Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Start Up: From Lockheed to the modern shaving market

🕐 6 min read

Supply

https://getsupply.com/

Want some start up tips from Patrick Coddou? He kept a log of his experiences starting the company. 

https://getsupply.com/blogs/journal

Patrick and Jennifer Coddou have a single focus, and it is in great supply.

After several years of climbing the corporate ladder, the couple took some time off. They were on a west coast road trip when, as Patrick describes, he and Jennifer decided to “take the leap.”

It was from that leap that the Supply Single Edge Razor 2.0 was born in the summer of 2017, a throwback to the days before multiple blades and modern technology, and an improvement on their original Single Edge Razor.

“Our design draws inspiration from an old style of razor that my grandfather used,” Patrick said. “It was called an injector razor and gave an amazingly close and comfortable shave. Once I tried a vintage version of the razor, I was hooked. I looked for a modern version but quickly learned they aren’t made anymore. So I decided to make one for myself.”

Patrick said that shaving with a single blade is superior to multiple-blade razors, even those with up to five or six blades.

“It gives just as close of a shave, except without irritation or ingrown hairs. Multi-blade razors tug and cut hair below the skin, which is the primary cause of razor bumps,” he said. “In addition, five times as many blades means five times as much friction on your skin. This friction is what causes razor burn and irritation.”

Patrick worked at Lockheed Martin for almost nine years, and said he had a blast there, working on a wide range of projects far away from the world of razors. His jobs ranged from the secretive Skunk Works division to the advanced F-35 Lightning II program.

“My favorite job there had to be my last one before I left. I worked in international business development on the F-35 program, which means I got paid to travel the world and work on the company’s campaigns to sell the fighter jet to our allies overseas,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in Israel during my last year at Lockheed, and I’m very proud of the work we did over there.”

It was during his time at Lockheed that Patrick, now 32, met Jennifer, 31. He is from Houston and is a University of Texas grad, and she’s from Lubbock and is a Texas A&M University alum. His career took him to Fort Worth while she worked in marketing sales in Dallas. They met through a mutual friend, got married, and Jennifer moved to Fort Worth to teach math at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

In November, they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Madeleine Coddou.

“In almost comical timing for an e-commerce startup, we thought we would jam all of our exciting events into one week: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, birth of our daughter, and the official kickoff to holiday shopping,” Patrick said. “It was a whirlwind, but we wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Patrick said during a trip down the West Coast highway from San Diego to San Francisco, with the Pacific Ocean to their left the whole way, provided clarity and they moved forward with plans for Supply 2.0. They had been building the initial version of Supply on nights and weekends for two years. They wanted to devote full-time attention to it, but a year and a half after launching their first product they still had not posted a profit (Patrick offers a pro tip: choose your partners wisely).

But instead of being discouraged, they took the difficulties as signs that it was now or never to focus on their business. So he put in his two weeks’ notice at Lockheed and they gave themselves one year to turn a profit.

Working tirelessly, they rebuilt their products shaving products and launched a Kickstarter campaign in 12 days, filming, editing and designing everything in-house, just the two of them. Patrick said they were amazed as backers raised over $250,000 in 45 days.

Just over a year later, the company has expanded, including recruiting family to help fold boxes and fill orders, and Patrick said every goal has been far surpassed.

They are delivering 800-plus Single-Edge razors to 27 countries around the world. That’s 250-plus pounds of solid stainless steel to every continent on the planet except Antarctica.

They are creating what they call the word’s only modern stainless steel injector razor, resurrecting a vintage design that dates to World War I. They call it the world’s most affordable stainless steel single-edge razor at $75. Each razor comes with a 100-year guarantee.

“What initially draws people in is the clean, iconic design of the handle. It’s a simpler, more modern aesthetic than other razors available on the market today, and it’s precision-made from solid stainless steel,” Patrick said. “Then, as people do a bit more research they begin to realize that the multi-blade myth we’ve all bought into isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“Finally, they get excited about the potential to spend less on shaving. Every razor we sell comes with a six-month supply of blades, and replacement blades only cost 50 cents each.”

Along with the flagship product, the Single-Edge razor, Supply offers an entire grooming line to complement and enhance the entire shaving ritual.

“Our aim is to be a one-stop shop for men’s grooming products. We intend to design products that not only look good, but also last longer and perform better than anyone expects them to,” Patrick said.

The grooming line includes ultra-lather shave cream, silvertip synthetic shave brush, aloe-based post shave, daily wash and body lotion. All are handmade in Fort Worth with no parabens or harsh chemicals. In 2017, they launched a marble line that includes a shave bowl for building a barber-style warm lather, a tray for displaying accessories, and a marble tumbler to complete the set. At the end of last year, they added a premium full-grain leather travel case, custom-made for the Single Edge razor to kick off a full line of leather goods.

Another positive of the Supply Single-Edge razor, Patrick said, is that users don’t have to handle the blades to switch them. Instead, they insert a pre-loaded blade magazine into the Single Edge and slide the lever to swap out the blade.

Looking ahead, Patrick said the company is set to close its first deal for an investment in the company soon.

“We met our investor by sheer chance. A guest in our Fairmount Airbnb connected us, and we hit it off right away. He has significant C-suite level experience in some of the world’s top grooming and skin care brands, so he will be a fantastic addition to the team,” Patrick said. “We are also excited to team up with my favorite leather goods brand, based in Fort Worth, to expand our line of premium leather products this year. We’re starting with a full-grain leather Dopp Kit.

“Having lived in Fort Worth for 10 years, we have loved seeing the major influx of creative small businesses collaborating and giving back to this city we all love. Our company has very humble beginnings being run out of our garage – and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. As our beloved city continues to expand in numbers, we hope to see the spirit of entrepreneurship increase, and for our vibrant community to embrace and support the growth of other small businesses like our own.”

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