Could I Market a Generic Razor Handle?

Razor blade heads cost a lot but the handles for them are outrageous. Every once in a while my wife forgets what kind of razor I use and buys the wrong blades. So I have assorted blade heads but when I look at the store to buy handles for them it never seems like a good idea. Instead because of the pricing it seems like I should just buy more heads for the handle I have. This got me wondering, can I produce and sell generic handles that will fit various heads from different companies?

I’m assuming that you can not do that or the prices would come down. So if you can’t could someone explain why it is illegal. Thank you.

If there’s a legal objection I’d assume it’s because the fitting mechanisms are individually patented.

And the mechanisms change, so that you can’t fit a Gillette Fusion cartridge to a Gillette Mach3 razor.

You might be able to design a different fastening mechanism that holds the cartridge. But if you were to enjoy any success the razor blade manufacturers might just change the design. They won’t imposition their customers, they’ll just give away the new handles for free. After all, they’re not in the handle business, they’re in the razor blade business.

On the other hand, if you make a handle that fits just their product, the blade manufacturers may encourage you because you’d just be helping to sell their razor blades. You might even be able to readily license the rights to make handles with the appropriate connector.

Agree - not that I’m saying it is patented, but if it is illegal - this would be the only reason.

Legal aside - The reason this wouldn’t work is probably more economics/psychology. The razor companies already have a distribution system in place with all the stores that carry them. The sell razors, cartridges, gels, creams, etc - all branded and supported with millions of dollars in advertising. Most people buy a razor - then get refills for it. If they lose the handle - they buy another one (that comes with a cartridge - which is patented). Not many people want a handle that works with every razor - they want one they KNOW will work with theirs.

You can’t guarantee in the consumers mind yours will. People will buy a branded charger for a cell phone over a universal charger that works for many.

Not saying it’s impossible - just I personally don’t see it happening. If I actually KNEW 100% it would work - I’d want one just for the Gillette cartridges alone. I dont think its easily feasible, and would pass over any non Gillette branded one in the store not wanting to take the risk - nor willing to do the research to save a few dollars/convenience.

People already sell razors for commercial blade cartridges. See, for instance, this site.

Well, there you go. I was thinking high end handles might be a market.

Yeah, the fancy handles are already a thing. Universal handles would be possible, but, honestly, it would probably be needlessly expensive. Think about it: this is literally a “razor and blade” business model: the name brand handles are already sold very cheaply to lock you in to the expensive cartridges.

If your wife buys you some Magnum 6 blades instead of your, uh, Quad XLs, you’re better off just buying the $10 Magnum 6 handle instead of buying a $30 universal handle made by a company trying to turn a profit on razor handles.

The real solution to the razor problem is just getting a decent handle to accept standard double edge blades. No more wasting money on overpriced plastic cartridges, a handle with actual heft, and cheap razor blades available at pretty much every corner store around most of the world. This sounds like a smug hipster thing, but, honestly, I don’t know anybody who switched to DE blades and decided to go back to cartridges.

My issue is that the handles aren’t cheap. I don’t recall offhand but I remember looking and deciding to just buy more blades for the handle I had. Of course, the handles weren’t packaged separately. They came with at least one cartridge.

Oh and you can count me as someone who has (repeatedly) tried double edged razors but prefers the more expensive kind. I use the disposable double edged ones when we travel but really can tell the difference. Maybe it’s me but I find myself with far fewer nicks on the multiblades.

Don’t know where you’re from, but my experience (in Australia) is completely the reverse. I can buy a handle with ~2 blades for around 10 bucks, but a packet of 5 blades by themselves is north of 30 bucks.

Same here in Canada. In fact, I don’t even remember ever buying a handle. They’ve always come “free” in a promotional package or prize then they gouge you with the $30 for 5 blades later.

My wife is always trying to cut this budget will buy the cheap knockoff blades or the disposables but that just cuts into the toilet paper budget :smiley:

I believe he was talking about these kinds of razors, of which I switched to 6-7 years ago and have never looked back. Those cheap plastic single or two bladed razors you get for 50 cents each are not the same thing.

I may not get a ‘better’ shave out of the double edged razor, as in not as close, but I can’t tell the difference and the price is more then worth it.

I just looked on the CVS site and one package of 4 blade cartridges was $17.49, one package of 4 blades and a razor was $22.99; the razor cost $5.50.

How much do you think it should cost?

I got sick of buying those expensive shave cartridges, so I spent $15 on a WWII era double edged safety razor on eBay (Gillette SuperSpeed) and another $15 on a big pack of razor blades on Amazon.

At this rate, I’ll have gotten about 2 years of shaving for $30 (plus soap) and the quality of my shave is always fantastic.

Back in the sixties I had to shave twice a day if I wanted to go out in the evening - so I gave up shaving. I have no idea how much money that decision has saved me over the last fifty years. A pair of good quality scissors lasts for many years.

I use a hand-me-down from my uncle: a Gillette ‘Slim Adjustable’ manufactured in 1965. A ten-pack of Wilkenson blades costs $1.76 and a puck of Van Der Hagen shave soap costs $1.59. I get a perfectly cromulent shave and it’s easy on the environment. I never understood designer shaving systems.

As someone who was in sales and marketing for a manufacturer, and was subsequently involved in product development; on first glance selling replacement razor handles seem to be a terrible business model for a number of reasons.

First, my WAG is that the market and pricing really isn’t there to support the investment. The market for new razors and the replacement blades are where the cash lies. Although the OP would like a new handle, it just doesn’t seem to me that there would be that much of a demand.

This is important for two reasons. There has to be enough demand in order to bring all of costs: manufacturing, distribution, design, overhead, etc., down to be competitive. Without sufficient quantities, then you would always be stuck with higher costs than the manufacturer who could simply under price you. Great for the consumer, but your investors are left with the bill. Investors don’t like this.

The second reason that small demand cripples is fighting for the shelf space in retail stores. Large chains are extremely competitive, and places such as Walmart are cutthroat. You’ve got two weeks to hit a sales target or sayonara to your products. You need shelf space or you’re dead. Otherwise, good luck on Internet sales. It ain’t going to happen.

For pricing, according to Telemark’s research, a handle costs $5.50 retail. An unknown generic manufacturer needs to be at least 20% cheaper. Unfortunately for your investors, that retail price is going to be a moving target. If you start to chip into any sales of the manufacturer, they can price you out of the stores. They will have significantly larger sales, so all of their costs are less. They already have contracts with the factories and cheap rates on the container ships across the Pacific. They already have distribution to the stores in place.

The next major problem is as was pointed out in the OP, the various handles don’t match the blades, so you have to have an equal number of handles or some sort of system of adapters, which increases your per unit overhead.

Then another problem is that you will always be a step behind the razor manufacturers. They can bring out new models which will require you to make changes to your products and stick you with a bunch of obsolete handles, for which you’ve paid.

This is fundamentally different than a market for generic ink, for example, in which printer manufacturers need to maintain interchangeability of the ink cartridges among their models.

My experience was in a professional market, and not retail, so some of the assumptions may not be exactly right, but it doesn’t seem to be an attractive business model.

Incidentally, the last time I was at CVS getting blades, I found out that there was a ridiculous discount (like 60-70%) if you have the CVS rewards card. I don’t know if that’s usual or not.

The problem with a standard fitting, as explained by XKCD

Very much what happened in the 1400’s when they had 2 competing popes.
The cardinals agreed that this was unacceptable, so they got together and elected a “real” pope. Nobody else resigned, and now they had 3 popes.