Recently a customer emailed referencing a Reddit post I made almost exactly five years ago where I detailed my personal discovery process for learning how to make aftershave splash. As someone (at the time) with no professional experience in the perfumery or cosmetics business, I thought it would be compelling content for other passionate but non-industry wet shavers who may also like to take a shot at making their own aftershave. In the post I explicitly divulged my entire production process – along with ingredient sourcing and usage amounts. I knew it wasn’t necessarily in the best interests of my business to do this, but I figured the promotional effect might outweigh any new competition that may result. Five years later, it’s safe to say that both of these outcomes did occur, and to a much larger degree than I could have ever anticipated, but it’s still difficult to say whether one outweighed the other.
The one thing that is for sure is that wet shavers have benefited, and that is the reason I can say with certainty that I would do it again (and, in fact, why I’m willing to draw renewed attention to it now). It’s easy to forget how barren the landscape was for aftershave connoisseurs in 2013. The market for alcohol based splashes at time consisted almost exclusively of American drugstore or European luxury brands that hadn’t been updated in decades. Even craft soap makers, which were just beginning to make a name for themselves among wet shavers, did not have traditional style aftershave offerings available.
Now although I don’t have specific proof or testimonials that this Reddit post lead directly to the aftershave explosion since then, it certainly seems like more than a coincidence. And when combined with the fact that multiple producers even elected to use the same bottles as I did, well, I can’t help but feel a bit flattered.
My real point though is that I think it’s safe to say that had I not picked up the wet shaving habit until today, I would never even feel the need to formulate my own product given wide variety of choice now available. This alone means that world is a slightly better place, with one more previously unfulfilled need met, than it was before.
So although it took two plus years of personal time, and a non-trivial number of dollars spent on experimentation, it was actually the freely thrown pebble of knowledge thrown into the pond of the market which created the ripples that not only allowed me to build a business, but also to slightly change the world. And that’s pretty cool.