Since the Industrial Revolution and the advent of automated, sophisticated machinery, we’ve been moving away from handcrafting products using traditional methods to the mass-production of cheaply made, disposable goods. That’s not all bad. These goods have, unquestionably, improved the lives of many people around the world.
But our relationship with many of the objects we use in our day-to-day life has become soulless, disappointing. We’re used to instant satisfaction, to throwing things away when we’ve grown bored of them or when they stop working. And because of the way most things are made, they fail easily and do not lend themselves to repair.
When I founded Grown Man Shave, I didn’t want it to be just another shop out there selling… stuff. I wanted every single product we carry to be there for a reason, to serve a purpose, to solve a problem.
Shaving, which used to be an art and a discipline, a daily meditative pause and satisfying ritual, has also fallen prey to the trend of instant satisfaction—without even being satisfying!—of cheaply made disposable goods that end up in landfills.
It took me years not only to learn which products work and which don’t, but where, how, and why the best ones are made. What I discovered went much deeper than finding the finest products out there.
There are several places around the world that have stubbornly resisted this trend of flimsiness, disposability, and obsolescence. These are epicenters of a proud, centuries’ old tradition. Of uncompromising excellence in craftsmanship, passed down from father to son (or mother to daughter) and standing the test of time.
The family-owned companies I source the products on Grown Man Shave from embody the kind of thinking that says: “We want to make products that are so well-made and beautifully crafted that your grandkids will still cherish them, and my grandkids will still be able to fix—although, ideally, there’d be no need of that.”
England, Germany, Japan. Sheffield, Solingen, Seki. These are the epicenters, cities whose reputation in metalworking and craftsmanship is the stuff of myths. Sheffield gave birth to stainless steel. Swords forged in Solingen during the last millennium have turned up in all kinds of places in Europe, far outliving not only the warriors who wielded them but the foes they vanquished. In Seki, the katanas that personify the fearsome samurai were crafted.
Highly skilled master craftsmen are employed to carefully forge and craft our products by hand. The resulting objects make you pause in admiration, bring a smile to your face. And one day, even, a twinkle to a grandson’s eye.
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