10-28-2012, 07:44 AM
#1
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Hi! My father and I make shave brushes as a hobby on the Etsy site under Lovgren & Daughter. My question is, we offer Badger Brushes for sale at significant savings over the large Companies (Art of Shaving, etc).

I have been asked if they were "real badger, badger" and replied that yes they are, as our overhead is minimal and our source is small business to small business we get them for a good price wholesale. I hoped to be able to provide excellent quality to the end user.

BUT Huh does a reasonable price ($37 for best badger and $60-80 for silvertip) undermine the perceived value or quality of the brush?

Do you a brush enthusiast think that they couldn't be that good if they don't cost over $100?

Thanks for your input! I appreciate you taking the time to answer, Kristin

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 10-28-2012, 07:52 AM
#2
  • VT_Hokie
  • 2-Band Bandito
  • Charleston, SC
User Info
I don't think so. I think that while people are willing to pay top dollar for a brush that has a rich heritage and a long standing reputation of quality, that they would be opposed to less expensive offerings.

Look at what the golden nib does. They offer VERY reasonably priced knots that have become very popular over the last few years. They offer a high quality product at a very reasonable price and outstanding service.

That being said, with so many great options already available, you're going to have to do a great job of getting your brushes into the hands of crazy people like us who can give you honest feedback, both positive ans negative, about your product. I've never seen or heard of you guys, but I'm interested enough to give it a peek.

High quality knots with attractive handspun handles at a good price has proven to be a winning formula. If you can offer good customer service and get the word out, I see no reasons why you shouldn't have success.

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 10-28-2012, 07:58 AM
#3
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I looked at your site and the handles are beautiful. I think it would be dependent on where your knots are from. Did they come from TGN? I don't think $60 for a TGN knot plus those handles is too much. I think that's quite affordable

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 10-28-2012, 08:01 AM
#4
  • VT_Hokie
  • 2-Band Bandito
  • Charleston, SC
User Info
I just went and took a peek.

The handles look very nice, but I would love to know more about the knots. We're all very detail oriented when it comes to brushes, so saying that its 21mm at the base of the knot tells me very little.

The bowls are gorgeous. On the expensive side for sure, but very pretty. Keep in mind when you're making them, that a similar wooden bowl filled with some of the best soap available on the market, from a company with outstanding heritage and track record can be had for less.

I know nothing about your soap. Again, the devil for us is in the details. We just had a 10 page argument over the accuracy of the order of a single ingredients list on one of our more popular products. We want to know exactly what's in your soap and how its made.

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 10-28-2012, 08:08 AM
#5
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Excellent info. Thank you very much. Much appreciated. I should provide more info. And put in something about how nice they look in the bathroom - to sway those who sigificant other may not want "another bowl" in the bathroom. I will definately check out the ingrediant discussion. Thank you, thank you.

(10-28-2012, 07:52 AM)VT_Hokie Wrote: I don't think so. I think that while people are willing to pay top dollar for a brush that has a rich heritage and a long standing reputation of quality, that they would be opposed to less expensive offerings.

Look at what the golden nib does. They offer VERY reasonably priced knots that have become very popular over the last few years. They offer a high quality product at a very reasonable price and outstanding service.

That being said, with so many great options already available, you're going to have to do a great job of getting your brushes into the hands of crazy people like us who can give you honest feedback, both positive ans negative, about your product. I've never seen or heard of you guys, but I'm interested enough to give it a peek.

High quality knots with attractive handspun handles at a good price has proven to be a winning formula. If you can offer good customer service and get the word out, I see no reasons why you shouldn't have success.

Thanks Matt - I would love more feedback - the negative helps us make a better project and good is fun. Our marketing and the short shoe string budget has been more geared toward women - as women tend to be more handcrafted consumers.

Which is why I've been looking for men. Okay, that sounds hinckey but you understand I hope...lol. men's/users opinions. Thanks! K

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 10-28-2012, 09:51 AM
#6
  • VT_Hokie
  • 2-Band Bandito
  • Charleston, SC
User Info
No problem. I'm at work but when I get home I'll check them out more thoroughly and may look at purchasing one for the purpose of reviewing it for our group.

In the meantime, what can you tell us about your knots and soap?

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 10-28-2012, 10:26 AM
#7
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(10-28-2012, 07:44 AM)KLovgren Wrote: Hi! My father and I make shave brushes as a hobby on the Etsy site under Lovgren & Daughter. My question is, we offer Badger Brushes for sale at significant savings over the large Companies (Art of Shaving, etc).

I have been asked if they were "real badger, badger" and replied that yes they are, as our overhead is minimal and our source is small business to small business we get them for a good price wholesale. I hoped to be able to provide excellent quality to the end user.

BUT Huh does a reasonable price ($37 for best badger and $60-80 for silvertip) undermine the perceived value or quality of the brush?

Do you a brush enthusiast think that they couldn't be that good if they don't cost over $100?

Thanks for your input! I appreciate you taking the time to answer, Kristin

wow, those handles are beautiful.

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 10-28-2012, 10:39 AM
#8
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Your work is gorgeous! Do you do any of your pens as fountain pens, instead of ballpoints?

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 10-28-2012, 10:58 AM
#9
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(10-28-2012, 09:51 AM)VT_Hokie Wrote: No problem. I'm at work but when I get home I'll check them out more thoroughly and may look at purchasing one for the purpose of reviewing it for our group.

In the meantime, what can you tell us about your knots and soap?

Knots, well are 21mm (+/-0.5) at the base - 60 mm tall. I have just purchased some from The Golden Nib to compare. I will have to get back to you all about firmness. I know they shed hardly at all. From looking at TGN knots they seem (for the computer screen and not that reliably) manufactured the same way. But I need to have both in hand to compare and contrast.

I didn't know TGN knots were sooo highly thought of and they are within the price we are currently paying so we are 99% sure we are changing to their knots.

Handles are hardwood finished first layers of shellac to get a good base and then poly for best longterm water resistance. Knots are fixed with marine grade epoxy which is standard.

Soap is pretty straight forward. I use Tallow (I render from food grade beef fat), Castor Oil, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Lye (potassium hydroxide) and premium essential oils.

Right now I have unscented, spice (frankincense, myrrh and Sandalwood), and am making a Vegan version (replacing Tallow with Palm Oil) for Holiday and am drying a Rose scented (very light).

My experience is that the Vegan is not as firm, longlasting or rich enough in lather but if one is strictly vegan, then I don't want to make judgements by not offering them an alternative. In any case, the vegan still blows away the drugstore variety.

And lastly a pinch of silk protein for a nice slip.

My daughter's boyfriend who has serious skin acne on his face said that it was the only soap he tried which didn't aggrevate his skin condition nor dry out the top layer of skin.

And I love it for legs etc. In fact those bars which a slip of the knife are now wonky or underweight go upstairs for shower soap.

I label 4 oz for a puck, 1 oz for a tester. Both are never under that weight and almost always over.

Simple and straight forward Smile

Thanks for teaching me so very much in your forums. I'm always happy to hear from people!

Yours, Kristin

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 10-28-2012, 11:00 AM
#10
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I've lost count of how many brushes I've purchased and collected. From the most custom to the standard production runs.

I have not looked at your site, and only quickly looked through the thread, but here's some of the factors that is important to me in what I purchase.

The quality of the knot. Is it well packed or sparse?
Is it rough? Does it have a "scritchy" feeling?

I pay for quality. That's my number one concern. I also have sensitive skin and like soft brushes. Without knowing the actual quality of a small business shops custom brushes, I couldn't in good faith make a purchase of a brush.

On the contrary, ordering custom brushes from the big brands or simply their standard production, there's been YEARS of knowledge shared on them as well as reviews out the @$$. I know what I'm getting myself into and what I'm paying for.

I simply don't like adding brushes to my collection without knowing what they offer. In my own collection, price is a non-factor. I pay for quality I can trust and performance to match it.

Now hypothetically if it just comes down to price? Well if I could get the quality I do from the big brands, with the price of yours? I'd be happy to add them to my collection and use them normally.

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 10-28-2012, 11:01 AM
#11
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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If you go with the TGN knots and those handles, I have a feeling a superstar will be born. One quick thing on the soap, olive oil is a much maligned additive to quite a few shaving soaps because it breaks down lather as opposed to helping it in most cases. Best of luck!!

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 10-28-2012, 11:04 AM
#12
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
User Info
I checked the site out and the handles are very nice, although I am not really a fan of wooden handles. It's a shame knots are only available in 21mm though, personally I prefer my brushes between 23-26mm. I am also curious about your hair grades, the "Best" grade looks more like a lower grade we call "Pure" or "Black Badger" and can often be "scratchy" especially on sensitive skin. As far as feeling like a brush should be expensive to be worthwhile, I do not agree. All of my badger brushes are between 50-100 dollars and my 3 favorites are 75-80. I do not think any brush is worth over $120, but that is only my opinion.

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 10-28-2012, 11:07 AM
#13
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There are a bunch of outfits doing wood turning work making shaving brushes. So, that's your real competition. I'm not sure what most craftsmen charge.

There is a perception, and honestly a correct one, that the big names offer higher quality, more consistent hair grades. Hence the higher prices and the willingness of consumers to pay those prices.

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 10-28-2012, 05:34 PM
#14
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(10-28-2012, 10:39 AM)freddy Wrote: Your work is gorgeous! Do you do any of your pens as fountain pens, instead of ballpoints?

Hi Freddy we are working on fountain pens right now for Holiday. I'll PM you when they are listed Smile. Do you have any preference on color or wood?

We have fountains that are very nice and have been well received. We don't have the deluxe nibs with brand names. We love the functionality and the beauty of the woods.

(10-28-2012, 11:01 AM)Dave Wrote: If you go with the TGN knots and those handles, I have a feeling a superstar will be born. One quick thing on the soap, olive oil is a much maligned additive to quite a few shaving soaps because it breaks down lather as opposed to helping it in most cases. Best of luck!!

Bless your heart! I'm not a be fan of olive myself but because of the varying color - it can pull the soap greenish... I will try some without. Thanks!

(10-28-2012, 10:26 AM)andrewjs18 Wrote:
(10-28-2012, 07:44 AM)KLovgren Wrote: Hi! My father and I make shave brushes as a hobby on the Etsy site under Lovgren & Daughter. My question is, we offer Badger Brushes for sale at significant savings over the large Companies (Art of Shaving, etc).

I have been asked if they were "real badger, badger" and replied that yes they are, as our overhead is minimal and our source is small business to small business we get them for a good price wholesale. I hoped to be able to provide excellent quality to the end user.

BUT Huh does a reasonable price ($37 for best badger and $60-80 for silvertip) undermine the perceived value or quality of the brush?

Do you a brush enthusiast think that they couldn't be that good if they don't cost over $100?

Thanks for your input! I appreciate you taking the time to answer, Kristin

wow, those handles are beautiful.

Bless your heart, thank you!

(10-28-2012, 11:00 AM)Mike_P Wrote: I've lost count of how many brushes I've purchased and collected. From the most custom to the standard production runs.

I have not looked at your site, and only quickly looked through the thread, but here's some of the factors that is important to me in what I purchase.

The quality of the knot. Is it well packed or sparse?
Is it rough? Does it have a "scritchy" feeling?

I pay for quality. That's my number one concern. I also have sensitive skin and like soft brushes. Without knowing the actual quality of a small business shops custom brushes, I couldn't in good faith make a purchase of a brush.

On the contrary, ordering custom brushes from the big brands or simply their standard production, there's been YEARS of knowledge shared on them as well as reviews out the @$$. I know what I'm getting myself into and what I'm paying for.

I simply don't like adding brushes to my collection without knowing what they offer. In my own collection, price is a non-factor. I pay for quality I can trust and performance to match it.

Now hypothetically if it just comes down to price? Well if I could get the quality I do from the big brands, with the price of yours? I'd be happy to add them to my collection and use them normally.

Thank you so much for your comments! I really appreciate the insight. I totally understand the consistency factor. Our "best" is not as fully packed as the silvertip. But neither are scratchy at all. I'm getting TGN brushes shortly to be able to compare.

Thank you all again - I appreciate you taking the time.

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 10-29-2012, 12:02 PM
#15
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I don't think a badger brush needs to be expensive to be good. Even in brand names. My favorite Simpson brush is a sub-$50 Case in Best Badger. I have made my own wooden handle without a lathe and fitted it with a small TGN finest knot (aka two band, which has softer tips and firmer shaft than best badger). That brush is amazing in function and aesthetics and it cost very little. I would put it up against much more expensive two bands out there. One thing you really do want to do is offer more choices of knot sizes. Just offering 21mm knots is like only selling size 8 shoes. Everyone likes a different size brush. I love smaller brushes, so 21mm would be on a large side for me. Lots of others prefer 24mm and larger. Certainly 21mm is not bad, but there are widely varying preferences.

A word about TGN knots. They are really good and well known. TGN Finest grade is superb and very soft tipped. Many people like it including myself. I have not tried their other grades, but they have very good reputation and people love their knots. Their knots are dense and very consistent in quality. Mentioning the fact that the knots are from TGN will add to recognition.

Best of luck on your venture. I do not see why you can't compete in the artisan brush market.

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 10-29-2012, 12:04 PM
#16
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Thinking more on the subject, I wonder if people who come across your listings simply have no idea at all about badger brushes and so ask you the "silly" questions.

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 10-29-2012, 01:09 PM
#17
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TGN knots are a double-edged sword though, the majority of artisans use them, which is good and bad, good in that the buyer knows they're not getting junk and bad in that your competitors offer basically the same product; you need to spin awesome handles and have great customer service.

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 11-02-2012, 05:59 PM
#18
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(10-29-2012, 12:02 PM)vferdman Wrote: I don't think a badger brush needs to be expensive to be good. Even in brand names. My favorite Simpson brush is a sub-$50 Case in Best Badger. I have made my own wooden handle without a lathe and fitted it with a small TGN finest knot (aka two band, which has softer tips and firmer shaft than best badger). That brush is amazing in function and aesthetics and it cost very little. I would put it up against much more expensive two bands out there. One thing you really do want to do is offer more choices of knot sizes. Just offering 21mm knots is like only selling size 8 shoes. Everyone likes a different size brush. I love smaller brushes, so 21mm would be on a large side for me. Lots of others prefer 24mm and larger. Certainly 21mm is not bad, but there are widely varying preferences.

A word about TGN knots. They are really good and well known. TGN Finest grade is superb and very soft tipped. Many people like it including myself. I have not tried their other grades, but they have very good reputation and people love their knots. Their knots are dense and very consistent in quality. Mentioning the fact that the knots are from TGN will add to recognition.

Best of luck on your venture. I do not see why you can't compete in the artisan brush market.

Thanks a bunch for your input. I totally get your point about a variety of sizes. We had thought but getting them into the mix has been a challenge until now. TGN seems to be easier, wonderful reputation and from the ones I have just received, excellent. Thank you again!

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 11-02-2012, 06:32 PM
#19
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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As I've said before, the handles look great. If you put a great well known knot in the handle, then you're starting off out of the gate much better at least IMO. Good luck!!

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