We are very excited to highlight the brand Leaf Shave and their super cool story. They invented a sustainable (and very cool looking) razor that’s not asking you to re-learn how to shave.
How did you come up with the idea?
Much like most ideas it is less about a single moment of inspiration, and more about how we were able to work on a problem long enough to come up with an innovative solution. My partner and I decided we wanted to build a new type of razor because we felt there was a lack of true innovation in the market. We worked nights and weekends while holding down our day-jobs for *a couple years*, during which time we spent nearly a year pursuing, designing, developing and testing a direction that ultimately we did not pursue. Once we allowed ourselves the space to say: "that first approach isn't going to work," we came across this idea to utilize safety razor blades and put them into a modern type of handle. A deep search into the vast and tangled web of intellectual property surrounding razors uncovered something surprising: no one had ever done this before. Now, armed with a solution that was both novel, and viable, we spent the better part of another year in deep R&D mode to come up with what we all now know as The Leaf razor, our flagship product. While we didn't set out to develop a sustainable shaving razor, we did set out to make a better razor and it turned out that a better razor was a plastic-free one.
What was the hardest part of creating the Leaf?
Entrepreneurship is a worthwhile endeavor but it is not for everyone. Each day is a challenge, and building a business is a series of never-ending, constantly growing set of challenges. The hardest part wasn't the idea, or figuring out how to make it work... the hardest part is what we're doing now -> growing a team and building a business in a way that combines our ethics and values in an ever changing commercial landscape. My goal is ambitious, and it is to spark and accelerate the complete shift from plastic-razors to metal razors - and that's the hard part :).
Why do they cost what they cost?
Traditional safety razors can range in price from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the quality. The Leaf razor falls somewhere in the middle, at NZ$129 (US$84) each we do our best to bring the price as accessible as possible. There are several reasons why Leaf Shave razors aren't as inexpensive as the cheapest safety razor available, among those are that they are simply more complex. In order to deliver the improved shaving experience, the razors have significantly more parts and small-scale engineering that enables this in a package that is intended to be robust and (with care) last as long as you want to keep shaving with it. Additionally, we wrap a lifetime warranty against defects around our razors to support that kind of use. Ultimately, The Leaf razor delivers an incredible value to our users, who will see significant savings on average over time from making the switch. Think of it like flipping the business model, whereas Big Shave Companies want to lock you into their proprietary blade cartridges or razors forever; Leaf Shave razors do not use proprietary blades. They're open and compatible with most standard safety razor blades. So you pay more upfront to get the handle, but you save significantly each time you swap blades (safety razor blades are about 1/10th the cost of a modern cartridge). Therefore, it's only a matter of time before it's an economic win from making the switch.
Why is the Leaf Razor sustainable?
There are a few things that go into our approach to sustainability. Namely we look to eliminate waste from your shave, especially plastic-waste. Think of a Leaf razor blade replacement as if you're stripping away all of the plastic surrounding a typical razor cartridge: you're left with the thing that does the work anyways - the steel blades. Additionally, as a company we look to take positive steps each day and walk the talk. One of the initiatives we have in place is our Climate Neutral Certification. We have offset our operations' entire carbon footprint for the past 2 years. We're entering our 3rd cycle and each year is exciting as this process allows us to look deep into our supply chain and understand where our own organizations' impact on the environment stands. Industry, or making things, is going to leave a footprint. So the best solution on the table right now for us is to finance responsible and vetted initiatives that draw an equivalent or an excess of C02e from the atmosphere. Carbon Offsets aren't perfect, but they are a small way we can hold ourselves responsible each day. Our program covers everything from raw-material excavation through shipping to the end customer. Now that you're shaving without plastic, safety razor blades are just steel. So one can store them and eventually recycle them if you have access to a scrap-metal facility. In the US, users can send blades back to us at Leaf and we recycle them with our scrap partner for our customers.
How is the Leaf Razor different from a Safety Razor?
There is no razor on earth like The Leaf razor, it is entirely unique in design and function. Think of it like a hybrid... a traditional safety razor combined with a modern cartridge razor. The features that set it apart are: you can load multiple blades into the head, and the head has a pivoting mechanism. It shaves very similar to what you're used to using now, it's quite a pleasant shave! Because you load the blades individually, you can also adjust the shave to suit your needs by varying the quantity of blades you load (1, 2 or 3), as well as the position (lowest, middle and top spot). For example, a fully-loaded Leaf razor will give the closest shave. If you find that your skin is more sensitive, you could remove the lowest blade and this will make the razor less aggressive.
Ultimately as a business owner, I care most deeply about caring for my employees and for our customers. We will bend over backwards for both of them. I really appreciate the humanity that exists in doing what I do on a daily basis, and while sometimes that can be challenging, it is for the most part a wonderful portal into lives across the globe. I hope that folks who follow what you're building at Goodgirl xo find some interest in what we're making at Leaf, and see the value over time in making this swap. Together we can all work towards the kind of future we want to live in. <3 - Adam
Adam with a pen and ink illustration that fan of the brand made and he was so delighted when she sent it over.