My own Shaving Soaps

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by Travis Arnold, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. Travis Arnold

    Travis Arnold New Member

    Good evening and I'm a new member wanting to introduce myself.

    I believed that I had a genius shower idea a few months back and now I'm wondering if I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. I am an Army veteran and former law enforcement officer now working in a sales job. For the first time in my life, I have been allowed to grow a beard, which I did happily.

    Ever since I started shaving, I've had horrible problems with razor bumps and it became excruciating while I was in the military, primarily due to dry shaving in the field. For a brief period, I had switched to using shaving soaps when I was in the military and I absolutely loved it, but that was limited to when I was back in garrison. The combination of the soaps and a safety razor seemed to fix my neck issues.

    Fast forward a decade or so and my shower thoughts were pondering over different business ideas for me to finally try my hand at being an entrepreneur. My "grand idea" was to take my experiences that I had in the military and try to develop a shaving soap that can be efficiently used in the field, while still having the premium feel of a high end shaving soap at home.

    That's where I am at today. A few months of R&D and trying out different combinations of hot press, melt and pour and other soap formulas led me to my current formula. I'm using 4 oz aluminum tins, with twist caps and gasket to help avoid any leaks. I've been using on myself for the past month, with no issues (goodbye beard.) I just recently brought some samples to local barbers for their input and it seems to be positive.

    What I would LOVE to ask, is if you were in my position, what advice would you share? Not only am I new to the entrepreneurial world, but as well as a soap manufacturer. I've been lurking the prominent Shaving forums for the past months and looking at different reviews, however it seems that everyone has very particular likes / dislikes.

    I would honestly love any ideas, suggestions or feedback you would be willing to share. I've intentionally not disclosed the name of my soaps or company as I do not want this to be viewed as a bullshit sales pitch... I do enough of those in my full time job!

    Thank you!


    Travis Arnold
  2. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    1. Find a good tattoo artist. Get them to help design your labels. Try to stay with a consistent theme. Or go the cheaper route and make your stuff look mil surplus, brown paper label, stencil fonts, etc.
    2. Send your product to the big YouTube shaving reviewers.
    3. Get Connaught, Maggards, and/or Italian Barber to carry your soaps.
    4. Cross your fingers.

    I'll be honest with you. You probably won't do well. The shaving soap market is pretty saturated. 10 years ago, you would have had a good chance to stand out; now, not so much.

    Play up the military connection, and call it 'Field Expedient Shaving Soap.' Have fun with the names of your scents. "Sunday in Fallujah" or "Smell like a R.E.M.F."

    However, the best advice I can give you is to take 19 minutes of your time and look up and watch a video. Google golden circle ted talk. I think the actual title is "how great leaders inspire action." Watch it. Process the information. Then come back here and tell me again why I should buy soap from you instead of Barrister & Mann or Saponifico Verisino.
    Frijolero and S Barnhardt like this.
  3. Travis Arnold

    Travis Arnold New Member


    That was the response I was looking for!

    In between my military and law enforcement service, I went to college for web and digital media development. The labeling and brand recognition aspect is set and has been well reviewed. There are slight improvements that I can make with the application, such as using a pad printer instead of stickers, etc. That will come with time.

    What I really appreciated in your response was the daunting fact that there are hundreds of "premium" shaving soaps available right now. It would be like walking into a BevMo and looking in the wine section to figure out what niche section of wine drinkers I would want to sell it. If that was the way I conducted business, I would without a doubt fail. I have full played up the military connection, to the extreme that I have upcoming calls scheduled to AAFES who are highly interested in featuring a veteran owned company, with the niche of "field expediency". Instead of capturing the interest of the connoisseurs, I want to capture the attention of those who have never used shaving soaps before. My former platoon leader (when he was a 1LT) is now a Deputy Director (Major General) at TRADOC, I am going to meet with him in August at AUSA to discuss ways to make this a standard issue item.

    The first scent that I came out with is: Bohica Blend. Up next is Snafu Scent and I would love to use Smell like a REMF! (If you would consent!)

    Without watching the video yet (I will after this reply) I can already answer your question. I don't want you to buy my product. My product doesn't solve a pain point in your life, nor does it add any value to you. I will focus on the 2 million active / reserve soldiers that could highly benefit from my products as my initial market focus. As I bootstrap my way to higher revenue, I can add to my portfolio to try to stand toe to toe with the B&M or the other big players. At that point, I'll come back to you and tell you should buy from me!

    The best part, is that my business plan is set on pure bootstrapping during the entire process. I will never spend in excess of my revenue and I've got to this point debt free. Even if I never sell another can, I've still been profitable!

    I am tremendously thankful that you took the time to write this up and even more thankful for reading my reply!

    You are awesome!


    Travis Arnold
    Frijolero and PLANofMAN like this.
  4. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Yeah, you have my permission to go ahead and use it. :)
    Frijolero likes this.
  5. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire

    Maybe this is obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. If you have a distinctive formula, you may want to patent it. Beyond that, the question is what is your goal? Do you want to sell this on a small or large scale? Home business or manufacture?
    Frijolero likes this.
  6. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    It is obvious, Sara. :)

    Re-read his posts. He wants a gov't contract. Either as an issue item to active duty soldiers, or as a PX/BX/PBX stock item in military bases.

    Edit: found the website. I dig the American Civil War era picture of those guys from the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery. When I was younger, I participated in Civil War reenactments. My group reenacted as the 2nd U.S. Artillery, Battery L (light horse artillery).
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
    Frijolero likes this.
  7. Shaver X

    Shaver X Well-Known Member

    Why not make up a batch and send the tins of soap to some shaving forum members and get their feedback? That would also help publicize your product.
    Paul Turner likes this.
  8. Travis Arnold

    Travis Arnold New Member

    For some reason the replies didn't push through to my email and I just stopped in to catch up on the forum and saw them.

    I would be more than happy to send out a tin to a "few" of you. (Don't want to bite off more than I can chew with that, I've already sent out a few dozen samples to barber shops, friends and family.)

    @PLANofMAN, my MOS in the Army was Field Artillery, hence the strong references.
    PLANofMAN likes this.

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