Clearing some common misconceptions...

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Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:30 pm

I've been speaking to quite a few non-wet shavers lately and I find it quite amazing the impressions I've been hearing regarding traditional shaving gear - especially the razors (the 'Minora shaver' as they called it).

People seem to have become (almost) deathly scared of the DE safety razor. They do recall their Dads and Granddads using them, but they were under the impression that you could get terribly cut up with them. People find it quite strange when I tell them that it just takes a bit of practice. They get even more astonished when I tell tehm that you can get a better shave with a safety razor.

Could it be that the current generation of people around 28 - 40 were warned off messing about with their Dad's blades and razors when they were kids (for safety)? Then as they grew up the Safety razor disappeared to be replaced with the cartridge razor... :think:

The R25 Lion razor doesn't help the cause much due to being very aggressive for newcomers (and the blades are poor quality). If you get a chance, take a read through Gillette South Africa's facebook page. There are people crying out for a cheaper better shave option. People using the same cartridges for four months!

Most people like the brush and soap though.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby Thug » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:40 pm

Use a straight razor and come over to the Dark side.... mwhahahaha :o:::
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:43 pm

Thug wrote:Use a straight razor and come over to the Dark side.... mwhahahaha :o:::


hahahha, I suppose everybody has to start somewhere. It's a sort of natural progression once you start with the DE's to try out a straight.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby deepsouth » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:53 pm

I think it societal, driven by a throwaway (single serving, single use) culture. No longevity, no custom, no pride in ownership, constant instant gratification. Perfect consumers, catered for by perfect corporations. New and improved, new look and feel. Same or worse product. Cutting corners in quality to improve quantity. Slap a movie logo on the handle, bang catering for fans. People are ashamed by using something for years, no bragging rights there. What? your Mach 3 only has 3 blades, mine has 5 - you peasant you.

Buy a razor/brush you can use for the rest of your life? Soap that lasts for months? Impossible, you need at least 3 blades to shave, that is what advertisements have been regurgitating for years, trusted by a professional (*salemen) T's & C's apply. Also, whipping up a lather is "work" you can press a button to get your foam, straight to the point. "Technology = good, great granddad method = luddite"

I'm in a nihilist mood...sorry for the retch above.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:21 pm

A valid and (quite apt) take on the way society haas been programmed to work these day. However, with the internet, and fast spread of information we finally have the ability to reach out to those who don't beleive the mass advertising anymore. In fact, ever since I got the PVR installed, I can't remember when last I watched and advert :think: . Easier said than done, but at least there is a way of getting the message around.

An interesting point of view is that although some people are ok with disposables, I personally think it is human nature to move toward what they perceive is the 'best' option. So people would actually take the pain of expensive cartridges to feel safe in the knowledge that they have the 'best' 6(?) bladed rotating ball-valve cartridge razor.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby Thug » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:32 pm

Being serious for a moment, I think that shaving is seen as a chore (or a necessary evil). Cartridge razors are seen and used as a quickfix and alleviate that chore. People (or Sheeple) haven't been told or enlightened as to the advantages of wet shaving, be it double edge or straight and they are none the wiser.

You need to change the mindset that the only available razor is a multi blade cartridge. However, Gillette and their ilk continue to make billions off unsuspecting young men, so a concerted effort is needed to ensure that young men today see the benefit of wet-shaving.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:04 pm

True Thug. I'm thinking that going head-to-head with the big brands isn't the answer any more. I think it has to be done cleverly using the power of the online platforms and the internet.

The good thing is that there are no gimmicks or trickery here.

Guy Kawasaki (former 'Evangelist' for Apple) outlined three key reasons for starting a new movement / venture / enterprise:

1. Improve quality of life
2. Right a wrong
3. Prevent the end of something good


I think wet shaving ticks all of those boxes.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby Bundubeard » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:39 pm

All valid points above, consumerism and marketing power of the big corps are big culprits. Don't forget about the chain stores, they have been hiding safety razors for decades behind their cigarette counters; they make R2 on a pack of Gillette Double edged blades, but R 80 on their mainstream stuff.

There is something else though, I am busy writing some blogs for my website, let me copy and paste one that is an accurate account of how I was introduced to shaving...

I often reminisce over my younger years when I see pictures of a dad showing his son how to shave, to me it is one of the few lessons in life that is reserved for us men and an experience that should be cherished and enjoyed. I was not privileged to share that with my dad though, and if you are are around my age (just over mid 40's), a South African and 'of European descent', chances are you were not that lucky either.

There are a few reasons for this life's lesson passing me by, for one, my dad sported a beard for much of his life (and to this day), and I suppose it was for that reason teaching his sons about shaving was not something that came to mind at all. Secondly, I still battled to get a bit of 'melkbaard' when finishing matric, I guess being 17 at the time and blonde also played a part in my fluff taking its time to become anything close to resembling a beard. The biggest contributor to me losing out on this experience with my dad was the SADF though. As a white South African male, you were required to serve your country for a period of national service, those who had made plans for studying after school had exemption for the period of studies, I had little direction at the time, so "Army" was my designated home for the next 2 years.

A lot can be said about the SADF and its members at this time, in my opinion it was a brilliant outfit, in fact I have a theory that if every young man and women in our country was called up to serve in such a organisation, we would be one of the most prosperous, balanced societies in the world today. This blog is about shaving though, and not about becoming an adult, so let's get back on point.

We received a list of stuff that you had to take with you (very minimal) and as most of our dad's were working, the onus fell onto our mothers to sort out this list, amongst it a razor and some shaving foam or soap, in SA context and in my opinion, this is where the corporates like Gillette and Schick scored lots of clientele. Not knowing much about shaving one's face, and wanting the best for her 'laaitie' my mom bought me the 'newest tech' on the market, a Gillette Twin blade 'Trac 2', and a can of foam. That was it, my shaving habits for the next two decades were determined by advertising, appearance and availability on the supermarket shelf. The art of shaving and the manliness about it had taken a second row to a rack of brightly colored hanging cards at the checkout counter. Quite sad really, but I suspect many of you had similar experiences; there was a time when shaving was one of a man's highlights of his day, but the corporates turned it into a chore, by telling us it needs to be fast and disposable.

Don't miss out on the chance to form a part of your son's life before trying classic wet shaving with a straight razor, safety razor and a brush. The internet has made it possible for us to reclaim this domain reserved for dads & sons, and to start our day with a routine that brings a smile to our face.

Feel free to edit and point out any mistakes, makes my job a bit easier :thumbup:
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:53 pm

Very nice post there BunduBeard. As you have mentioned, our background, and upbringing also paly a role in which 'shaving path' each person has taken.

I think it's a good point raised about spreading the knowledge to the younger generation.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby JHBBlade » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:51 pm

A few problems that make the cartridge sell so well......

A lot of men have little clue as to how to sharpen a knife let alone a razor, as a result they have no clue what is possible with a razor.

At many levels wet shaving is a sort of lost art. A bit like the Americans who don't know where milk comes from.

I reckon if some one does not sit you down and walk you through a first shave with a DE, it will just never dawn on someone that there is better shaving out there.

River, if you'd not pointed me to this forum, I hazard a guess I'd still be buggering around trying to find decent DE blades or finding a DE razor with some finesse.

You are right in that the Internet and forums like these will help spread the word.

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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby JHBBlade » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:00 pm

BTW... I place myself in the "barely know how to sharpen a blade category"

On a spiderco triangular set-up it used to take me ages to sharpen my kitchen knives. Now on a Norton I sharpen free hand, get a better edge and in 1/10 of the time.

I suspect I'm still pretty crap at sharpening straights, it typically just takes me too long, but I'll get there.

So I fully understand why disposable blades replaced the straight, I'm less sure why the cart virtually eliminated the DE blades. I think it's partly because there was no industrial design going into new DE razors at some point and the carts just looked cooler.

If you look at some of the new DE or SE razors..... they are so cool, they make cartridges look positively cheap.

Mongoose, or The One, etc are super cool designs.

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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:15 am

JHBBlade wrote:So I fully understand why disposable blades replaced the straight, I'm less sure why the cart virtually eliminated the DE blades. I think it's partly because there was no industrial design going into new DE razors at some point and the carts just looked cooler.

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It was all to do with patents that expired around the 1970's. Here's a nice artile I found online: How Intellectual Property Destroyed Men’s Shaving

The article focuses more on the impact of Intellectual property rights, but uses the shaving business as a case study. Some good info. The fact that Gillette is now pushing the almost 20 year old Mach 3 razor just goes to show that four and five bladed razors were not really needed .
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This is how my Father shaved
This is how I shave.


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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby Bundubeard » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:25 am

That is pretty much where we are. I agree that ignorance and the powerful budgets are a big problem. We need exposure, I have done one or two markets and the guys swamp my table more often than not. I am not a huge fan of selling at markets, but the exposure is pretty good and the gear is such that it is 'something new' at most events. Having some cheap razors and brushes helps big time. The first step is the one that is most difficult to take, it is easier if you do not have to fork out a large chunk of change, but once new customers have seen the light, they are very committed users. You guys know of anyone that has gone back to cartridges?
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:35 am

Bundubeard wrote:That is pretty much where we are. I agree that ignorance and the powerful budgets are a big problem. We need exposure, I have done one or two markets and the guys swamp my table more often than not. I am not a huge fan of selling at markets, but the exposure is pretty good and the gear is such that it is 'something new' at most events. Having some cheap razors and brushes helps big time. The first step is the one that is most difficult to take, it is easier if you do not have to fork out a large chunk of change, but once new customers have seen the light, they are very committed users. You guys know of anyone that has gone back to cartridges?


The market idea sounds like a good way of getting the message around. Glad to hear the general response has been positive.
This is how my Grandfather shaved
This is how my Father shaved
This is how I shave.


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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby Bundubeard » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:55 am

RiverValleyTrading wrote:
Bundubeard wrote:That is pretty much where we are. I agree that ignorance and the powerful budgets are a big problem. We need exposure, I have done one or two markets and the guys swamp my table more often than not. I am not a huge fan of selling at markets, but the exposure is pretty good and the gear is such that it is 'something new' at most events. Having some cheap razors and brushes helps big time. The first step is the one that is most difficult to take, it is easier if you do not have to fork out a large chunk of change, but once new customers have seen the light, they are very committed users. You guys know of anyone that has gone back to cartridges?


The market idea sounds like a good way of getting the message around. Glad to hear the general response has been positive.


Oh yeah, they are abound. Anything from a free stall to around 15k for a large event (with accommodation and all that) Plenty pages on Facebook with some good leads. It is very good to have a proper face to face with the lads.
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby mreeveshp » Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:46 am

My dad always used a electric and I grew up in different states then my grandparents, I just turned 33 and just started using a DE since I hated how electrics felt like they yanked hair out and carts are so expensive and all my money is going to medical bills after double knee surgery.

I first got a VDH razor and blades but just got a merkur for my birthday and even though I have nicked myself quite a few times I am going to stick to it and get my technique down. I also like the zen aspect of it all.

I guess I am an exception to most people my age, I enjoy pipe smoking, fountain pens, sharpen my own knives, and think a suits look and feel better. I guess I was born at the wrong time period.

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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby BLES » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:00 am

mreeveshp wrote:I guess I am an exception to most people my age, I enjoy pipe smoking, fountain pens, sharpen my own knives, and think a suits look and feel better. I guess I was born at the wrong time period.

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Nothing sounds wrong to me about your time period. :old :bow Soon you will be an aficionado in some of the best hobbies. Head over to the introduction section and tell us a bit more about yourself. :wave:
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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby mreeveshp » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:00 pm

BLES wrote:
mreeveshp wrote:I guess I am an exception to most people my age, I enjoy pipe smoking, fountain pens, sharpen my own knives, and think a suits look and feel better. I guess I was born at the wrong time period.

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Nothing sounds wrong to me about your time period. :old :bow Soon you will be an aficionado in some of the best hobbies. Head over to the introduction section and tell us a bit more about yourself. :wave:
I try to have as many hobbies as I can that I truly enjoy, but I will probably go into more detail in the introduction thread in a little while, I might share more than most people are willing but I think in some ways sharing even the bad things is cathartic in a way. So I will get something posted up there soon.

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Re: Clearing some common misconceptions...

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:19 pm

mreeveshp wrote:I try to have as many hobbies as I can that I truly enjoy, but I will probably go into more detail in the introduction thread in a little while, I might share more than most people are willing but I think in some ways sharing even the bad things is cathartic in a way. So I will get something posted up there soon.

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WElcome aboard!
:thumbup:
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This is how my Father shaved
This is how I shave.


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