#1
Sorry Catie, but I don't mean your bubbles. Mens grooming is an exploding industry at the moment. Men are spending more on grooming and personal care than at any point in the past (at least, domestically) and companies are finding new and inventive ways to jump into the water. For shaving, traditional shaving has the glimmer of a "personal luxury." To be fair, millennial are making less than previous generations, and so "young degrees" are more drawn to luxury brands than previous generations (think Starbucks, Chipotle, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.). The challenge is that more young people than ever can't afford these "luxuries."
So let's talk about the bubble. Why do you think that mens grooming has been on such a rocket-ship trajectory in the past few years? Why are men now spending more on personal care than previous generations, do you think this trend extends across the board or is it centralized in a specific generation (Baby-Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millenials), and is there an end to the trend? Does the bubble burst? Or is this part of the new norm for mens grooming?

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#2

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
Hopefully, the bubble won't burst. Wet shaving definitely crosses all age groups. At 69, I am probably one of the older members here. However, I didn't start my wet shaving journey until about 10 years ago. We have folks in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond in the hobby so I think age is irrelevant.

The cost of wet shaving is really up to the individual. Blades, with the exception of straights, are inexpensive. Razors and soaps/creams come in all price ranges, as do pre and post shave products.

Lastly, we here at DFS, as well as people on other sites dedicated to our hobby, represent only one part of the wet shaving world. How many do it, have done it for years, and will continue to do it but are under the radar because they don't participate in the social network aspect of wet shaving?

Will the bubble burst? I certainly hope not and I think there are good reasons that it will never disappear entirely as long as we continue to shave.

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#3

Wet Shaving Beginner
Philadelphia
I personally joined in for the cost alone. Cartridge razor costs have skyrocketed, and I can't afford an 8 dollar blade that lasts 4 or 5 shaves before I started getting razor burn and ingrown hairs. And the solution to my problem (I thought) was trying dollar shave club. It was cartridges costing only 5$ a month. I used it once and never again after that. I had a terrible shave with razor burn, as if the blades weren't even sharp. Then I was researching wet shaving, torn between safety razors and straight razors. I must have watched well over 100 videos on YouTube ranging from straight and safety shaves, product reviews, etc. But then after a few days on here I made a decision and haven't looked back. I'm in it for the long haul, and long term savings. Also I feel as if I get a nostalgic experience when I shave, its weird to explain, but it has a cool historic factor to it.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

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Let the shaving begin!
#4

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(06-22-2015, 05:03 PM)EMTLocksmith Wrote: I personally joined in for the cost alone. Cartridge razor costs have skyrocketed, and I can't afford an 8 dollar blade that lasts 4 or 5 shaves before I started getting razor burn and ingrown hairs. And the solution to my problem (I thought) was trying dollar shave club. It was cartridges costing only 5$ a month. I used it once and never again after that. I had a terrible shave with razor burn, as if the blades weren't even sharp. Then I was researching wet shaving, torn between safety razors and straight razors. I must have watched well over 100 videos on YouTube ranging from straight and safety shaves, product reviews, etc. But then after a few days on here I made a decision and haven't looked back. I'm in it for the long haul, and long term savings. Also I feel as if I get a nostalgic experience when I shave, its weird to explain, but it has a cool historic factor to it.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

There is nothing weird about it.  I think many of us feel that way and enjoy that bridge to the past.  When I am using one of my vintage razors I always wonder about its history, who used it in the past, where it lived, etc.  I feel the same way about my vintage fountain pens.  I, for one, like that connection.

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#5
(This post was last modified: 06-22-2015, 05:25 PM by redrako.)
Superb question and a thoughtful response by Freddy.

I can only speak about the US and perhaps Europe, but Europe would have huge variances on a country-to-country basis. In the U.S. there has been a shift in recent decades that has thinned out the middle class placing some people in upper-middle class and upper-class while placing more folks in the lower-middle class and poor. (I'm using the model favored by economists of breaking the population into quintiles or fifths). Following the Great Depression, graphically the US population's economic status would have been shaped like a Diamond - with the greatest number of people being set in the middle. Starting in the 1980's and 90's that Diamond shape started to morph into more of an hourglass shape.

This shift would be reflected more in each new generation, so it would make sense that millennials would have less disposable income and boomers would have more disposable income. However there are other variables, the fact that people under financial pressure will occasionally look for special treats or a heard mentality where a self perpetuating momentum is generated.

Having said all of that, I think that wet shaving across generations has grown. Some like Freddy and myself, have memories of using DE's when we were younger and perhaps even brushes, creams and soaps. Yet all generations have at some point wondered if there wasn't a better way to shave than buying mega-overpriced pieces of plastic with thin metal blades attached and canned, chemical concoctions. Combine this desire of finding a better way with the advent of internet communities allowing them to find each other and we have a potent large, niche market.

It was not to many years ago when early shave forums conversation revolved around where to find shave soap, creams and brushes and how to navigate importing them to the US. Now there are many dozen online shave shops, perhaps even more soap artisans who have plunged into the wet shaving world. A recent Forbes article states that Catie's Bubbles is selling more $44,000 each month. I wonder how much Arko in Turkey is grossing? In my part of the world, I can go into a variety of Indian grocery stores and buy inexpensive, excellent Indian shave creams.

We have no way of knowing how many shavers are lathering with Arko, vs. how many are buying the latest Artisan offerings or how many folks are lathering with Omega or VDH brushes vs. more expensive brushes. I suspect that there are a lot more minimalist shavers out there than the conversation on wet shaving forums would indicate.

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Bob: 

Good Lather = More product + More Water + More Time lathering
#6
(06-22-2015, 05:23 PM)redrako Wrote: Superb question and a thoughtful response by Freddy.

I can only speak about the US and perhaps Europe, but Europe would have huge variances on a country-to-country basis.  In the U.S. there has been a shift in recent decades that has thinned out the middle class placing some people in upper-middle class and upper-class while placing more folks in the lower-middle class and poor.  (I'm using the model favored by economists of breaking the population into quintiles or fifths).  Following the Great Depression, graphically the US population's economic status would have been shaped like a Diamond - with the greatest number of people being set in the middle.  Starting in the 1980's and 90's that Diamond shape started to morph into more of an hourglass shape.

This shift would be reflected more in each new generation, so it would make sense that millennials would have less disposable income and boomers would have more disposable income.  However there are other variables, the fact that people under financial pressure will occasionally look for special treats or a heard mentality where a self perpetuating momentum is generated.

Having said all of that, I think that wet shaving across generations has grown.  Some like Freddy and myself, have memories of using DE's when we were younger and perhaps even brushes, creams and soaps.  Yet all generations have at some point wondered if there wasn't a better way to shave than buying mega-overpriced pieces of plastic with thin metal blades attached and canned, chemical concoctions.   Combine this desire of finding a better way with the advent of internet communities allowing them to find each other and we have a potent large, niche market.

It was not to many years ago when early shave forums conversation revolved around where to find shave soap, creams and brushes and how to navigate importing them to the US.  Now there are many dozen online shave shops, perhaps even more soap artisans who have plunged into the wet shaving world.  A recent Forbes article states that Catie's Bubbles is selling more $44,000 each month.  I wonder how much Arko in Turkey is grossing?  In my part of the world, I can go into a variety of Indian grocery stores and buy inexpensive, excellent Indian shave creams.  

We have no way of knowing how many shavers are lathering with Arko, vs. how many are buying the latest Artisan offerings or how many folks are lathering with Omega or VDH brushes vs. more expensive brushes.  I suspect that there are a lot more minimalist shavers out there than the conversation on wet shaving forums would indicate.

Myself and a colleague of mine were discussing this over lunch the other day, how many wet, traditional shavers do you think there are ? 

It's such a difficult number to come to even if we take all the people registered on forums like these and add them up that doesn't take into account the duplicate members spread over the various forums and what about all the people who just don't get involved in that way who survive on what they can turn up in their local store. In the UK there isn't much to choose from as far as brick and mortar stores but even in ASDA, Tesco or Sainsbury's you can get yourself a tube of Nivea or a Wilkinson Sword , Plamolive soap or stick ; hell even Sainsbury's have started selling the T&H No10 range. A Wilkinson Sword brush can be found very inexpensively as well, likewise the accompanying de razor they offer. I reckon I could get myself everything I need to get excellent shaves for less than £30 that would last me years from pre-shave to post-shave balm.
I think things have came full circle because of the way the mass global economy and business practices of monster companies like P&G operate, some of us have just did our reading and listening and we have realised that , no ; actually what is produced now for the mass market isn't what's best for us as consumers and for the environment with all these disposable plastic razors that are vastly over hyped and over priced giving not particularly good shaves but fortunately not very many per blade either. The foam in a can is the same it's the cheapest stuff they can get into a can for people to but onto their faces that doesn't provide any glide , slickness or protection ; which again probably won't be recycled either.
 I think people had just forgotten ( because of the prevalence mass marketing ) this could be an enjoyable thing to do and since we generally have to do it anyway, why not do it with soaps ,razors, balms , aftershaves that we enjoy and can feel are doing an appreciable difference to the health and look of our faces. Mass marketing has never been as powerful and effective or had the means to spread it's message to more people quicker in any other time in human history. Unfortunately for P&G etc the same medium has alerted people to the options there are now and boy are there plenty to choose from

They want to sell us their stuff and this guy ain't buying any more.

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#7

Administrator
Philadelphia, PA
(06-22-2015, 01:33 PM)Andyshaves Wrote: Sorry Catie, but I don't mean your bubbles. Mens grooming is an exploding industry at the moment. Men are spending more on grooming and personal care than at any point in the past (at least, domestically) and companies are finding new and inventive ways to jump into the water. For shaving, traditional shaving has the glimmer of a "personal luxury." To be fair, millennial are making less than previous generations, and so "young degrees" are more drawn to luxury brands than previous generations (think Starbucks, Chipotle, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.). The challenge is that more young people than ever can't afford these "luxuries."
So let's talk about the bubble. Why do you think that mens grooming has been on such a rocket-ship trajectory in the past few years? Why are men now spending more on personal care than previous generations, do you think this trend extends across the board or is it centralized in a specific generation (Baby-Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millenials), and is there an end to the trend? Does the bubble burst? Or is this part of the new norm for mens grooming?

I think most men were tired of a few things, 1 being the high cost to buy cartridge refills and 2 the terrible shave they generally offer up. unless your beard isn't coarse and you don't have different growth patterns, your shaves were typically pretty horrible - at least mine were.

I don't really agree with you though that the rebirth of traditional wet shaving isn't affordable. if people buy a product that works for them and limit their purchase to just that, the gear is very affordable and sustainable.

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Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
#8

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(06-22-2015, 11:24 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote:
(06-22-2015, 01:33 PM)Andyshaves Wrote: Sorry Catie, but I don't mean your bubbles. Mens grooming is an exploding industry at the moment. Men are spending more on grooming and personal care than at any point in the past (at least, domestically) and companies are finding new and inventive ways to jump into the water. For shaving, traditional shaving has the glimmer of a "personal luxury." To be fair, millennial are making less than previous generations, and so "young degrees" are more drawn to luxury brands than previous generations (think Starbucks, Chipotle, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.). The challenge is that more young people than ever can't afford these "luxuries."
So let's talk about the bubble. Why do you think that mens grooming has been on such a rocket-ship trajectory in the past few years? Why are men now spending more on personal care than previous generations, do you think this trend extends across the board or is it centralized in a specific generation (Baby-Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millenials), and is there an end to the trend? Does the bubble burst? Or is this part of the new norm for mens grooming?

I think most men were tired of a few things, 1 being the high cost to buy cartridge refills and 2 the terrible shave they generally offer up.  unless your beard isn't coarse and you don't have different growth patterns, your shaves were typically pretty horrible - at least mine were.

I don't really agree with you though that the rebirth of traditional wet shaving isn't affordable.  if people buy a product that works for them and limit their purchase to just that, the gear is very affordable and sustainable.

Very true, Andrew. It's just that in my case the willpower really sucks. Tongue

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#9

Administrator
Philadelphia, PA
(06-22-2015, 11:26 PM)Freddy Wrote:
(06-22-2015, 11:24 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote:
(06-22-2015, 01:33 PM)Andyshaves Wrote: Sorry Catie, but I don't mean your bubbles. Mens grooming is an exploding industry at the moment. Men are spending more on grooming and personal care than at any point in the past (at least, domestically) and companies are finding new and inventive ways to jump into the water. For shaving, traditional shaving has the glimmer of a "personal luxury." To be fair, millennial are making less than previous generations, and so "young degrees" are more drawn to luxury brands than previous generations (think Starbucks, Chipotle, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.). The challenge is that more young people than ever can't afford these "luxuries."
So let's talk about the bubble. Why do you think that mens grooming has been on such a rocket-ship trajectory in the past few years? Why are men now spending more on personal care than previous generations, do you think this trend extends across the board or is it centralized in a specific generation (Baby-Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millenials), and is there an end to the trend? Does the bubble burst? Or is this part of the new norm for mens grooming?

I think most men were tired of a few things, 1 being the high cost to buy cartridge refills and 2 the terrible shave they generally offer up.  unless your beard isn't coarse and you don't have different growth patterns, your shaves were typically pretty horrible - at least mine were.

I don't really agree with you though that the rebirth of traditional wet shaving isn't affordable.  if people buy a product that works for them and limit their purchase to just that, the gear is very affordable and sustainable.

Very true, Andrew.  It's just that in my case the willpower really sucks. Tongue

oh, buying wet shaving gear can become a serious addiction, FOR SURE. I think the only downfall to classic shaving is the testing needed to find the right combination that'll work for your shaves. This is why I typically recommend very common gear that seems to be well regarded in the community: astra sp blades, merkur razors, shaving cream (easier to lather for newbies IMHO) and a decent brush.

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Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
#10
Very simple on my end. First, I wanted a closer shave that I couldn't get with a cartridge. Secondly, it was cheaper to buy safety razor blades than cartridges.

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