Harry’s debuts women’s razor brand, Flamingo, in the quest to diversify its holding company and cater to female customers.

What happened

  • Harry’s, the direct-to-consumer subscription disposable razor brand that launched in 2011, debuted a women’s brand, Flamingo, offering razors and blades, shaving cream, wax kits and body lotion. Flamingo is the first standalone brand borne out of the company’s innovation team, Harry’s Labs, which is incubating new digital brands that will live within Harry’s ecosystem since it became a holding company in February 2018.
  • Flamingo was formed by a handful of Harry’s employees, but unlike the original men’s brand, it offers items à la carte as opposed to via a subscription model. It also competes with Billie, a women’s razor subscription brand founded in November 2017; Oui Shave, a direct-to-consumer women’s razor brand founded in 2014; and the Venus razors subscription offered by both Schick and Gillette since May 2017 and August 2018, respectively.

Why it matters

  • While Harry’s and competitor Dollar Shave Club uprooted the men’s razor industry with subscription packages, the $1 billion women’s razor market has not evolved as much as its male counterpart. Flamingo is unique in that it 1) does not offer a subscription, a now commonplace model in the beauty and wellness industry that is losing its luster, and 2) embraces inclusive messaging about hair removal and body image that legacy retailers like Gillette have only started coming around to in their advertising to women. Flamingo’s razors are also cheaper than Gillette and Schick’s, whose prices have historically been artificially hiked by the so-called “pink tax.”
  • When Harry’s become a holding company for digitally-native brands, it announced plans to cultivate men’s and women’s personal care, as well as household items and baby products—it also said it would invest and acquire outside brands, and began wholesaling Harry’s products at a number of retailers including Walmart, Target and J.Crew. As the first new brand out of Harry’s Labs, Flamingo is likely a safe bet given the company’s expertise in the razor market and its vertical integration (it fully owns a factory in Germany). Ideally, moving into the women’s razor industry will produce returns for the parent company’s investors, but even if that’s the case, Flamingo will have to be the first of many successful brands to make the numbers work—Harry’s has raised a whopping $475 million and its valuation now sits above $1 billion.
  • In terms of Flamingo as a standalone brand, its success will be dependent on the brand’s ability to differentiate enough from the original Harry’s brand and attract female customers. Promoting inclusive values is a good start, both to help Flamingo stand out against competitors and foster relationships with this new demographic of consumers, because unlike when Harry’s launched, it’s not enough just to be a direct-to-consumer razor brand.