Cornerstone: The Shave Subscription Service Aimed To ‘Destroy The Men’s Alley At Boots’ | The independent
Entrepreneur Oliver Bridge had his eureka moment in the most unlikely place: the men’s toiletries aisle at Boots. Since then, the 28-year-old entrepreneur has made it his mission to totally destroy the entire section and its crippling variety of balms, gels, sprays, creams, sprays, powders and clays.
Not literally. He’s not a maniac. Bridge is the brain behind corner stone, a subscription shaving men’s service providing high quality razors and skin care products. The goal is to make purchasing toiletries much easier.
Bridge himself had suffered from sensitive skin and razor burn and just wanted a product that worked without the hassle.
After that frustrating time at Boots in 2014, Bridge looked online and saw that an American company, Dollar Shave Club, provided regular deliveries to its customers and was doing quite well. He realized that a new world of men’s toiletries was indeed possible here in the UK.
Cornerstone’s 130,000 customers receive a free razor when they register. They can enter details on the company’s website about what they want and how often. Blades cost £ 2.30, skin care products are £ 5 each.
Everything comes in stylish packaging delivered to your doorstep. There are no 12-blade razors with absurd pseudo-scientific names and no ridiculous photos of square-jawed models doing adventure sports or rushing into fighter jets after a perfect shave.
In an age when everything from music to veg is now available on subscription, Bridge is keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of the business model.
Anyone who signed up for a weekly box of vegetables may have found themselves opening their refrigerator on a Sunday to find that on Monday what was a leafy array of promising organic goodness turned into a pile of withered leaves. unused and overpriced swimming in prickly brown mud.
Cornerstone is different, says Bridge. “The good thing is that it’s not perishable,” he smiles. I have visions of boxes of toiletries stacked like Lynx gift boxes and cheap cologne in the back of the cabinet after Christmas.
But Bridge thought about it too. First of all, the emphasis is on quality. Second, Cornerstone notifies customers before a delivery is due and tells them what’s going to happen. The package is customizable so there are no surprises. If customers want to change their order or postpone delivery, that’s okay. The average customer receives a delivery every three months and can cancel immediately.
“It’s not like some gym or book club memberships that are almost impossible to cancel – you have to call an 0870 number on the third Tuesday of the month or whatever. With us you can cancel immediately. There’s only one big red button on the website, ”says Bridge.
“If I try to catch you, all that’s going to happen is you get mad.” What’s the point? Our goal isn’t just to stay under the radar and hope you don’t notice, as some subscription companies do.
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This refreshing and honest approach to customer service has paid off – much of Cornerstone’s rapid growth has come through word of mouth.
But it was not all easy. In fact, Cornerstone almost didn’t take off at all. When Bridge started the business, he contacted around 50 suppliers to manufacture the blades. The minimum order he was offered was around £ 100,000 – well over budget.
“We thought it was the end of the game. Then I found this supplier in Germany and said, “What if I come in with € 5,000 in cash tomorrow?” The guy thought we were crazy, but I said I would be there by 2pm the next day. He agreed, we hopped in my uncle’s car, pulled up to the FX office on the way, and got our stuff back.
He started selling the products online, packing them on his mother’s kitchen table. Since this launch in July 2014, the company has reached 1,000 subscribers at the end of the year, 20,000 at the end of the following year and now has 130,000. Another round of funding is on the way. be completed and the company is aiming for the 250,000 mark.
And what about that long-term goal of destroying the Men’s Alley at Boots? Well, it could be happening sooner than you think. Within six months, Cornerstone plans to expand its line to include everything you need for the bathroom – from shower gel and toothpaste to deodorant. But I hope they will only make one type of each.