- Name:Briar Keen
Q. What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
The exorbitant cost of razors and replacement blades on the high street. It can’t be right that a pack of 4 replacement blades costs as much as £14!!! We are on a mission to change all that, and make it easier and cheaper, to shave.
Q. Tell us about your business.
Friction Free Shaving (FFS) couldn’t be simpler. To get started, you choose a handle and the blades you like most – we have a range of options to suit your needs. We post both to your door in the first delivery and after that we send you four fresh blades every month that slot perfectly into your handle. That’s one fresh blade every week. All you do is pay a monthly subscription, which starts from the day you submit your order.
Q. Why use it?
Nothing beats the smooth feeling you get from shaving with a brand new razor. But expensive and over-complicated high street brands put many of us off regularly changing our blades. And that’s not just annoying, it’s bad for your skin too, making you more prone to irritation and rashes. Friction Free Shaving (FFS) is on a mission to change all that. We make it easy and affordable to get that feeling from shaving with a brand new razor every time you shave.
Q. What are the benefits?
Replacing your razor blades regularly is more hygienic because bacteria builds up in razor blades over time and that can cause irritation. Blunt blades also cause razor burn/rash (irritation whilst shaving) because they require more pressure than a sharp blade. And we all know that red, itchy feeling from a blunt razor. Using fresh Friction Free Shaving (FFS) blades means closer, cleaner and smoother shaves. Your legs will thank you for it.
Q. What quality are the blades?
Each of the three razors is comparable with big brand razors you’d buy on the high street. And whilst you won’t notice any difference in quality, you will notice the difference in price. You choose the handle of your choice, and whether you want 2, 3 or 5 blade razors. You can change your preferences (or cancel) anytime.
Q. What is the time saving?
You can order your Friction Free Shaving (FFS) blades in minutes on our website and then leave the rest to us. We post the blades straight to your door every month, so there’s no need to drive out to the high street or supermarket. We also package our blades in a simple and recyclable cardboard boxes too – so no wasting time with any of those impossible to open vacuum plastic packets.
Q. How did you go about setting up your business?
We set it up in June 2015 after seeing the success of similar e-commerce businesses such as Dolalr Shave Club in the USA, however all of these were marketed towards to men. We wanted to be the first EVER female subscription service in the world – and we achieved that when we launched in November 2015!
Q. What has been your biggest challenge so far with running your own business?
Getting awareness of the brand and the service. Its very difficult getting people to hear about your business without a big marketing budget – which we didn’t have as a start-up. So we relied heavily on social media and referrals from existing customers.
Q. How did/have you overcome these challenges?
Having a fun brand (FFS!) which people remember and socially share helps, as is encouraging customers to refer their friends and family. Getting to beauty bloggers and vloggers is critical too, as they have so much influence and awareness from their followers.
Q. What do you love about running your own business?
The freedom to be your own boss and not answer to anyone but yourself!
Q. Are there any top tips that you would like to share with others thinking about starting or growing their own business?
Everything will take at least 10 x longer than you want it to. Be prepared, and be aware of this.
Q. How much did you apply for and over what term?
£25,000 over 5 years
Q. What support did you receive from CWRT? i.e. did you find the process simple? Were you helped to improve your business plan and financials? Anything else?
Mentoring and help with writing the business plan. I found the process very fair and straight forward and writing a solid, detailed business plan is a very good exercise for any start up. I would recommend going through the process as it will help focus your mind and set realistic expectations for the business.
Q. How has the loan provided helped you?
It enabled us to buy the razors and blades and pay for the development of the brand and some marketing.