Shaving is like a rite of passage for young adolescents worldwide; we get our first hair and immediately react as if we’ve had a forest growing around our neck for the past fifteen years. But let’s be honest, it’s more like a weed poking through a patio floor.
Nevertheless, we grabbed our razors and hacked away at the tiny hair. And of course, a bloodbath ensues as we didn’t know how to use razors properly then. There’s a good chance that the first razor a man picks up might be a Gillette razor, as was his fathers and his fathers.
The company was founded in 1901, so it has a solid heritage and years of honing its craft. In this brand guide, we’re going to explore the Gillette brand, what it stands for and give you our recommendations for the best Gillette products to stock on your shelves.
The company and brand originated in the 1900s when salesman and inventor King Camp Gillette came up with the idea of a safety razor that used disposable blades. At the time, safety razors were pieces of short razor strapped to a handle and had to straightened and polished before every shave and sharpened by a cutler at some point.
The design took six years to manufacture, as it took Gillette some time to find someone that could manufacture blades from thin sheet steel. The company also struggled to get funding until an investor came along and gave Gillette the money to start production.
The company began producing razors in 1903 and recorded sales of 51 razors and 168 blades. The following year they sold 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades! In 1904, the company started to expand worldwide and had premises in London, Mexico, Paris and Canada.
During the early 1920s, Gillette strengthened its heritage by providing razors to the U.S Army, as it was stated that all soldiers must provide their shaving kits. However, production waned in the Second World War when markets were cut off, and their factories were used to support the war effort.
After the war, Gillette diversified, and TV advertising was a big part of this; they also bought a few other companies and opened new factories while modernising others.
If you watched the video, did people used to shave outside with their wing mirror?!
In the 1960s, we started to see a development something like what we see today when the twin-blade razor was released. However, there was some uncertainty about how successful the blade would be because of the scrubbing motion it created.
In the 70s, Gillette had to compete in the disposable market when company Bic tried to take their disposable razor worldwide. Gillette got on board but soon when back to pushing their twin-blade razors when profits dipped.
In the 90s, Gillette owned half of the U.S. market and in 1998 introduced a three-blade razor, the Mach3. As a response, Wilkinson Sword released the Quattro, a four-blade razor, but Gillette would continue to hold two-thirds of the wet razor market worldwide.
Gillette would be bought by Procter & Gamble in 2005, which made them the worlds biggest consumer goods providers. In 2010, they’d release the Gillette Fusion, a five-blade razor that reached $1 billion in sales faster than any P&G product.
Who knows what will come next? If we can take the evilution of razor blades into account, a six-blade razor perhaps?
Having been in the shaving business for over 100 years, you’d expect Gillette to know a lot about the finer points of shaving – and they rarely disappoint. You only have to look at one of their product descriptions to see this:
Gillette has plenty of resources on their website about shaving as well, from shaving guides to ingredient glossaries and how to shave when you have skin problems. Gillette has even created a heated razor that mimics the feel of a hot towel shave.
Gillette’s founding philosophy was based on affordability. Men in the 1900s had to visit barbershops or buy traditional blades. Gillette wanted to bring the convenience of a quality shave into the home, and that’s what he set out to do with the original safety razor. While Gillette hasn’t always been the most affordable razor on the market, they recently responded to feedback and lowered its prices.
Gillette has always been one of the most prominent players in the shaving market, and it’s the trust in their products that took them there. The company has always been at the front when it comes to innovation and has released many pioneering products over the years. Their marketing has always played a big part in this, and in the early 00s, they had a star line up of Roger Federer, Thierry Henry and Tiger Woods. As a teenager, these ads made me want a beard!
In recent years Gillette has changed its brand position to reflect something more accepting and socially responsible, as you’ll see in their ad where a father helps his transgender son to shave. Some of their initiatives include:
The Gillette Fusion Proglide was released in 2010. It has FlexBall technology that responds to contours of the face for uncompromising closeness and comfort. With its blades spaced closely together for incredible comfort and a precision trimmer on the back, it gives the ultimate close shave.
The classic. The legendary Mach3 razor. Released in 1998, it was the first razor to include 3-blade technology that gave an even smoother and closer shave. Gillette was so secretive about its creation that they put plywood around the production lines to prevent employees from learning about it. While there are other 3-blade systems on the market now, Gillette was the true pioneer, and the razor is still popular today.
Gillette Fusion is a 5-blade razor that was released in 2006. The razor has five blades on the front and one precision-cutting razor on the back, ideal for shaping or trimming. Thierry Henry, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods fronted this razor, and it remains popular 16 years after its release.
While we’ve seen a complete halt in most forms of travelling over the past four months, we expect it’ll start to pick up over the next few months as people are desperate to get away now. Give your customers the ultimate convenience with a Gillette travel shaving and tooth care kit, ideal for travelling within the UK or outside of the UK.
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