Cutting Edge Idea From Old School Shaves

30 Jan 2018 | 09.17 am

Cutting Edge Idea From Old School Shaves

Marram Co sells shaving gear and creams with a retro feel and premium cachet

30 Jan 2018 | 09.17 am

You don’t often see new business ventures selling old-style shaving gear, so you could say that Marram Co is a cutting-edge novelty. Launched in October 2017, Marram Co markets shaving gear and creams with premium cachet. They include a badger-hair brush-and-bowl set in stainless steel for €250, and razors for €175. Marram Co doesn’t sell blades but users can fit Gillette Fusion blades sets onto its razors.

The founders are Jude Jarvis and James Jarvis, a Scottish couple now living in Howth. Co-founder Paul Edwards is also British and living in Italy. Between them, they have considerable experience in advertising, sales and design.

The idea for Marram Co was inspired by Jude’s father, who still shaves the old way. “Good shaving is all about preparing the stubble, which has the strength of copper wire, so it needs softening first,” says Jude.

“We aren’t targeting a specific age demographic but more an attitude. We have in mind men who know their ropes and go the extra mile to find their sweet spot. Life is too hectic to lose two minutes each morning to a boring chore.”

Supply Challenges

Marram Co products are sourced from Ireland, England, Italy, Estonia and China, occasioning significant challenges. “It took us two years to design, formulate, prototype, and manufacture the range,” Jude explains. “It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. There were multiple reasons to give up but we did not, and we’re incredibly proud of what we have achieved.

“The packaging was probably the most challenging process. We have different suppliers and different materials, and finding the right partners, managing the work streams and bringing it all together on time kept us up for many nights.”

Introductions from KPMG enabled Marram Co to get space in Brown Thomas in Dublin in the run-up to Christmas. All going well, that could prove a useful calling card for elsewhere. “We are talking to a number of luxury retailers in London and New York about 2018, and major global luxury online retailers too. So far experience has shown us that once a potential customer picks up and holds our hardware and smells our creams they’re hooked. Our long-term plan is to be a truly global luxury brand.”

A slick website is a necessity for luxury products and designing the Marram Co site was a lengthy process. An early iteration was abandoned when it was half-completed, and the founders turned to Dublin web agency Friday for the current online platform.

Funding Landscape

The Jarvis duo seeded the venture with €20,000 of their own money and then tapped friends and family for €70,000. A 2017 fundraiser that included ex-Topaz CEO Emmet O’Neill raised €670,000. “We’ve been impressed with the startup landscape in Ireland,” says Jude.

“There’s plenty of investment money and lots of opportunity to pitch. As a smaller market than London, it’s easier to get noticed too. There’s a huge amount of competition here in the tech arena, but outside of that there’s less competition and plenty of money available.”

For Jude Jarvis, her biggest challenge is finding the time for everything that needs to be done. “We have launched multiple products and each has multiple components, both online and in-store. In 2018, we are also looking at new products, new channels and new markets. There’s no limit to our ambition but we are resource and cash constrained as any startup is. Prioritising is a huge focus for us.”

Photo: Jude and James Jarvis

 

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