Ahead of partaking in the panel Why Consumer-Centric Brands Win on January 15, Harry's VP of marketing, Lorna Peters, explains the digital-first brand's journey from DTC to selling with mass retailers all whilst maintaining its commitment to consumer needs and values

Harry's is a different kind of men's grooming and personal care brand. Starting out direct-to-consumer, the company now reaches many men where they already shop, placing products in mass retailers like Target and Walmart, while still maintaining vertical integration and control over all aspects of production to deliver high-quality products.

Harry's founders started the brand because they were tired of over-designed and overpriced razors, the performance of which let them down, or alternatively were difficult to source. Accordingly, they created high-quality blades crafted at their own factory in Germany that are then shipped directly to consumers' doorsteps, as well as placed them in select retailers to get men the supplies they need wherever they shop, embracing the flexibility of an omnichannel model.

As part of New York Retail Innovation Week, Harry's will present on a panel called Why Consumer-Centric Brands Win, presented by Anomaly, to discuss how it cultivates consumer loyalty by enabling quality and convenience while also offers consumers content that challenges notions of masculinity and supports men in their personal and professional endeavors. PSFK spoke to Harry's VP of marketing, Lorna Peters, to find out more about the digital-native brand.

Could you describe any retail or consumer trends you’ve noticed taking place, and how Harry’s is leveraging or responding to them?

A couple of notable shifts we’ve seen of late include a desire for more optionality in men’s grooming routines. With less societal pressure to be “clean shaven,” we’re supporting guys wherever and whenever they need us in their routine—whether that’s body care, facial care, etc.

Traditional brands have long underestimated guys and delivered products that don’t meet their needs. From our customer insights, we know that guys actually care a great deal about having exceptional men’s care products made with quality ingredients, and we’re stepping in to fill that gap.

What was the motivation or inspiration behind starting the brand? Were there any unmet consumer needs or gaps that you wanted to fill?

Our co-founders Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider started Harry’s after Andy had a bad customer experience shopping for razors. At the time, most razors were locked behind a glass case at the drugstore, and the products themselves were overpriced and over-designed. Jeff and Andy saw an opportunity to build a brand that was very different from the leading players, one with quality products at a fair price and with brand values that resonate with real guys in a way that’s more relatable, thoughtful and real than the outdated depictions of masculinity that they saw competitors exploiting.

Source: stock photos from VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

What aspects of your brand do you leverage that allow you to compete, succeed and connect with consumers? Is it personalization, convenience, cost, a mix of these?

Although Harry’s was born online, we’re now an omnichannel men’s care brand reaching guys wherever they choose to shop. As a customer-centric brand, we want to be available however and wherever people want to find us. Over the past few years, that meant expanding into leading retailers like Target and Walmart, where we knew many of our existing customers were already shopping. In entering mass retail, we wanted to create a positive and engaging shopping experience for guests, one that mimicked the experience on Harrys.com—so we challenged ourselves to redesign the in-store shopping experience.

In addition to this customer-centric mentality, honest pricing and personalization are core tenets of our business that have set us apart from the beginning. Harry’s is vertically integrated, which gives us the unique ability to control manufacturing, price point and quality. We also offer guys personal touches like engraving, elevated scent options, and customizable a la carte and subscription options to fit their self-care routines.

Who are your main consumers? Do you have a target demographic in mind or niche group, or do you strive to appeal to all?

As a modern, customer-centric brand, we want to reach as many guys as possible and create exceptional men’s care products that serve them in an honest and relatable way. To date, we reach over 10M customers online and in-store, and our customers don’t fit into one specific mold.

One element you highlight is a high-quality standard, which you enable by owning the entire product journey, from manufacture to delivery. Could you describe how this works, from your factory in Germany to consumers’ doorsteps, and what the advantage of this system is to your brand?

We own our own blade factory in Eisfeld, Germany, making Harry’s one of the few vertically integrated razor manufacturers in the world. Vertical integration is a key advantage, because it gives us total control over our products and processes, which ultimately allows us to do what’s best for our customers more efficiently than if we were beholden to outside partners.

Our research and development team conducts all product development from our New York City headquarters. They rely heavily on the team at our factory in Eisfeld for their manufacturing expertise and work in tandem on processes to continually improve the quality of our products. This set-up has allowed us to make products at the highest quality and offer them at an exceptional value across several channels.

You also are dedicated to challenging notions of masculinity and supporting what really matters to men. Could you describe the importance of this content aspect of your brand, and the benefit of linking content with commerce for your consumers as well as for your business?

Harry’s has always strived to make things easier for guys' everyday, which is a big reason we initially launched direct: to maintain a clear line of communication with our customers. We also felt that the existing shaving brands weren’t speaking to men in a way that resonated. Over the years, we’ve been lucky to learn a lot about our guys’ values, and we want to do our part in opening up a conversation around masculinity today, in order to better reflect them. We have a platform and direct line of communication to Harry’s customers across the country, and we want to do our part to support the causes that matter to our customers and reflect our values as a company.

What do you hope to share at the upcoming panel during NYRIW?

NYRIW brings together an impressive group of retail thought leaders, so I’m excited to be a part of the discussion on behalf of Harry’s to share our insights on what it means to be a modern omnichannel brand and how we’re rethinking customer experience, design and brand marketing across all these varying channels.


Come listen to Harry's VP of Marketing, Lorna Peters, speak at the Why Consumer-Centric Brands Win panel on January 15 as part of New York Retail Innovation Week, alongside Zahir Dossa, co-founder of Function of Beauty and Tal Zvi Nathanel, co-founder of Showfields. Tickets available now!