  I recall when Cobra razors were all the rave on the Market and how excited everyone was when the Mongoose came out.     Up until perhaps the last 5 years there was nowhere near the volume of new introductions into the market for hardware or software so it was very easy for everyone to get excited about somethig new and fill forums with buzz.

Nowadays, how many news soaps are coming out on a monthly basis or new razors in a year?    This flow of new products dilutes the buzz and excitement as there is simply more to explore and everyone won't/can't spread their energy or budgets across every possible new avenue.

IMHO, the excitement still remains for razors under the $300 and absolutely under the $100-150 range as there are plenty of posts across forums about the pending release of certain products.    

Software on the other hand, isn't catching much traction/attention because there are too many new artisans/vendors compared to 6 years ago.

I think the $100 to $150 range is still a sweet spot but, anything over $150 is a much harder sell these days.

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 05-13-2019, 08:15 AM
#31
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So what is the next 12-18 months going to look like? A few of these guys quit jobs, built warehouses and even moved.

My feeling is that most will need to go back to a full time job unless they find a spot that allows them to move a ton of units at small margins. Just don't think making a $24 tub of soap gets you where it looked like 2 years ago may have.

There is allot of resistance from older shavers about places like Ebay and Amazon being used by vendors. I know months ago Blackland indicated they were going to Amazon but only looks like the dart made it's way there.

Stirling is expanding their workspace but I find Stirling is in that sweet spot of a good product for a small amount of money and should weather the tightning with that small market farmers market vibe.

Sent from my Samsung S8+

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 05-13-2019, 01:36 PM
#32
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(05-13-2019, 08:15 AM)jaxstraww Wrote: So what is the next 12-18 months going to look like? A few of these guys quit jobs, built warehouses and even moved.

My feeling is that most will need to go back to a full time job unless they find a spot that allows them to move a ton of units at small margins. Just don't think making a $24 tub of soap gets you where it looked like 2 years ago may have.

There is allot of resistance from older shavers about places like Ebay and Amazon being used by vendors. I know months ago Blackland indicated they were going to Amazon but only looks like the dart made it's way there.

Stirling is expanding their workspace but I find Stirling is in that sweet spot of a good product for a small amount of money and should weather the tightning with that small market farmers market vibe.

Sent from my Samsung S8+

Good question...it will be interesting. Personally, I think that Amazon is going to be the kiss of death. It isn't so bad for products you control (other than the 15% commission) but for products you do not control...they will eventually just bypass the vendor altogether.

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 05-13-2019, 02:04 PM
#33
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I have to concur that the marketing insanity is part of what kills the thrill and drives the unpredictability of the market.

Brush "drops," LE soaps, short runs of razors...it gets a bit much for guys who don't want to sit on social media constantly, and the secondary market winds up being not much better because everything is limited.

The most enthusiastic reviews for...well, everything, seem to be from guys who are relatively new to the hobby. I have yet to find a soap that is more than a marginal improvement over Speick, and I used my Edwin Jagger Barley Chrome razor for some 2000 shaves before I dropped it and the threads broke. I replaced it with a steel razor, but in the end, I could've bought another Barley and shaved for 6+ years off of that $40 outlay. My Rockwell shaves a bit closer, but all of these things are on asymptotic curves approaching the line of maximum quality, and at this point, no product is going to improve my shave as much as improved technique, which in turn does not make for a cool SOTD pic.

I quit making and selling soap when I grew tired of pushing new products to market constantly in an effort to keep some brand buzz. Pokemon "gotta catch em all" mentality just doesn't work for me.

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 05-13-2019, 02:07 PM
#34
  • Garb
  • Senior Member
  • Oregon
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Amazon is killing it for many of us small business owners. They can do it too. They're huge and will dominate anything that they step into. 
But, there's no customer service worth a darn. Rather than accept a return for an order misplaced and filled incorrect, they'll just tell you to keep it. Usually it's cheaper to write it off. 
So, not many small guys can compete.
Most of us will go for the smaller businesses though, just for the service we get. 
Hang tough guys.

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 05-13-2019, 03:04 PM
#35
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I stumbled innocently enough into Classic Shaving* with the purchase of a Merkur 34C  razor when I learned that might be a way to relieve the razor burn I had experienced with cartridge blades for 4 1/2 decades.  

Years 2013, 2014 and 2015 saw modest but increased expenditures, average $320 per year, for shaving creams and soaps, moderately priced brushes, after shaves and EdTs.  I perused the internet - especially ShaveNook - to learn about techniques and products.  I struggled to achieve my goal of consistent daily smooth, close, bloodless shaves.  But it finally all came together while still using basic products and just two razors and three brushes.

The satisfaction I got from achieving excellent daily shaving results launched me into trying many,many of the "legendary" razors (e.g., rhodium plated 1956 Gillette Adjustable, Asylum RX, Charcoal Goods), brushes (Thater, TSN Semogue LE, SV 2.0, Simpson HMW...) and soaps and fragrances, primarily European, that ShaveNook opinion leaders photograph and rhapsodize about.   During 2016-2018 I invested (?!?) close to $10,000 accumulating DE/SE razors, brushes, soaps and creams, post-shave lotions, balms and fragrances and numerous accoutrements.  I liked, and still like, virtually everything I bought.

I enjoy daily shaves more than ever.

But let's face it: with more shaves behind me than ahead of me I've got more great soaps (SV, MdC, Boellis Panama plus many, many more) and related "software" than I'll be able to use.  With improved technique and sticking with the 2-3 blades that work best for me almost all my brushes and razors from the $11 Zenith boar bristle to the $225 SV v 2.0 HMW and from the $20 Fatip Piccolo to the $200+ Asylum provide consistent and comparably good shaves.

Recent purchases of excellent products provided very little "marginal utility" so I expect my purchases to drop significantly.  But the excitement of pursuing the ephemeral perfect shave remains strong.

I still check out new offerings at Bullgoose and a few other sites and read about them at SN.  But no doubt i will pull the trigger less often.

FWIW I virtually never buy from Amazon and limit purchases at that giant auction site to out-of-production items.

* I hate the term "wet shaving".

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 05-13-2019, 04:35 PM
#36
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I do see a lot of burnout in the places I frequent.  Some of the stalwarts of days past have not necessarily gone away, but have throttled back somewhat. Business-wise, we're still doing well.  We've been somewhat quiet because life has gotten in the way a bit.  A big portion of that should be resolving itself shortly, so we'll see if we start cranking out tons of new scents.  Then again, we've always been kind of low key...

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 05-13-2019, 05:28 PM
#37
  • norton
  • Member
  • The Alien Nation
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The decent (to me) software offered on Amazon are items we used to have to hunt for (DRH, Trumpers, Prorarso, Tabac..).  The hardware is mostly clones built to sell on price.  I do see some higher end stuff here and there but selection on the high end seems limited.  However, high end is also relative/subjective.  

This is probably seen as good enough for an average person looking to change, because it's more than they can get at the local supermarket or drugstore. 

For those that do go further, as mentioned above - there is no shortage of online vendors now.  Even some old ones are suddenly popping back up - I got an email from one of those in an old email account of mine just a week or so ago.  I bought something from them once, probably 8-10 years ago.  I had forgotten they ever existed.

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 05-14-2019, 01:40 AM
#38
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Now that amazon has been mentioned, I will say that wet-shaving used to be a brick and mortar, boutique "thing", and is now a Walmart/Amazon "thing". If that doesn't turn you off, I don't know what will.

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 05-14-2019, 05:07 AM
#39
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Those of us that has been in this for a number of years now have basically seen it all and may not get as hyped up as the newer wet shavers. I've run my course on "gotta have its" and just go with what works for me. Yes there are some things I see and want but I've learned that the $500 over priced (IMO) razor will shave no better than my $30-50 dollar razor.

If you follow the FB pages you will still see a lot of the hype, new release, and LE chasing that used to be common in the forums. As a lot of us have gotten older we tend to keep it low key, avoid the drama, and not as involved in the social media aspect of it. Unfortunately that's where the newer shavers tend to trend towards and gather. The upcoming Janus was discussed at lengths on some of those forums. I think its still going strong as ever, just that where we're used to seeing it has shifted. 

I do agree the market has been flooded with LEs and new releases from all sides so for a lot its hard to know which way to turn and which items to pursue.

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 05-16-2019, 01:27 PM
#40
  • RyznRio
  • Active Member
  • Connecticut
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There is no thrill for me due to the constant out of stock condition. I do my research decide on a product for example a colonial general. Great razor right price unobtanium. A new v2 on the way and what 40 razors? Sold out before noon. Same is true for brushes soaps splashes and balms. It’s BORING. I have what I have and get a DFS every shave. What exactly should I be excited about again?

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