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Subscription-based half-priced shavers make splash

Posted April. 03, 2020 07:38,   

Updated April. 03, 2020 07:38


A young man has jumped into shaver manufacturing business after declaring his ambition to change the market for shavers, which used to be a cost burden on consumers. The young man, who has bet his career on razor blades measuring 4 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter in width, has opened an era of subscription-based shavers.

Kim Dong-woo (31), president of shaver startup Wisely, founded the company together with his younger brother and a former colleague in 2017. Since introducing its products for the first time in January 2018, the company is selling its entire product lineup only through its website. Being able to reduce distribution cost, its products cost about half that of rival products. In addition, the company introduced a regular razor blade subscription service, which delivers razor blades to subscribers timed with their replacement cycle. Wisely is the first company in South Korea to provide regular delivery of razor blades using its own brand.

Many people said who would buy shavers produced by a small startup, but customers who were dissatisfied with high prices of shavers have opened up their wallets en masse. In two years after launching its products, Wisely sees its market share take 6 percent of the domestic market and 10 percent of the market for those in 20s.

Wisely had very limited manpower and funding, but has spared no investment to listen to customer’s response. The company asked more than 4,000 people it had recruited before launching products to provide user comments and pick elements that need improvement in details. It was part of the company’s efforts to detect even trivial inconveniences consumers would feel and encounter. In an attempt to resolve the problem with other companies’ shavers that often fall off from the shelf, Wisely has designed a shaver with flat handle.

Kim has met and interviewed as many as 400 clients in person since the foundation. Of the 30 employees, four people are tasked with receiving consumer complaints and gathering opinions. Such opinions from customers are the very source of Wisely’s competitiveness.

“When introducing a subscription service in the daily necessities market, we can find rooms for innovation in diverse areas since a large number of customers are secured already,” Kim said. “Going forward, we will broaden the scope of our products to living necessities including skincare products.”

Ho-Kyeong Kim kimhk@donga.com