Meet Jeff Raider, serial entrepreneur and impeccably well-shaved man, who is on a crusade to show that men’s razors can be sleek, trendy, unlikely bastions of the freedom of choice.
Jeff’s beloved grooming start-up, Harry’s, brings stiff competition into a razor market monopolized by Gilette and Schick (which, together, own 85% of a market worth $2.4 billion). As a bold first move, Harry’s—at the time only a 10-months old start up—purchased a 93 year-old German razor factory for $122.5 million. It was a crucial step toward vertical integration, allowing Harry’s to shave down the costs of its blades and compete with its monolith competitors.
“People should know that a new option out there,” Jeff explains. “Hopefully that’s empowering.”
What’s your most audacious life goal?
I want to change the way that companies interact with the world.
Is that Harry’s legacy?
Hopefully! I want to change the definition of success for companies. Our mission is to do good for four key stakeholders. First, we want to do good for our team, giving our employees an experience they could never have anywhere else. Second, we want to help our customers by giving them an experience that improves their lives. Three, we want to do good for our investors, and make a positive impact for them. Fourth, we want to have an impact on the community. We are thinking of how the global mission of our company can provide the community good.
What do you see as your main impact on the community?
We want to provide to everyone with a better choice. For a long time, people have had very little choice around what products they want to buy. There are a couple big brands that dominate the industry, and you’re forced to buy those products. We want to deliver exceptionally high quality products, and combine it with a great value—we’re half the price of anything else out there. People should know that a new choice exists! Hopefully that’s empowering.
What’s the main challenge in a business like this?
Making really good razor blades. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do. The magic is in the way that you grind this really fine steel into this really sharp edge. There are only a couple companies in the world that know how to make it. It took us six months to find a company in Germany that made razors that we’d love to sell, so we bought that factory. It was so elemental to our business. It’s humbling how hard it is to make amazing products.
Why razors? Is there a personal story behind it?
It was definitely a pain point we felt personally. Andy and I had been close friends for 10 years, one day he called me after waiting ten minutes for someone at a drug store to unlock case for all the razors. The products and the packaging didn’t appeal to him. He thought the experience was painful and it should be made better. He called me and said: let’s take what you learned at Warby Parker and apply it to shaving. So we did.
Any great leadership tips?
Try to be decisive. And once you make a decision, communicate it. Nothing works if you’re not being super honest or open about your decisions.
What’s your next big project?
I’ve always thought of a career in blocks of a few years each. With Harry’s, though, that’s dissipated for me. I just see myself doing this for a long, long time. I care about it a lot and would love the opportunity to have big impact on world.
What is something no one knows about you?
I am a really awesome builder of sandcastles.
Jeffrey Raider is an IVY Thought Leader. To learn more about IVY, please visit www.ivy.com.