The quest for a female Dollar Shave Club may be a new startup called Billie. Founded by an ad executive and the brother-in-law of a Warby Parker founder, Billie is a subscription service offering a shaving kit for women at about $9 a month.
The “new body brand” offers four styles of razor cartridges to choose from, and not only aims to serve the underserved female shave market but also level the playing field on female products by taking on the discriminatory pink tax on women’s products by offering a limited time “pink tax rebate” promotion at launch.
“We were both wondering why a business like this doesn’t exist for women,” said co-founder Georgina Gooley of the question that inspired her and co-founder Jason Bravman, a former investment banker, to enter the subscription CPG market.
“All these companies are providing a better shaving experience for men, and women seemed to be an afterthought in the shaving category,” added Gooley, an Australian ad exec who left DDB Sydney to oversee the Old Spice account at W+K.
Billie subscribers receive a magnetic razor holder and two razor cartridges. Each $9 refill comes with four razor cartridges and customers can opt for a refill every one, two or three months. Additional products include shaving cream ($8), body wash ($9) and body lotion ($12) to bundle with the shaving kit.
It’s an idea that surely a P&G, Unilever or Gillette have been considering, but Billie is hoping it wins early-mover advantage.
why is there no dollar shave club but geared towards women? or is there and I dont know about it?
— BellaVendetta (@BellaVendetta) November 11, 2017
“When we look at what’s going on with women, we see startups created for men first swap some hot pink on the product and say it’s for women,” Bravman told Mashable. “For us, we wanted to create a company that really puts women first and acknowledges women are equally frustrated with the price of razors, if not more.”
The potential is huge, with Unilever purchasing the male-oriented Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion and New York-based Harry’s valued at $750 million in its last funding round.
The duo raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Sherpa Capital, and Bravman’s brother-in-law, Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal, whose wife Rachel (Jason’s sister) founded the kids’ fashion subscription service Rockets of Awesome.
“If you look at the big brands that started ages ago to the more recent start-up brands, everyone is very focused on improving the shaving experience for men. For women, it’s kind of like they just slap a bit of pink on it and think it’ll be fine. We wanted to make sure we weren’t just taking a men’s blade and making it for women,” said Gooley to Racked.
Distinguishing itself by design, style and attitude, Billie’s razors are also health-conscious—encased in aloe soap and its line of shaving creams and body lotions are vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free.
“We have one mission: to provide you with quality shaving supplies and premium body care products,” states the Billie website. “Our razors are built for a better shave: 5 sharp blades, encased in a 360° ultra-smooth aloe soap bar, with rounded edges to help you navigate those curves. Our body care products are free of toxins and bad additives – we only use premium, healthy ingredients (it’s better that way).”
The unique Pink Tax Rebate earns users credit by sharing a referral code and for every 5, 10 or 20 friends that click through (not even having to buy anything) Billie gives a $5, $10, or $20 credit.
Its FAQ answers the question: Where did the name Billie come from? “A hundred years ago Billie was a man’s name – now it’s predominantly a woman’s name. We loved the idea of a name morphing from ‘boy to girl’. Kind of like what we hope to do in the male dominated shaving category. Make things a little less boy and a lot more girl.”
In May 1915, Harper’s Bazaar ran an ad with a young woman in a sleeveless, dress posing with both arms over her head, marking a coming-out of sorts for the female underarm. By 1922, women’s razors and depilatories were offered in the Sears Roebuck catalog, the same year they began selling sleeveless dresses. Shaving for women took longer to hit the mainstream and many attribute it to the iconic pin-up picture of Betty Grable that spread during World War II along with the advent of silk stockings.
Fast (slow) forward some seven decades, to the launch of Angel Shave Club, which beat Billie to market. Founded by Iskra Tsenkova as a subscription box service for women’s razors. A portion of all profits go to the Malala Fund to enable girls in low-to-middle class country to receive 12 years of education. And now here comes Billie’s, proof-positive that savvy marketers will see the gaps and offer a satisfying, boxed solution for the underserved 49.55% of the global population who are women in need of a fair shave.