What Was Hot in 2107 and What Wasn’t

Yesterday we had a look at what worked for us in 2017 and what didn’t.
We audited our sales figures and there were a few surprises.

In late 2017 Castle Forbes launched their long awaited 1445 Shaving Cream to accompany their matching balm and EDP. We ordered 60 to test the water and the following week we had to order another 120, they sold out also very quickly and sales for the matching balm and EDP also shot through the roof.

In early 2017 Executive Shaving launched our Bay Rum and Citrus Kiss Shaving Creams and After Shave Balms. We were blown away by the volume of sales and the reviews these products have been awarded on our website, Amazon and various shaving blogs and forums.

Sales of safety razors are still growing as more men move from cartridge razors and discover a whole new world of high quality double edge razors. New kids on the block Rockwell were high fliers and so too was Above the Tie. The real star however had to be the Muhle Rocca. The Rocca is the first all stainless steel razor Muhle has produced. The downside is Muhle simply cannot meet demand; hopefully supplies from Germany are less problematic in 2018. At one time we had 327 on a waiting list for the black handle version.

Sales for shaving creams, soaps and balms from Truefitt & Hill, DR Harris and especially Taylor of Old Bond Street fell. Of the traditional English based suppliers only Geo F Trumper sales were up on 2016. The real eye opener was Taylor sales which were down almost 30%. Why is this? My guess is people have more choice and once someone tries for example our Citrus Kiss Shaving Cream they realise how ordinary in performance Taylor shaving creams are. In my opinion only Taylor’s Peppermint shaving cream performs better than average. Taylor’s need to raise their game.

Another eye opener was the sales of badger hair brushes compared to synthetic shaving brushes. When I first came to Executive Shaving nine years ago I would say that badger brushes outsold synthetic by 90% plus, now that has changed to almost 50-50. I personally favour synthetic for a number of reasons, ethical and practical and it seems men in their thousands have the same attitude as me. Men who have experienced shedding hair, damp dogs smell and floppy bristles from a badger brush are pleasantly surprised by how well synthetic brushes compare. Muhle, Vulfix, Simpson, Parker and Executive Shaving synthetics all fared very well indeed.

The real surprise in 2017 was the plummeting sales of traditional cut throat razors. The last boom time for cut throat razors was in the aftermath of the James Bond movie Skyfall, James was shaved with a cut throat in the movie and this sparked huge interest. We simply couldn’t meet demand. However sales have dropped by around 60% since the peak years.
However it seems men still want to shave with a cut throat as sales for Feather Razors has correspondently increased by around 60%. Feather cut throat razors use disposable blades so the user has no stropping and honing to do. It seems these days men want as little hassle as possible but still desire the cut throat experience and results.

We sell a range of leather goods including washbags, military wet packs and wallets. The brand leader is Daines & Hathaway, their handmade leatherwear range is stunning but the prices are too much for many. In stepped Woodland Leathers from London with their range of military wet packs and wallets. The quality is good, not Daines & Hathaway good but very good for the prices you pay. £55.00 for their military wet packs compared to £135 from Daines & Hathaway. The Woodland Leathers range promises to be one of our top sellers in 2018.

I expect sales of synthetic brushes and safety razors to maintain high growth sales in 2018 at the expense of badger brushes and cartridge blades. I also expect to see continued growth for Castle Forbes and Fitjar two luxury brands that I admire greatly. I predict sales for the Executive Shaving range of creams and balms to double in 2018 as men who tried these products for the first time in 2017 replenish their supplies.
The future is bright for brands that put quality first and for brands that add value. As for the rest, I fear for their future.

Written by Brian Mulreany
Sales Director at The Executive Shaving Company
5th January 2018