At a random party, Michael Dubin, then 31, and Mark Levine, were discussing what Levine should do with 250,000 razors he had amassed from a failed business.
They discussed the typical frustrations of the American man. The poor dude has to go to the store, find the razor ‘fortress’, ask for the key, and pay a small fortune for a pack of blades. What if they were heroes and offered razors on subscription for a mere $1 a month?
Of course they were. Dubin quit his marketing job and the pair co-founded Dollar Shave Club.
It was time to announce it—on YouTube. Using $4,500 in savings and his background in improvised comedy, Dubin cast himself in a hilarious video. Entitled “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”, it quickly went viral. Within 2 days, he had 12,000 orders! The site crashed, he ran out of inventory, and frantically enlisted friends to help fulfill orders.
Sales soared from $4m in 2012 to over $200m in 2017. They launched new products and turned into a full-scale men’s club, talking guys through the “shit, shower and shave” routine. Dubin continued to make hilarious videos, like “Let’s talk about #2”—introducing men’s butt wipes.
With 51% of the shaving market compared to Gillette’s 21.2%, the inevitable happened. Unilever snapped them up for a cool 1 billion—A steal. On the day of the sale, Dubin told his 250 employees “Congratulations, you just bought Unilever”—and vowed to remain free spirited.
Michael Dubin in his first video.
I’ve recently encountered so many startups that think they’re addressing an actual need or pain point, while in reality their offering is “nice-to-have” at best. Uncovering an actual need requires digging deep into the customer’s habits and recognizing the hassles, which most of the time are invisible due to Habituation. Google it.
© Story by Tarek Issa.