Sometime during the August immediately prior to my 18th birthday, which falls, annually, on September 1st, I received via snail mail an unexpected brown box from Gillette. Inside was their new “Mach 3” razor, which consists of a handle and replaceable blades. I was impressed, not just by receiving a “free” gift, but also by the quality of the handle. As razors go, it was weighty and made of metal and tactile rubber. The razor unit worked well on my cherub-like cheeks, and I began to use it.
And I have continued to use it for the last 10 years! It is still in my Dopp kit* to this day. I have not misplaced the handle, nor has the mechanism that allows the blades to be changed worn out or broken.
Mailing out the handles was obviously a good move by Gillette, as I have spent hundreds of dollars on the replacement blades, which cost about $20.00 for five blades. However, thinking beyond that, I wonder how it is that I never questioned the effectiveness of my Mach 3 as compared to any of the other razors on the market (I can’t even name another brand). Gillette did well to deliver a sturdy product that stood the test of time both as far as wear and tear and from a usability standpoint.
How I can take the successful concept employed by Gillette on me and use it in my own endeavors?
- Make a durable and effective product.
- Give it away for free.
- Make users return for a small replacement part.
- Charge for the replacement part.
Is there a deeper concept here?
*The name “Dopp kit” derives from early 20th century leather craftsman Charles Doppelt, a German immigrant to the United States, who invented his toiletry case in 1919. (Link)