Apr 24, 2006

Cutting to the chase and the sale.

There's a lot of talk out there in marketinggeek land about changing the demand chain and how the Internet has splintered communications and opened up the flow of information. All of that is true. But I'm always jazzed when I see it proved to me directly.

I recently started experimenting with wet shaving, you know, double-edged razor, brush, shaving cream in a jar instead of a can. We're talking about a $200 investment in all the various equipment. That part isn't so interesting. The story's in how I got there.

Sifting through Gapingvoid one day, something I have less time for lately, I stumbled upon Shaveblog, an informative and hilarious chronicle of wet shaving written by Corey Greenberg, an editor for NBC TV. He's a clever guy, and his description of wet shaving's advantages (no razor burn, better shave, quality experience, cool accoutrements, etc.) had me willing to give it a try. (I'm not alone; Greenburg's appearance on The Today Show, his blog and other aficionados have caused a gold rush on creams, razors, brushes, etc.)

So how did I end up dropping the $200? Through Corey's recommendations, mostly. He pointed me to Classic Shaving for a Merkur razor and blades and Nancy Boy for shaving cream (more on that interesting company in a later post). When I had problems finding a Schick Injector as a training razor, I turned to the messageboard Badger & Blade, where a helpful guy named Jerry sold me an 1940's Schick Eversharp for half of what I would have paid on eBay.

As fascinating as my shaving habits are, have you kept your mind on the key point here? All that demand chain/Internet stuff? Here's the deal: I changed my behavior (and a basic part of my personal grooming to boot) and spent over $200 without the help or involvement of a major brand or store. In fact, I can guarantee you I never would have tried wet shaving without Gapingvoid, Shaveblog, Classic Shaving, Nancy Boy, Badger & Blade or eBay.

You can't even find or buy quality double-edged razors, brushes and cream where most of us men buy our Gillette Mach 12 and gel in a can. Not a chance. They don't offer them. (Although Target has begun to offer Proraso shaving cream, an Italian wet shaving stalwart. And I bet it's due to shaving blogs and message boards and the resulting rise in demand for wet shaving products.)

So this is the new deal. This is how people learn, experiment, connect and buy. And it's got very little, if anything, with an ad you saw by accident on TV, in a magazine or a direct mail package or a banner. (Sure, Greenburg popped some serious exposure on The Today Show, but that's not an ad.)

It's based on shared experience you can trust of a superior way to shave. Some company isn't selling you some ridiculous, bulbous plastic monstrosity that probably doesn't work any better than their last model. Companies are producing quality products, and real people (unpaid promoters) are telling you where to get them.

Classic Shaving, Merkur, Nancy Boy and others are out ahead of the monsters of shaving products. They're the ones on the edge of the curve, by being behind the times. I think that's pretty damn exciting.

4 comments:

EVK4 said...

Your favorite ex-punk-rocker buys all of his sissy metrosexual shaving gear from Nordstrom. I don't know if he goes as far as the double-edged razor though.

Good post, I'm trying to think of online shopping that I do for reasons other than better price or selection. I'll comment if I come up with it.

Anonymous said...

At least I have something to shave, mr. polka dot.

Tim Rickards said...

So I crank out 500 words and all I get is B dissing E b/c he doesn't have perma-beard?

I DO need to post more.

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