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The Razor’s Edge: Takes on the Shaving Market

Clifton D. Petty, Kelley Still Nichols
January 1, 2018
North America
Strategy & General Management
13 pages
strategy, Market Disruption, Pricing Strategy, Competitive Positioning, process innovation
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

For nearly a century, the men’s shaving products market was dominated by two brands-Gillette and Schick. and Dollar Shave Club (DSC) disrupted this quiet market in 2011. Using humorous marketing and a direct-to-consumer subscription model of distribution, DSC grew to a $200 million company in five years. was launched soon after and had over 100,000 subscribers within their first year. founders had experience building a direct-to-consumer eyewear brand and built on this experience to position in the men’s shaving market. Purchase of a German blade factory gave the company a solid foundation for defining the brand by quality. However, Unilever, a major global company with personal brands like Axe, acquired fellow “disruptor” DSC. The CEO faced several options such as competing as the remaining independent company or seeking a favorable acquisition.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Identify disruption in an established industry caused by a process innovation.
  2. Evaluate the impact of a new entrant in a consolidated industry.
  3. Discuss the strategic tradeoffs of a focus cost leadership strategy based on subscription service.
  4. Evaluate the competitive positioning of incumbent firms (Gillette and Schick), new entrant through acquisition (Unilever-DSC), and remaining disruptor/innovator (Harry’