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IN CONVERSATION WITH DERRICK WEBB OF BOLIN WEBB
Design excellence is the cornerstone of Bolin Webb. They aim to conceive and develop razors and accessories that stand out in terms of appearance, handling, and performance. Derrick Webb started with a simple idea: to create a razor that would be a pleasure to use. At the time, ten years ago, shaving tools were for the most part available on the high street in supermarkets and pharmacies, and they focused on cheap construction and differing levels of blade performance. Some more traditional and expensive “gentlemen” razors with wood and chrome handles were also available in specialty shops.
No razor was available that was design-led, contemporary and appealing to the user for handling, appearance, and performance. Derrick saw the opportunity to create a razor handle that was distinctive and eye-catching – something you would like to see on your bathroom shelf as well as use – not something to hide after your shave. The initial R1 razor was conceived as a razor to enjoy, and this ethos carries across all their range today. Over the past 10 years they've extended the Bolin Webb brand to all continents, looking to make products available to those with an eye for design.
In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Derrick Webb, Founder of Bolin Webb about the founding story of his men's shaving brand which he launched 10 years ago. With a background in manufacturing, he had the skills to bring his new razor product idea to market. Our host Peter Brooker and Derrick talked about exporting to new markets, design, and innovation, working with product designers, raising capital for growth, pitching to investors, how men's shaving has changed over the past decade, product pricing, and their recent Mr Slowboy collaboration.
“Last year we celebrated a 10-year anniversary. That time has passed very quickly. I first launched the product into the UK market to begin with. I've got a background in manufacturing, so I know how to bring a product idea to market and get it made. And that was really a key part of my journey in the early days. I could really come to terms with what it takes to do business in a different country, how to work with different cultures not just in a business term, but also in understanding markets, understanding people, and communicating with them. We now export about 80% of our product into different markets across the world. The idea of a razor handle dropped into my lap when I was on a skiing holiday. When you rent somewhere, it's pretty devoid of personal effects. I walked into the shower room and all I saw was a really nasty looking old razor of mine and I thought, why am I punishing myself with this old tool? That’s when I saw an opportunity to bring something which was more design-led and more appealing to the eye with aspiration, and there was nothing in the market like it at the time.”
This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 158 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Derrick Webb, Founder of bolinwebb.com. You can listen to the full version on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.
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