Friction Free Shaving
To our knowledge, we are the only razor delivery service in the UK designed exclusively for women. We deliver razors and replacement blades through customers' letterboxes each month in return for a modest monthly subscription. The blades arrive via Royal Mail and P&P is built into the sale price.
The flexibility of the service enables customers to cancel or pause the subscription at any time, which has given us a customer retention rate of over 90%. Customers can choose from three types of razors and blades, paying £3, £5 or £7 per month. The prices reflect the number of blades per cartridge and handle type. Payment is by Direct Debit or Credit Card.
When a customer signs up she receives a high quality metal handle and four replacement blades – enough for a fresh one each week. She’ll then receive four new blades a month plus a complimentary new handle every year. Our cleverly designed, discrete boxes fit through any letterbox - so never need to be signed for.
Our most popular razor: the rose gold “Samantha” model (£7 per month):
Recent press coverage highlighted the unfair costs of women’s razors. A major retail brand was found to charge women twice as much as men for a pack of 10 disposable razors with the only apparent difference being that they were pink! High street chemists have had to respond to “sexist pricing” by changing their razor prices, resulting in considerable negative publicity for these traditional routes to market.
We help women to have an affordable, clean shave with a sharp razor whenever they want. Whilst a branded pack of four razor refills retails on the high street for as much as £12.99, Friction Free Shaving starts at just £3 per month. For this the customer receives a handle plus four fresh cartridges - sent directly to their door. That’s less than the price of a large cappuccino!
All our razors are made of metal, rather than plastic – so have a heavyweight and quality feel to them, as well as being contoured for a better grip. These features have been widely commented on by customers, and compare favorably with the high street, where women’s razors tend to be made out of plastic. Ours also come in a range of colours, rather than just pink – something many women now find uninspiring and predictable.
Our "Faye" model (£3 per month):
Research has shown that 75% of women experience irritation on their legs, underarms or bikini after shaving. Blunt blades cause razor burn/rash because they require more pressure than a sharp blade. But expensive and over-complicated high street brands put many women off changing their blades as often as they should.
We make it easy and affordable for women to get that clean feeling from shaving with a new razor every time they shave. Our razors have Aloe Vera lubricating strips, wide rubber guard bars and stainless steel blades. But we cut out the middle man by sending direct to their door, so not only do our customers notice a difference in quality, they also notice the difference in price
"Frankie" model (£5 per month):
Substantial accomplishments to date
Since launching in November 2015, Friction Free Shaving has:
• Over 150 active paying customers, with fewer than 10% cancellations.
• Currently developing a shave cream to sell later this year.
• Purchased the memorable domain www.ffs.co.uk.
• Made bespoke branded boxes slim enough to fit through any letterbox.
• Purchased 8k branded metal razor handles and 14k packs of blades.
• Set up a logistics operation and back office to fulfill orders.
• Sent our first customer e-newsletter which had an ‘open rate’ of 60%.
• Had positive reviews from many beauty bloggers.
• Been featured in Stylist magazine and the Sun newspaper
We are now looking to quickly grow the brand and subscriber numbers with the spring and summer months around the corner, aiming for 2120 subscribers by December 2016 with a year 1 growth rate of 32%. This will enable us to make the most of our first mover advantage as, to the best of our knowledge, the UK's only monthly razor subscription service designed exclusively for women.
– Subscription model –
We make a profit from every customer, every month, on each of the three razors. The profit margin will increase significantly from month two onwards, when we are only posting out blades and not a handle. Since sign-ups are only by recurring payment, the income stream each month is recurring and predictable, with fewer than 10% cancellations to date. As numbers are expected to grow each month, this leads to a ‘snowball’ effect, as last month’s customers roll over to the next month, with new advertising and customer referrals then further growing the subscriber numbers.
– Additional products –
We plan to develop and ‘up-sell’ related cosmetic products. We believe the most profitable way to do this is to develop them ourselves from scratch, rather than sell other brands. We have already begun the development of the first of these, which is a ladies shave cream containing Manuka honey, Shea butter and coconut oil. This is being independently developed in the UK and will be ready to add to our customers boxes this summer. We feel the shave cream will perfectly complement our razors, and provide a further revenue stream for the business. We are also looking at developing further products, including an after shave balm/moisturiser and an anti-aging cream, and a portion of the funds from this crowdfunding campaign will help towards their development costs.
– Advertisement –
We also predict a further revenue stream from placing adverts for other products in our boxes; for example, a female beauty brand may wish to place a discount voucher for their product in our boxes, which they know will go directly into the homes of many thousands of beauty conscious women. This will be a passive revenue stream once we reach several thousand customers. We are also actively pursuing a joint venture with another female monthly subscription box, which would allow us to market to their significant customer base.
Use of proceeds
£50k Founder investment has paid for initial stock, creation of the brand and development of the website. Therefore, this crowdfunding investment will be used for three important activities:
• A referral program, to encourage and reward existing customers for getting their friends and family to sign up.
• A marketing, advertising and communications campaign, primarily through social media, where our cost per customer acquisition is low.
• A PR campaign to ensure our brand is featured in women’s magazines and the national press.
These activities should help us to build our brand as an asset as well as to enable the company to work better over time, ultimately making us more efficient.
The target market for Friction Free Shaving is women who use razors as their hair removal choice and are fed up with paying the expensive prices on the high street. They will also typically like the convenience of having essentials sent to their home and be used to monthly subscription models. These women will have a computer or phone at their disposal to sign up for Friction Free Shaving (our website has been optimized to work on mobile, where a majority of online purchases are now made).
An initial business validation survey of employees at Natwest/RBS in September 2015 showed that 75% of respondents were open to trying a different brand of razor. 87% also said they would change their blades more frequently if they were cheaper. This suggests that consumers are not brand loyal to competing, more expensive, high street brands.
We have identified several key customer segments that are particularly receptive to our business model and offering:
• Those who lead busy lives; because the subscription eliminates the need to buy them on the high street.
• Mums, who are more frequently enjoying the convenience of purchasing online and often manage hair removal at home.
• Students at university; since they typically don’t have cars (so the delivery element is attractive) and are price sensitive as well as being comfortable with technology and purchasing monthly subscriptions.
• Competitive sports women; those more likely to wear swimwear and play competitive sports are more likely to use razors.
All of these customer segments are strongly reflected in our current active subscribers.
Characteristics of target market
The UK shaving and hair removal market is currently valued at £650 million a year (Mintel), with 92% of women and 70% of men removing hair from their body.
Wet shaving is the most commonly used method for hair removers, with three quarters of those who remove hair choosing wet shaving. Of those, 77% conduct this activity at home.
This shows that there is a significant market for women’s razors and replacement blades and supports our business model of sending them directly to customer’s homes. The same report shows that Gillette “Venus” alone had a 12% market share of all razors and sales of £42.6 million in 2014.
The subscription box model is now well established, with brand leaders such as Graze and Birchbox. Some of the most successful businesses are marketed at women, with boxes such as Pink Parcel having an exclusively female customer base. All this shows that the subscription model is something that the market is already very familiar with and has adopted widely.
At Friction Free Shaving we want to grow our social media presence quickly and we have already been featured in a wide number of beauty blogs as well as a national newspaper. With the spring and summer around the corner, when women tend to shave more, we plan to drive sales by:
1) Creating awareness through PR, sponsored social media activity such as paid for adverts on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to a carefully selected female audience, and experiential entertainment (events that use entertainment to engage with consumers). Our PR focus will be on product placement in women’s magazines and websites, as well as business profiling with national news, beauty and fashion print and digital publications. We are also actively pursuing, beauty blogger engagement and sponsored YouTube channel reviews.Our first attempt at this was with a YouTube beauty blogger with 12,000 monthly viewers – we felt it was so professionally produced that we put it on the front page of our website to help boost sales even further.
2) We are also actively pursuing a Joint Venture with another female monthly subscription box. They have already sent samples of our products to 100 of their customers selected at random to gain feedback on both the product and closeness of the two brands. The initial results have been extremely positive and we are expecting this will lead to future joint marketing and advertising to new customers, as well as sponsored offers and discounts in their boxes to existing customers.
3) A number of women’s magazines have approached us looking to run a special ‘reader offer’ to profile FFS to their readership, and we are looking to select several key publications to exponentially grow the brand with over the summer months.
There are a very limited number of providers of women’s razors in the market. As far as we know currently there is also no online competition offering a monthly delivery service to women in the UK.
The competitors in the market sell their products in retail outlets or online stores for a much higher price than Friction Free Shaving. In terms of retail, Gillette owns the largest market share for women’s razors with their leading model the “Venus”.
There are other razor subscription boxes in the UK but to our knowledge they are all predominantly aimed at men, with only a couple offering a female option. These appear to be afterthoughts on websites otherwise entirely targeted at men. By contrast, our brand is completely female-focused and our website, products, packaging and tone of voice all reflect this unique foothold in the market.
Our main high street competitor is Gillette's "Venus" which is available in high street stores. They are much more expensive than ours, sometimes double the price of our comparable razors.
An online competitor would be the Close Shave Society, a men's razor subscription box that has one razor targeted at women called The Brazilian. It is a 5 blade, blue and green razor that they provide for £6 a month. It sits midway between our £5 and £7 model, but it is made of plastic and seems an afterthought on a website otherwise entirely dedicated to men.
Due to the overwhelming success of subscription services for women in the UK and internationally, we fully expect that there will be emerging competition. We believe that by being first to the female market, we have gained a foothold which other ‘me too’ brands will find difficult to overcome. This investment will strengthen our foothold in the market.
Our customers also tend to be loyal and love our brand, and we want to capitilise on this goodwill by implementing a strong referrals programme to encourage (and reward) them for recommending us to their friends.