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Hip, Hip, Harry’s: The Harry’s Shaving Company Name Review

By Mark Skoultchi

April 4, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-03 at 2.16.46 PMFrom the man who co-founded Warby Parker and brought cachet to cheap eyeglasses, now comes another groundbreaking brand: Harry’s. The brainchild of Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield, Harry’s is a direct-to-consumer online boutique offering high-quality shaving gear at half the price of snootier competitors.

It’s a great idea. At least, it sounds like a great idea (a beard is not one of my grooming issues). And the name is no slouch, either. Like most great brand names, Harry’s gets to the heart of the brand. This is a venture that claims to combine modern, no-nonsense practicality and old-fashioned, artisanal pride. (Think razor blades designed by German engineers.) That’s a lot of luggage for six little letters, but Harry’s pulls it off.

The name Harry’s evokes an earlier era, when men were men (whatever that means), barbershops were ubiquitous and shaving was a communal male ritual.

Classic yet unpretentious, British and American, so retro it’s hip: Harry’s is a name that has its cake and eats it too, many times over.

Who cares if the name Harry’s was inspired in this case by a grandfatherly figure in Jeff Raider’s life? That’s a good story, but for most of the English-speaking world the name Harry’s will have other, more powerful, associations.

Screen shot 2013-04-03 at 2.17.31 PMFor starters, there’s Harry Truman, an association the company deftly capitalizes upon by naming its basic razor  “The Truman”: a shrewd play for a brand hoping to epitomize a fair deal. Then, in keeping with the company’s nostalgic 20th century persona, they’ve dubbed the second, more upscale razor in the Harry’s product line “The Winston.”

Naming its razors after two of the past century’s most iconic Western statesmen, both of whom had wide populist appeal, is a nice touch that lends both dignity and accessibility to the brand. (No mean feat.)

The brand name Harry’s is also burnished by its evocations of a certain prince. Not to mention its associations with several well-known bars, including the Harry’s Bars in Rome, Venice, Florence, Montreux, San Francisco, Singapore and London. And if the name Harry’s recalls the word “hairy,” well, it couldn’t be more apt for a shaving company.

As for the company’s website: the Winston razor aside, the site has an old-school British flavor that reinforces the brand’s character. The design is understated and the copy is literate, even when it’s blowing smoke up your arse. For instance, as a branding specialist and former copywriter I have to admire the cleverness and chutzpah of a paragraph like this:

“The Truman handle was designed for comfort, significance, and control. A curved rod of zinc alloy forms the solid base of the Truman, while a blend of high-quality polymers and waterproof lacquer yields a smooth exterior.”

A blend of high-quality polymers and waterproof lacquer that yields a smooth exterior, eh? If that isn’t a classy way to describe plastic, I don’t know what is.

Overall Grade: A

Grade:
A
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