3 posts tagged "Harry’s"
There are few guys that understand the luxury of a hot shave, but Harry’s, a grooming company that set out to provide stylish, well-crafted razors at reasonable prices, is determined to bring back the barbershop experience. There is something to be said about the badass-ness of a straight razor—letting a person wield a sharp blade over your bare neck is intrinsically dangerous and can be potentially lethal. And on the quiet, neighborhood-y MacDougal Street in Soho, you’ll find that this American pastime is alive and well at The Corner Shop. The intimate, 300-square-foot space boasts two refurbished 1920s Koken barber chairs—along with a well-edited selection of products (ranging from $6 Hanes tees to Makr leather goods). Naturally, Harry’s razors and shave cream are also available for purchase. Hanging on the walls are framed pages from retro barber catalogs picked up in Harlem, and at the far end of the space, a record player spinning vinyls by bands who recorded in New York City. The staff is equally legit: You could say Duval Lawton has razor-wielding talent in his blood (both his father and grandfather cut hair in Jamaica), and Matthew Wire spent over a decade in California tending to Hollywood’s leading men. And for today’s modern gent, there is convenient online booking and in-house iPads used to record photos and details (like the type of clipper guard used) each time a customer gets a trim. I for one appreciate a well-kept man who lives on the edge and fully understands the perils of stubble.
The Corner Shop, 64 MacDougal Street, New York, NY, (646)-964-5193; www.harrys.com
When it comes to hair removal, the market gets creative in order to appeal to the female demographic—there are glittery handles, sweetly scented razor cartridges, and flashy cans of shaving cream. Men, however, get the smooth-skin technology minus all the bells and whistles. Harry’s, a company created by one of the co-founders of Warby Parker, Jeff Raider, and Andy Katz-Mayfield, a college chum, saw a gap in the category and filled it with high-quality razors (with blades designed by German engineers) and modern, ergonomic handles at a fair price in rich colors (like nautilus blue, olive, and total orange) and sleek, aircraft-inspired aluminum. Now the boys are launching a seasonal collection, which made its online debut today, reminiscent of worn-in flannel, “dusty sleeves of Zeppelin records,” and whiskey-enhanced weekends spent in tents. The limited-edition, two-tone handles will certainly brighten up any man’s medicine cabinet, but it’s the photos from Harry’s very first lookbook that piqued my interest. While our own deputy editor, Matthew Schneier, wonders if you really need to lather up before chopping down a tree, I find the cheeky images of guys grooming in precarious places so much more entertaining than the traditional campaign featuring a shirtless male model—white towel wrapped around waist—caressing his freshly shaven face. And while I’ve always loved not camping, suddenly the thought of spending time surrounded by Mother Nature (and these mountain men) doesn’t seem so bad.
The rise of the disposable razor industry has been so wildly astronomic that the so-called “razor-and-blade model” is actually taught in business schools. In short: Sell the razor cheaply and keep ‘em coming back for the blades. That’s meant a boom for consumer product companies, but it hasn’t necessarily led to great products—which is where the idea for Harry’s came from. Following a good old-fashioned bad consumer experience, founder Jeffrey Raider wondered, “How could I do it better?” With a fair bit of experience undercutting giants to offer products inexpensively directly to consumers (Raider, along with a few Wharton classmates, was behind the eyewear line Warby Parker), he came up with a new model: Offer razors, blades, and shave cream—for men, to start, with women on the horizon (although Raider notes that research indicates 30 to 50 percent of women use men’s razors anyway)—appealingly packaged, affordably priced, and, at least in this tester’s experience, as good or better than anything easily available on the market (although those shave connoisseurs who can detail the fine points of a straight-razor shave, and pit Freemans barbers against Blind Barbers and so on, would likely have plenty to add to the conversation). Harry’s handles, in chrome-plated Winston ($20) and plastic Truman ($10), are heavier than most for a better fit in the hand, with a rounded base to provide a better pivot, a hinged head for razor mobility, and a “saddle” to rest your finger on for better motor control. Five-blade steel heads, produced by a German company with 90 years behind it, will cost $2 (less for larger orders). And Harry’s paraben- and sulfate-free cream contains the requisite list of botanicals (coconut oil, cucumber, peppermint, licorice root, et al.) to sooth skin while prepping it for a close shave. I found it a little less foaming than I’d have liked, but for $8 a tube, I can live with that. Will Harry’s enjoy Warby-like success? (The latter just got a $41.5 million investment, and is said to be in talks with Google to design its Google Glass; Raider still sits on its board.) That remains to be seen. But I, for one, have a new razor—and they’ve got a new client for blades.
Available March 2013 at www.harrys.com.