07-31-2019, 08:32 AM
#1
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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We are in a really odd hobby/Industry. One thing I have never been able to wrap my head around is how certain blades will be all the rage for a while and then, they kind of fall off a cliff. I would not expect this kind of volatility for this kind of product. Rather, I would expect brand loyalty. In the past ten years, I have seen huge surges and falls of Gillette Yellow, Personna Red, Personna Med Prep, Polsilver Super Iridium, Voskhod (and all the various iterations) , Gillette Silver Blue, Gillette Super Thin, Gillette Black and to a certain extent, Derby and Astra. The only blade that has remained relatively constant in terms of popularity is Feather. What gives?

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 07-31-2019, 08:35 AM
#2
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Only vintage blades save our community  Pancarta

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 07-31-2019, 09:26 AM
#3
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(07-31-2019, 08:32 AM)bullgoose Wrote: We are in a really odd hobby/Industry. One thing I have never been able to wrap my head around is how certain blades will be all the rage for a while and then, they kind of fall off a cliff. I would not expect this kind of volatility for this kind of product. Rather, I would expect brand loyalty. In the past ten years, I have seen huge surges and falls of Gillette Yellow, Personna Red, Personna Med Prep, Polsilver Super Iridium, Voskhod (and all the various iterations) , Gillette Silver Blue, Gillette Super Thin, Gillette Black and to a certain extent, Derby and Astra. The only blade that has remained relatively constant in terms of popularity is Feather. What gives?

Trend sensitivity is a sign of the times, isn't it? I think I can detect the same thing with soaps, razors and brushes (with some notable exceptions that has staying power). If you look through SOTD pictures from recently or some years back in different forums it's easy to see how certain products are "discovered", become common and then are replaced by the next in thing. At least, that's what I see. To what extent "SOTD fashion" translates to sales figures for the broader shaving community I don't know, but perhaps you do?

Also, I believe it's natural for enthusiasts to chase perfection. They think they have found it for a while but soon realize they didn't and so go after the next white whale.

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 07-31-2019, 11:44 AM
#4
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Great to get your observations Phil because you are in a much better place to "see" than I.  I know I was on the shaving carousel for about a year.  Every time something new would appear I was convinced it would be better than what I was using.  So in my case, I was a vendors best customer.  (New offer, I buy, regardless of need). I wonder if the market was growing based on many of us purchasing as though we were a dozen shavers.  In the case of razor blades I would expect as you stated that brand loyalty would reign supreme.  I know in my case, after I found what I liked, I bought bulk and don't look around anymore. As to soaps, it's been so long since I bought a crummy soap that SCENT is my call to get out my wallet but as I realize I already have the scent families covered redundantly, I have put the brakes on additional purchases.  I just can't see that donkey milk, geranium oil, buffalo tallow, and all sorts of exotic clays make a world of difference.   As for razors and brushes I still peck around a bit.  Feels like a maturation has begun to occur and guys are using what they have, know, and like.  It's a great theory but the named blades you have seen decline would be my go-to blades and the ones I have in bulk.  Either I'm the only smart guy or someone has something figured out.

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 07-31-2019, 12:24 PM
#5
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There seems to a a general lack of brand loyalty in this hobby.  You see this, for example, with soaps and razors.  We rave about the "newest and best," until the next "newest and best."   

The market volatility for blades however, is more difficult to understand.  Unlike soaps and razors, new brands of blades are not entering the market.  The same brands have been around for many years.  I surmise  that when this hobby first took off, guys were trying many different brands.  Now that the hobby has matured, experienced shavers have selected their brands, while the number of new shavers trying many different brands has leveled off.

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 07-31-2019, 04:51 PM
#6
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I wonder if SE blades experience the same Volatility?

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 07-31-2019, 05:22 PM
#7
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(07-31-2019, 04:51 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: I wonder if SE blades experience the same Volatility?

Not to the same extent but that may be due to having less choices.

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 07-31-2019, 06:47 PM
#8
  • garyg
  • Senior Member
  • Great Lakes
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We all harbor that apocalyptic fear of products being discontinued, but once a portion of the buyers buy up one brand or another (there's a large fandom element in the hobby as well) they get to the point their safes or shoeboxes or ammo cans are full, until the next rumour of discontinuance spreads.  A hundred carton of blades doesn't take up much room, but at some point you stall.  

That said, I still hunt out and squirrel away Plus Plats, 74's etc.  

Might be just that of all that makes our hobby, blades are the least DIY-able, the most expendable, and the cheapest.  So we binge based on interweb rumours ?

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 07-31-2019, 07:05 PM
#9
  • Garb
  • Senior Member
  • Oregon
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About the blades I'm not sure where or how they come into being the rage? I was with another forum that did a group buy claiming that Voskhods were the blade of the future. I think they put together an order that would have shaved the masses for decades. After that deal was done nobody talked that blade up again. Next I hear the Kai blades are up for the golden shave award. And it goes on and on..........I would say that we could raise about any blade to the golden shave level by doing a group buy numbering in the thousands. LOL  (unless they are Merkur blades of course) LOL

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 08-01-2019, 09:25 AM
#10
  • RyznRio
  • Active Member
  • Connecticut
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I am guessing but the incredible OCD thread that runs through this community implies that when I find something I like I will buy enough of it to last 2 or 3 lifetimes. 

A gent just cant know when the Mfg will discontinue his new favorite blade or reformulate his fave soap, etc.

How many Ti, SS, Brass razors do you need? Why do you need a backup of a razor that will have the same geometry in 1,000+ years?
How many brushes do you need when even a cheapie is sure to last 10 - 30 years (if used daily) before needing a new knot.
How many tubs of soap, bottles of AS, balm etc.

The only limit we put on ourselves is the amount of space that we have to store the items. Then comes the purge of the den and even tho we know there is no room in our den we are tempted to or actually do buy, ya know just in case. until we are forced by the demon mathematics to purge, as you cannot fit 100 blades in the space for 50.

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 08-01-2019, 09:52 AM
#11
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(08-01-2019, 09:25 AM)RyznRio Wrote: I am guessing but the incredible OCD thread that runs through this community implies that when I find something I like I will buy enough of it to last 2 or 3 lifetimes. 

A gent just cant know when the Mfg will discontinue his new favorite blade or reformulate his fave soap, etc.

How many Ti, SS, Brass razors do you need? Why do you need a backup of a razor that will have the same geometry in 1,000+ years?
How many brushes do you need when even a cheapie is sure to last 10 - 30 years (if used daily) before needing a new knot.
How many tubs of soap, bottles of AS, balm etc.

The only limit we put on ourselves is the amount of space that we have to store the items. Then comes the purge of the den and even tho we know there is no room in our den we are tempted to or actually do buy, ya know just in case. until we are forced by the demon mathematics to purge, as you cannot fit 100 blades in the space for 50.

I don't want to be contrary and I agree with what you're saying in general, but I think you're getting hoarding (for lack of a better word) mixed up with collecting. 
In other words, there's a different motivation behind a decision to buy 50 different razors and behind getting 1000 identical razor blades (or 10 identical soaps, or for that matter three identical razors). In the first case you may simply want a bit of variety, or you do it for the joy of owning beautiful objects but to hoard (like you said) three lifetimes worth of one particular blade, that's something else entirely and driven by a different motivation.

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 08-03-2019, 12:03 AM
#12
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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Feather are Japanese blades and Japan is famous about the swords/blades/scissors etc. Feather are considered the sharpest by many, even by most sellers. I remember when I bought my first equipment, the seller told me not to try the Feather yet, saying various things about them to prove that it was too early for me. That way you think that these blades are something special and you have to master your technique before giving them a try.

It's all about the myth or fame that surrounds these blades.

For me, Feathers are just average blades. GSB are supeior. Again, for me.

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 08-03-2019, 05:05 AM
#13
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Nikos, it’s nice to see you posting Smile

Yes, I am a hoarder of blades and soaps. I experimented for a few years and determined which products I really, really enjoy using. Truth be told, I can shave for the next dozen years and not need to buy any more soap. That drops to maybe 8-10 years for blades. It’s sick, I know. But once I find a product I like I’m fiercely loyal to it. Yes part of my purchasing history is based on products threatened to be discontinued. Valobra was sold recently, and the Nazareth blade plant is reported to be shutting down soon. You know I bought more of each, even though I didn’t need to. Perhaps it’s my history as a guitarist who has seen more than one favorite label of strings discontinued by the maker. My box of guitar strings rivals my hoard of shave soap and razor blades. My purchases didn’t break the bank, and they take up a minimal amount of space. I’m good with that.

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 08-03-2019, 05:54 AM
#14
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Sunspots! It must be sunspots!
Everyone knows shaving soap with goat's milk is the best.
Feather? No Kai.
Seriously, find a hobby with a relatively large enough base and I'm certain this phenomenon will appear.
If interested, Daniel Arielly writes interesting stuff on behavior.

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 08-03-2019, 06:49 AM
#15
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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(08-03-2019, 05:05 AM)chazt Wrote: Nikos, it’s nice to see you posting Smile

Yes, I am a hoarder of blades and soaps. I experimented for a few years and determined which products I really, really enjoy using. Truth be told, I can shave for the next dozen years and not need to buy any more soap. That drops to maybe 8-10 years for blades. It’s sick, I know. But once I find a product I like I’m fiercely loyal to it. Yes part of my purchasing history is based on products threatened to be discontinued. Valobra was sold recently, and the Nazareth blade plant is reported to be shutting down soon. You know I bought more of each, even though I didn’t need to. Perhaps it’s my history as a guitarist who has seen more than one favorite label of strings discontinued by the maker. My box of guitar strings rivals my hoard of shave soap and razor blades. My purchases didn’t break the bank, and they take up a minimal amount of space. I’m good with that.
Thanks, Charlie!

We are all hoarders here! I am set for decades without having to buy anything. But I experimented a lot for some years, like you did.

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 08-03-2019, 07:50 AM
#16
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(07-31-2019, 05:22 PM)bullgoose Wrote:
(07-31-2019, 04:51 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: I wonder if SE blades experience the same Volatility?

Not to the same extent but that may be due to having less choices.

So many DE choices, with waves of popularity being fanned by community influencers.

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 08-03-2019, 07:55 AM
#17
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(08-03-2019, 06:49 AM)nikos.a Wrote: We are all hoarders here! I am set for decades without having to buy anything. But I experimented a lot for some years, like you did.

I'm not hoarding Smile
I feel very relaxed about blades or soaps being discontinued. There's the odd favorite where I would - perhaps - buy one or two extra in case it was being discontinued, but generally it does not worry me. So much soap to choose from, there is no way I am going to try them all so why would I panic over a particular brand disappearing? Same with blades, brushes, whatever. I'm set for maybe 2 years, if that, when it comes to soap. Not even a year for blades. The only blades that I see remotely being at risk are injectors, there are so few to choose from as it is, but DE blades? I don't believe any of them are uniquely wonderful. Feather's are the ones I get best results with but I would be fine with Polsilver and if they weren't around I'm sure I could fine something else.

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 08-03-2019, 08:03 AM
#18
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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(08-03-2019, 07:55 AM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-03-2019, 06:49 AM)nikos.a Wrote: We are all hoarders here! I am set for decades without having to buy anything. But I experimented a lot for some years, like you did.

I'm not hoarding Smile
I feel very relaxed about blades or soaps being discontinued. There's the odd favorite where I would - perhaps - buy one or two extra in case it was being discontinued, but generally it does not worry me. So much soap to choose from, there is no way I am going to try them all so why would I panic over a particular brand disappearing? Same with blades, brushes, whatever. I'm set for maybe 2 years, if that, when it comes to soap. Not even a year for blades. The only blades that I see remotely being at risk are injectors, there are so few to choose from as it is, but DE blades? I don't believe any of them are uniquely wonderful. Feather's are the ones I get best results with but I would be fine with Polsilver and if they weren't around I'm sure I could fine something else.
The vast majority of members lives under the fear of discontinuance... Joking aside, I didn't want to see some favorites going gone, so I made my own stock of favorites. I haven't regretted it because I enjoy my shaves. I haven't got bored. It's all good.

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 08-03-2019, 07:47 PM
#19
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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 08-03-2019, 07:54 PM
#20
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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I'd be perfectly fine using Astras everyday and I seriously doubt they will be discontinued anytime soon.

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