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The New York Times reports that Harrys’ - which managed to completely disrupt the shaving category with a subscription model that undermined traditional businesses like Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette - has raised $112 million in financing that is earmarked for expansion into new categories.

It is, the story says, “the latest effort by the company’s founders and co-chief executives, Mr. Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield, to build out their business at a time when younger, internet-savvy consumer companies are taking market share away from incumbents like Procter & Gamble and Unilever … Mr. Raider and Mr. Katz-Mayfield want to apply the lessons they have learned to consumer goods like personal care for men and women, household items and baby products.

“Already, Harry’s has taken a minority stake in Hims, a start-up that makes men’s hair-loss products, and it intends to buy majority ownership in other brands.”
KC's View:
The impact of a model like Harry’s isn’t just felt by rival suppliers. It also can hurt traditional retailers that used to do good business in categories that are moving into other venues.

The categories that seem to be the subject of Harry’s interest are largely those that could easily be converted to subscriptions - people don’t change their habits here very much, and so traditional retailers and vendors could be completely disintermediated out of the equation. I’ve been arguing here for a long time that retailers and suppliers need to find ways to solve the replenishment challenge, and this story only increases the ante.

Whatever they do, they have to do better than the Gillette commercial currently running in which the narrator - an actual Gillette factory worker - talks about how local and innovative the company is, but only manages to make the company sound a little bit desperate about the inroads being made by the likes of Harry’s.