Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Local Target has a Toe in the DE Door....

Target department stores cater, in my view, to women. This is not an enclave of maleness. Their tools, sporting goods, even their men's clothing departments are rather small, weak, and lack the male appeal of more.... well.... more masculine stores.

Still, I stop there once in a great while to look for an item for the kitchen or the laundry room, and when I do, I take a pass or two through the shaving aisle just to see what a big-box department store is selling.

The way business is done at many of the larger retail chains is that product manufacturers pay the retailer for the privilege of displaying their products on the retailer's shelves. I don't know if Target, specifically, has this practice, but I suspect so.

So I was surprised to see about three or so different boxed products of old-school shaving gear in the men's shaving aisle. All were Van Der Hagen brand, and included two different "starter sets" and one container of DE blades. The blades were expensive, coming in a small-quantity package, selling for something approaching one dollar per blade, and no specific manufacturer. They were labeled as either PTFE or Teflon coated (I don't remember which -- though, of course, Teflon is the name brand for PTFE). The two starter sets were interesting to me because of their contents.

The boxed starter set that contained a DE razor (remember that everything was Van Der Hagen brand) was another twin for the chrome-plated Weishi 9306 TTO. This razor seems to be the primary instrument that is re-branded by several companies (MicroTouch, Dorco Prime, now Van Der Hagen, et al) for mass distribution.

The other boxed set contained a badger brush and no razor. I found this of interest because I think Van Der Hagen sells a terrific value brush containing boar hair, and this was the first time I've noticed them selling one with badger bristles.

The fact is that this tiny offering of DE and traditional shaving accessories by Target does not signify a major sea change in US shaving practices; but it may indicate a small one. This suggests to me that not Target, but rather Van Der Hagen is seeing growth in their traditional-shaving products sufficient to display their wares in the major national department store chain. This in itself probably says something positive about the resurgence of DE shaving -- even if this Target offering is short lived.

I don't expect to someday soon see a Merkur razor at Target, for example. And I don't anticipate ever buying my 100-pack of Personna red-label blades there either. Still, it may introduce more of the uninformed masses about the availability of DE shaving gear, and may therefore be good for us all who prefer this method.

Happy shaving!

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