Dollar Shave Club, the monthly razor delivery service that became an instant sensation in 2012 from a viral YouTube video, has since taken to new products to evolve its “BS-free” brand that CEO Michael Dubin sees as “helping guys live better lives.” The latest venture: a new men’s lifestyle site and expanded print product for subscribers.
Dollar Shave Club, which is based in Venice, California, is expanding its editorial content and hiring writers, Dubin said. “We totally see a huge opportunity to serve our customers both in print and online,” he said. Dubin declined to elaborate, but a LinkedIn job listing for an editorial intern position describes a “new men’s lifestyle site.” The coverage could include health and happiness, personal finance, sex and dating, the listing reads. Another job listing for vice president of content says the editorial mission statement will only be shared with “serious candidates.”
With $35,000 in his pocket, Dubin launched Dollar Shave Club on a simple mission – to sell and deliver razors at an affordable price. Since attracting 12,000 subscribers in the 48 hours after the 2012 YouTube debut, the company has grown to 1.5 million active subscribers and projects $140 million in revenue for 2015. It survived a hipster beard-pocalypse and now sells shaving cream, aftershave, wipes and recently launched a haircare line called Boogie’s.
By adding more editorial content, Dollar Shave Club aims to grow traffic to its site and on social media, providing more shareable posts on its Facebook page and Twitter and directing more casual consumers to the company’s site. “Content is king. I think it’s the direction a lot of retailers are going in,” said Marlene Morris Towns, a marketing professor at Georgetown University. “It gets people to pay attention to the lifestyle that surrounds your product.”
Selling these monthly subscriptions and other products has been driven by clever marketing, primarily through social media channels but also on television. Carlos Sanchez, 22, of New York, said he discovered Dollar Shave Club after seeing one of his friends "like" the company’s Facebook page, which now has more than 1.6 million likes. Sanchez said he was sold by the catchy ad.
Creating a larger magazine is a move the company’s competitors have taken. New York-based Harry’s started its razor delivery service in March 2013 and an online magazine that September. The oldest men’s retailer, Brooks Brothers, launched its online magazine, 1818, in September 2013, as well.
Currently, Dollar Shave Club sends a small print magazine, The Bathroom Minutes, in its monthly package to subscribers. The insert is filled with fun facts, member or employee spotlights and other lifestyle stories. Dubin has previously cited The Bathroom Minutes as an important part of creating a community of customers. Dollar Shave Club also has a daily blog, where the company answers customer questions on health and hygiene and also publishes content from The Bathroom Minutes.
Why wait on creating a larger content-driven site? Georgetown’s Towns suggested that the pause allowed the company to grow a substantial customer base and social media following. And now, Dollar Shave Club has more product to offer.
“They’ve done a great job easing into the social sphere,” Towns said. “It makes sense at this point that they can go more lifestyle and appeal to a broader range of consumers.”
Understanding and providing a community around men’s lifestyle is a topic that Dubin has been promoting since his company’s launch. Dubin said he has witnessed the trend of men being more comfortable discussing style and grooming products.
"Five years ago, people were throwing around the term metrosexual. It had somewhat of a feminine notion," Dubin said. "Now we have all men asking for style tips." This shift has supported his company's entry into other product markets. The recent popularity of beards -- which Dubin acknowledged was present around his headquarters in Venice and in the New York City borough of Brooklyn -- did not do much to affect his razor business either, he said.
"We think the beard trend is coming to an end," Dubin said.
Dubin said he sees the company's potential customers as the world. “Our guy is no different than men at large. I wouldn’t describe [our customer] any differently than the larger population of men.”