Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield are two guys trying to save some face. Well, faces is more like it. They're the men behind Harry's, the recent start-up that's taking the grooming world by storm. The premise is simple: two types of handles designed with ergonomics and simplicity in mind, high-quality German blades and a superior shaving cream, all at a great price. It's no secret that replacement blades can often feel like a giant rip-off but at Harry's, they cost $2 each at most. Balancing pragmatism and attractive design isn't new to a guy like Jeff Raider—he was one of the founders of eyewear revolutionaries Warby Parker. Harry's is also socially-conscious, their "Give A Shave" program helps out community organizations. We chatted with the founders about the perfect shave, the quality of their blades and why Harry's is one scheme that isn't so "hairbrained."
Jeff: We love our customers and we find it really valuable to interact with them directly and develop personal relationships with them. Their feedback helps us to continue to be better. We do see opportunity to expand to retail over time, but our website will always be our flagship store.
Andy: There's no substitute for a real barbershop shave. Barbers are one of the best ways for a guy to get grooming (and life) advice. Guys just don't usually go to the barbershop every day, and through Harry's we wanted to help guys with some high quality products that they can use when they're not getting a barber shave and some sound advice for how to use those products.
Jeff: In designing our handles, we started by looking at everyday tools that men like to use, such as pens and knives. We found that the items we admired were ergonomic and elegantly designed. We took on the charge of trying to make razor handles that would have some of those same attributes.
Andy: For us, it was extremely important for Harry's razors to be simple yet effective. We love clean design and wanted our product to respect our guy's discerning eye.
Andy: We partnered with this amazing 90-year-old company to make our blades. It is in a region of Germany known for producing fine knives and is not too far from some of the more illustrious German automotive manufacturers. They have people there who have literally spent decades figuring out how to hone steel into sharper and stronger blades. The secret to a great blade is that it's strong at the base and sharp at the tip. Our German friends describe the shape to be like the gothic arch at a church.
Jeff: We find that most men over-invest in blades and under-invest in shaving cream, so we worked hard to create a high-quality shaving cream like that which you'd find at a boutique, but offer it at an affordable price.
Andy: Many other shave creams on the market do not continue to moisturize after the shave. The Harry's shave cream is formulated with ingredients that you would find in a luxury skincare product—extracts from licorice, milk thistle and cucumber cool the skin, Vitamins E and B5 protect the skin, and marula and coconut oils continue to sooth the skin after you shave.
Andy: A lot of guys neglect the pre-shave ritual. You should start by softening your beard with warm water; I like to start with a hot shower. Then spend a little extra time working the lather into your beard and let it sit for a minute. After shaving, you should close up your pores with a splash of cold water. This really helps prevent breakouts and helps to soothe irritation. If you do use aftershave (I don't), make sure you find one that is alcohol-free. Alcohol dries out your face.
Jeff: Shave with the grain always and everywhere. I used to get razor burn, until I went to a barber for a shave and asked him about it. He showed me how to "map my face", which indicated that my hair grows in different directions in different spots. Turns out, I was doing this all wrong and it was irritating my face. Changing that completely changed my shaving experience for the better.