On the up Fred Heritage · 2 November 2016
Thomas Clipper: Luxury male grooming backed by the crowd
Foundedin 2014, Thomas Clipper is a men’s lifestyle brand which aiming to improve men’s? daily routines with bespoke, luxury razors and shaving kits. The company has launched nine products in total through a series of three successful Kickstarter campaigns, one of which was amongst the fastest ever funded in the platform’s product design category. Following its latest crowdfunding campaign, which saw Thomas Clipper source in excess of 90, 000 from more than 100 backers via Seedrs, Business Advice caught up with co-founders Matt Brown and Tony Weiss to find out what’s next for the brand. (1) Who are you and what’s your business?? Were Matt and Tony, and our business is Thomas Clipper a British luxury lifestyle brand for men. (2) How long have you been around for?? Just over two years. (3) How do you make money?? We sell the best shave on the market, bar none. And were expanding into other lifestyle rituals too. (4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?? Were all about community-driven luxury. Not just custom products, but a custom business driven by our customers to deliver exactly what they ask for. Each of our products has been the result of surveys asking what we should make next. Of course, we don’t design by committee. When it comes to development were very much purists, and that gives our products a unique British modern style and understatement. But when it comes to what were making, that’s up to our community. (5) What was key in terms of getting started?? Extremely hard work and friends who were willing to be our human guinea pigs were vital. But what’s interesting perhaps is what wasnt key. We didnt take out any loans. We didnt have a rich benefactor. We relied on extremely lean business techniques and crowdfunding to pre-sell our products before wed created them. This was liberating in the immediate term, but a lot harder in the medium term because we had to spend a lot of time developing products that people actually wanted. Of course, this is vital in the long run, and has led directly to the philosophy of community driven luxury that still drives us. (6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?? I think weve managed to build something valued at three quarters of a million pounds without compromising on our values. We source sustainably, we work with master craftsmen and women and we create products that we use every day. That feels pretty good. (7) What setbacks have you had along the way?? Every day feels like an uphill battle. Would-be suppliers who simply don’t return emails, websites that suddenly stop working for no reason, banks that simply don’t function.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.