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Live from GrowCo: Harry’s Co-Founder Jeff Raider Reveals the Key to Success

The serial entrepreneur told the audience at Inc.’s GrowCo conference how talking to customers and staying focused on authenticity have helped the shaving startup.

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BY Emily Canal - 01 Jun 2018

 Harry's co-founder Jeff Raider at Inc.'s GrowCo in New Orleans. CREDIT: JB Jakubek

Harry's co-founder Jeff Raider at Inc.'s GrowCo in New Orleans. CREDIT: JB Jakubek

Harry's co-founder Jeff Raider says the key to keeping his business successful has been always maintaining a focus on its original purpose: to give men quality grooming tools.

"It's been about, how do we make sure we stay true to that vision, continue to listen to customers, and try to disrupt the brand?" Raider said on Thursday at Inc.'s GrowCo conference in New Orleans.

Raider and his co-founder, Andy Katz-Mayfield, launched the direct-to-consumer razor business in 2013. In February, they announced the company had raised a $112 million round, bringing its total funding to $474 million, according to The New York Times. Raider was one of the four original co-founders of Warby Parker and is also the CEO of Harry's Labs, a new organization that uses the skills of the Harry's team to support entrepreneurs as they build and scale their brands.

All that success has roots in the founders' early strategies, Raider said. First off, they differentiated the company by eschewing the typical advertisements they saw for men's shaving products.

"We didn't ever want to depict perfect, shirtless guys looking off into the distance shaving, with girls rubbing their faces," Raider told the audience. "We wanted to be real ourselves, as founders, as normal guys who were trying to do it better for guys like us."

Another way they have done this, Raider said, is by talking to men about their shaving and grooming habits so they can better craft products that fit those routines. For instance, Raider learned that most men wash their face in the shower as a way to wake up. With that knowledge, Harry's created a face wash made from mint oil to give the user a fresh feeling in the morning.

"We think there's opportunities like that and in other categories where we can create products that differentially perform for our customers," Raider said. "And opportunities to create a brand that really stands for men's needs."

Raider added that one other secret weapon for success is picking the right business partner. He touted Katz-Mayfield's contributions several times throughout his remarks, noting that while they are very different, they complement each other well.

"You want somebody that you've got some degree of personal connection with," Raider said. "It's going to be easier if you have that."

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