No Man Is An Island
No man is an island, Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
– John Donne
My TICO* Story
My TICO* story started about two years ago when I received a small unexpected package in the mail from a friend. The package contained a friendly note describing the contents of the package and it’s purpose. The contents was a small bottle of TICO* Shave Oil. My friend had started a new company and was sharing his new product with a close nit group of friends and family for feedback.
Truthfully, I can tell you the bottle of TICO* sat on my shelf for 6 months until at the behest of said sender, I made the promise to try it. That promise, that bold decision to “shave different” (mostly inspired by guilt for my friend) led to a sequence of a events that ultimately changed my life for the better.
Wait, This Product Actually Works?!
The first and most important consideration to this entire story is that I wouldn’t be here today if the product didn’t actually work. When I first tried the sample I did like most guys and didn’t read the instructions, nicely printed on the side of the sample bottle. Once I found out that it only took 4-6 drops of oil to shave your entire face I was astounded. This product worked great, smelled great, was made of natural ingredients and lasted forever with a tiny bottle. I was sold!
The Start of Something Great
Rayner and I grew up together, we go way back, like super nintendo way back. When the notion of partnership came up, things sort of spiraled after that into a whirlwind of ideas. We fed off each other’s passion and before I knew it we were full-fledged business partners and I was launching my first product-based company. And not just any novelty product at some company trying to make a cheap buck. We truly cared about making something great, a product that we were both excited about. A company that cared about our customers, that had a responsibility to our planet, and a desire to make a difference in the world.
Hitting The “Brand” Reset Button
From the beginning I knew that we needed a new brand. The existing brand was too focused on a niche set of customers (people who love “mary jane”). I wanted to create a more clean, elegant and friendly brand that resonated with a much larger audience. Our goal was to be gender-neutral but at a high level we instinctively knew that it’s difficult to market a shaving product to both men AND women at the same time. In the end, the new brand is refined yet simple and bold yet unassuming.
Shooting For The Moon
At one point in our brainstorming sessions we thought about shooting a video of us shooting water balloons at the P&G building as sort of a declaration of war against shaving cream and gels. All in all, we settled to establish a core set of values and a mission and vision that centered around changing the way people shave. One of my favorite quotes is by Michaelangelo (yes the famous painter), “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
We’ve decided that while realistically, other shave oils might be our immediate industry competitors, we have our eyes set on a more noble goal than market dominance. We want to help people discover a friendly, healthier, all-around better way to shave. One that’s safe for the skin, the environment and one that doesn’t break the bank in the process. If we help other companies in our segment by becoming an advocate and educator for shave oil then so be it. We’re either a part of the solution or part of the problem right?
Are You “Involved in Mankind”?
As the poem says, “For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know – For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” We decided to do our part, albeit in one specific way, to help our fellow man and our shared planet. We are committed to delivering the VERY best products in the most environmental and sociably responsible ways we possibly can. Will you join us in the journey? Are you ready to shave different?