When Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield decided to launch Harry’s, they say they wanted to change the face of the men’s shaving industry, with high-quality, well-priced steel razors.
And they also wanted to give back to the community.
“One of the reasons we had so much fun starting Harry’s was the hope to make people’s lives better in some small way by giving them a great shave and helping them take care of themselves better,” says Raider. “In wanting to extend that feeling of improving people’s lives, we realized the company could be a real platform for an amazing organization to do something good.”
But Raider is no stranger to the concept of social entrepreneurship, or making a difference while also making a profit.
He’s also a co-founder of Warby Parker, the innovative eyeglass startup, whose “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program donates a pair of eyeglasses to someone in need for every pair purchased.
Raider says the concept is personally important to him, and when he and Katz-Mayfield were building Harry’s, “it was ingrained in the culture from day one.”
Helping Veterans Start a New Chapter
Rather than donating an actual shave set after every purchase, Harry’s donates the cost of a blade to The Mission Continues. The Mission Continues is a nonprofit organization that places veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in six-month fellowships at other nonprofits, where they can put their military skills to good use.
“It helps people reintegrate at home, and provides them with meaningful skills as they figure out what’s next,” says Raider. “It also elevates the status of veterans in the community.”
Raider says the Harry’s team recently spent the day redoing the exterior of a Brooklyn, NY school with fellows from the organization.
He bonded with one veteran who now works on an organic farm in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to The Mission Continues. “His job in Iraq was to work on the team that helps defuse bombs,” says Raider, who noted that the vet’s mechanical skills greatly improved the quality of the Brooklyn project.
“He was just much better at working the power drills, and continued to be patient with me,” says Raider.
How Harry’s Affords to Give Back
Raider says Harry’s is able to donate money after each purchase thanks to careful planning. Rather than add a charitable component on top of a working business plan, the founders built the social mission into the very first economic plan of the company.
“We’re less profitable than if we didn’t, but we thought it was important,” Raider explains.
And he and Katz-Mayfield strongly believe the charitable aspect will help make the company even more successful over time.
“We think of our customers as stakeholders, we are [stakeholders], and the community more broadly is a stakeholder,” says Raider. The two founders believe by emphasizing the company’s connection to The Mission Continues, Harry’s will forge a stronger bond with buyers.
To that end, Harry’s website prominently features The Mission Continues and stories from some of the veterans participating in the fellowship.
“We felt like The Mission Continues is incredible, and that customers will rally around it and support it,” says Raider.
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