Thursday, July 28, 2011

This week Merkur-DOVO representative, Ms. Rothstein from Solingen, Germany, visited us on her annual trip to the US.

As always, we had a good time visiting and here are some updates:

Straight razors - factory edge versus professionally honed edge: Customers shopping around for DOVO straight razors may notice some web sites offer what they call "professionally honed" razors either in addition to, or instead of, the DOVO factory edge. Because of this, DOVO is making it clear to merchants/vendors, and hence to the public, that any straight razors that are honed by someone that is not authorized by them voids the warranty. Therefore, a customer needs to be sure the company they purchase a professionally honed straight razor from is willing and able to accept the warranty responsibilities.

DOVO states that their razors are "shave ready" from the factory. This of course does not preclude the need for stropping before use. The use and care of a straight razor is an art as much as it is a function needing education and skills for use. While there is an initial investment of time and funds to get started, straight razors save money on blade replacement costs, can last generations when properly cared for and may give some of the closest shaves possible.

Timeline for products: The good news for merchants is the production time for DOVO straight razors has decreased from 6-9 months to 3-5 months. They now have more skilled workers that have moved up the apprenticeship ranks and have increased the number of grinders.

In regard to Merkur double edge razors and related products the shipping time to merchants has increased to about a three month backlog. According to Ms. Rothstein, worldwide demand has been growing with the US and Canada as the largest markets.

Gold plated items: Going forward the only remaining Merkur razors that will be available in gold plating are the 34G (heavy duty regular length handle) and the Futur double edge razors. Consistency issues in color tone variations due to product quantity for gold plating is part of the consideration for this decision. Therefore, once the stock of the other gold models are gone there will be no replacements.

Other discontinued products: In addition to the gold items talked about above, the Merkur chrome double edge travel razor will now only come in the leather pouch - the plastic one will no longer be available. The DOVO Renaissance straight razor blade will now come with a Spanish Oak handle. The DOVO red and black Bismarck straight blade will now come with an Ebony Wood handle with the Solingen logo laser etched with an antique gold wash.

Packaging: Merkur is going to be updating their packaging for safety razors based on an orange and blue-gray color scheme. This change will happen gradually and not to every item at once.... so you will start to notice those changes later in the year and into next.

Ms. Rothstein returned to Germany today. The factory is on holiday until August 15th.