I recently read this Natural Foods Merchandiser article on how four different retailers are managing to not only survive, but thrive, in a challenging economy.

To me, it boiled down to three distinct strategies:
•    Variety in price points
•    Variety in selection
•    Manage greed

Tough economy aside, all of these business tactics bode well for consumers as well as independent businesses like Pacific Shaving that are attempting to bring new ideas and improved products to market. My thoughts on these three approaches and why they work:

Variety in price points:
From my experience, when retailers see diminishing sales in a category, the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s got to be the price. Lower it. Fast.

I don’t think it’s that simple. Retailers like City Market/Onion City Co-op realize that their shoppers cross all lines of spending across the value sale-to-quality product spectrum. Even Whole Foods understands that people are more likely to splurge on some items if they feel they are able to get others at a discount.

This is not to put the full burden of selling on the retailer. Their role in the supply chain is distribution. It is the brand/marketer’s job to do the heavy lifting and demonstrate to the right consumer why the right product is worth paying more for. This isn’t just using price as proof of efficacy – it’s the opposite.]

Variety in selection:
This one is really easy: If a retailer doesn’t offer variety, it’s a matter of time until its customers will find another, more exciting store to shop in. Native Roots Market co-owner Matt Runkle nailed it when he said, “I kicked out Kettle Chips completely, except for the party-size salted chips, because if you can find them everywhere, they’re not going to bring someone here. And worse, customers will go to Target, see it for a $1.50 less, and be like, ‘Wow, Native Roots is expensive!’”

Personally, nothing frustrates me more than seeing a store that feels like it needs to carry three full shelves of Edge or Fusion shaving cream and allocates only six inches of space (or less) for brands like Pacific Shaving Company. Argh.

Yawn...

Taking that idea to a whole different level is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market stores, a retailer that sells close-outs at a discounted price. As a result, their selection is always changing. Hard work for the buyer, but an awesome treasure hunt for the shopper at every visit. Plus, there’s the pressure of ‘better stock up if you find a product you love – who knows if they will carry it again!’

Manage greed
Sunflower Markets was one of the retailers that really seemed to get the idea that to make retail work, the whole supply chain needs to act as a unified front – not with competing interests and all looking to squeeze as much margin as possible out of every register ring. Kudos to Sunflower for realizing sometimes it is in all of our best interest to sharpen our own pencils. If no one budges, it ultimately comes at the expense of the independent manufacturers, or the consumers. And both will ultimately move on.

Overall, it’s nice to see these trend-forward retailers demonstrating that customer-centric business sense and transparency can be drivers of growth within their stores. They deserve it.

-Stan

Bruuuce.

February 3, 2012

The bumper sticker on my car.

Let’s take a break from shaving to talk about something way more important:

Bruce Springsteen tickets went on sale today for San Jose, CA!

For me, the moment I became a fan was when I was 13. (Long before I had shaving on my mind.) A counselor at a summer camp popped in a cassette of Greetings from Asbury Park and I heard the first few bars of “Blinded by the Light.” That was all it took.

After 28 years, dozens of Springsteen shows, (and unfortunately the passing of two original E Streeters), this show is going to be different for me. It is now officially time to show my kids what it’s all about. That’s right. My wife and I are taking the whole tribe to the show, including our three kids, ages 5-10.

Yes, there is definitely the “fan” in me who wants to be able to brag (and hopes his kids will do the same someday) that their first concert was Bruce Springsteen. But there is another part of me that wants my kids to experience true passionate rock musicianship. Not a manufactured, teen-pop star-of-the-month show, or a last-hurrah tour by a once great band trying to squeeze every last dollar from a 90-minute set of its greatest hits. No. A real performer; someone who didn’t do it for the paycheck when he started – and doesn’t need to do it for the paycheck now. As far as I can tell, Bruce’s fortune and success (and hopefully happiness) all appear to be a bi-products of simply following his passion for music and lots and lots of hard work. There’s got to be a teaching moment in there somewhere for the kids. After the show. From a very hoarse-sounding dad.

PS: I read once that Bruce used to perform 5+ hour shows because he would just keep playing until he was just physically too tired to go on. I believe it. It’s in his blood. Watch this early video and you can begin to get a sense of the pull he hadhas. (Among the stream of girls who continually crash the stage throughout the song to get a piece of the Boss, I love the 2:35 mark when one simply just wants to touch his hand and then quietly gets shuffled back into the crowd.) Classic.

-Stan

PPS: One small rant: TicketMaster is a bunch of criminals. Can some Sean Parker Napster-wannabee please come and put them out of business?

Moisture Maximization

December 16, 2011

For years I’ve been puzzling over a simple, but very real conundrum: how to keep my just-shaved skin soft and smooth all day; how to maintain that supple, baby-butt sensation through the wear and tear of everyday living.

It seems my problem has been solved . . . and then some.

Leave it to the minds behind the ultimate shave to create the ultimate coordinating moisturizer. This stuff is the real deal — light, super hydrating and subtly scented (men, this means never again leaving the bathroom in a cloud of “morning rain” or “Irish fields”).

You can use this moisturizer anywhere you shave while ingredients like green tea and acai fruit extract deliver antioxidants for increasingly healthy skin.

Moisture maximization!

- Marisa

Last Thursday a world record was set for the largest number of men simultaneously shaving with the same model electric razor (the Panasonic Lamdash, if you’re curious).

The event took place in Suita, Osaka Prefecture in Japan as well as in Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei. After refraining from shaving for 24 hours, about 2,000 men turned on their shavers at 12:25 and ran them for one minute.

“It was a fresh experience for me to shave outside,” said Yu Murata, a university student from Suita.

Via The Japan Times

- Marisa

30 days to a greener life!

We are really proud to be part of Project Green Challenge, an incredible initiative empowering young people to shift the way they live their lives — in just 30 days.

Each day, PGC presents participants with a challenge — to change the way they use precious resources or to reconsider a habitual way of doing something.

We challenge people everywhere to reconsider the way they shave: to think about the life of their razor blades; to consider the ingredients used in their shaving products and to look at the packaging used to house those products. It’s easier than ever to green your daily shave.

We can help.

Though we may have made it through the thick of the ZZ-top lumberjack look carried by many an urban hipster, beards are still where it’s at.

We remain deep in “the Postmillennial He-Man Beard Epoch.” Yup. Alex Williams of the Times said so last week. And as a denizen of Brooklyn, the heart of bearded trendiness, I feel equipped to nod in agreement with Williams as he speaks of his surprisingly positive experiences walking the streets with his new facial hair (he grew his first beard accidently at 41):

“In the eyes of young, cool New York, I had unwittingly shaved 10 years off my age by not shaving. I was getting carded at nightclubs. Tattooed young women working the register at coffee shops no longer called me “sir.” At downtown parties, I invariably found myself huddled in the corner with bearded guys in their 20s, talking about the new Fleet Foxes album or the best way to get past the velvet rope at the Box. I was a member of a tribe.”

But like most trends, the hirsute look is doomed to over-saturation, to a played out demise.

Even if I don’t abandon the beard in the next year or two, everyone else might. At some point, the beard is destined to go the way of the trucker hat. (The fact that beards have their own coming reality series, “Whisker Wars” on IFC, might indicate that they are about to go mainstream, thus lose their edge.) And there’s never any question when a beard moment is over. The last time around, it was the precise moment that Kenny Loggins went solo in 1976.

So, to the bushily bearded, the perfectly scruffy, those who favor a five o’clock shadow or a simple goatee, now is your moment to shine. Get out there and rock it — because soon you’ll want to shave it.

- Marisa

Love that a “Bureau” actually did research on this . . .

The Elias Sports Bureau followed the careers of three professional athletes to see if shaving routinely improved the way they played. The players in question: Johnny Damon, Freddy Garcia and Swisher.

The results:  Damon averaged nine more stolen bases clean-shaven, and nearly all of his career highs have come beardless; Garcia’s career ERA with facial hair is 4.34, shaved it is reduced to 3.60; and Swisher also has better numbers when clean shaven.

There you have it.

Via bleacherreport.com

A Shaving Celebration

May 27, 2011

Judging by the popularity of Movember and other hairy fundraisers, men certainly jump at the chance to let themselves go grow out their beards.

I’m digging this beard-shaving celebration in honor of the Jewish holiday Lag B’Omer, described by the minds at Jewcy like this:

“If you’ve never heard about Lag B’Omer it’s all about joy. In a period of mourning it’s the breath of fresh air, the “Adult Swim” to the Omer pool party.”

A bunch of joyful Jews recently gathered in LA to celebrate with “a bonfire, music, and hair removal.” After 33 days of growing out their beards, the hirsute came together to rid themselves of their fur.

“We held a joyous party that was an homage to Hair. From playing songs to telling funny stories about our experiences with hair. We even trimmed a few beards at our shave station.”

Nice.

Wishing all a happy Lag B’Omer and many joyful clean-shaven days!

- Marisa

We’ve been inspired by Budweiser’s  “Grow One, Save a Million” campaign,  which asks guys to save water by not shaving.

The way we see it, you can save water AND remain clean-shaven by skipping your usual beers between now and World Environment Day (June 5).

In 2009, Budweiser sold over 10 billion gallons of beer — that’s a lot of water.

Pacific Shaving’s Clean Cut, Clean Living initiative encourages beer drinkers to save about 24 ounces of water each week by simply having a couple less frosty ones.

Visit our Facebook page  (http://www.facebook.com/PacificShaving) to make the pledge. For every pledge made between now and June 5 we’ll plant a tree with our partner Tress for the Future.

Less beer, more water!

- Marisa

Feeling Electric

May 10, 2011

Yes. The answer is a clear and enthusiastic (and super moisturizing) yes.

Yes, you can use our shaving oil with an electric razor. Though I’m partial to a traditional razor, often imagining myself — if I were to ever come back in the body of a hirsute gentleman — fearlessly shaving with a straight razor, I understand the appeal of the electric. It’s safe, it’s clean, it’s rechargeable.

Using shaving oil as a pre-electric shave conditioner softens the hair and helps the blades move over the skin with minimal friction (and minimal pulling and tugging). Shave oil also moisturizes the skin.

If that’s not a hair removal win-win, I’m not sure what is.

Happy spring shaving,

Marisa

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