Luxury and sustainability are two key attributes for brands right now, and perfectly so. With luxury comes a commitment to craftsmanship, quality materials and a slow, considered investment approach, creating well-designed products, made to last. While with the stresses of climate on the planet playing an ever increasing role in our lives, sustainability is a key consideration close to many people’s hearts, with a new less is more approach to the objects we choose to use and surround ourselves with.
With this in mind we turn our attention to Wilde & Harte – a British-made luxury shaving brand producing 100 per cent stainless steel razor handles, safety razors and grooming accessories. With a clever concept that brings an element of luxury to your morning routine and also helps preserve the environment, their understated, high end approach has broken new ground in the men’s grooming market, creating a high quality experience for even the most discerning wet shaver, and one that is guaranteed to last a lifetime.
In terms of a lightbulb moment, the Wilde & Harte story began in 2011, in the suitably stylish surrounds of The Wolseley restaurant in London’s Piccadilly, as founder Paul Thompson recalls. “A friend and I were discussing the chore of regular wet shaving using very bland, uninspiring faux ivory and chrome plated razors. We struggled to identify quality products that would make wet shaving once again a treat to look forward to, as experienced in the days before electric shavers and disposable multi-blade razors. We decided the time was right to introduce high-end British-made razors to the market and educate a new shaving audience. In that moment Wilde & Harte was born.”
For Thompson, it was important for the brand to create a completely new shaving experience, born out of high quality design and materials, but also to do so in an environmentally-friendly way.
“We wanted to establish Wilde & Harte as the brand for British-made shaving accessories of the highest quality, underpinned by stainless steel manufacturing offering the finest shaving experience, with a keen eye on sustainability. This was back in 2011, when no other brand marketed eco-friendly shaving solutions, so it was our key differentiator.”
Therefore, the company created a series of 100 per cent stainless steel shaving options that would allow users to minimise their use of plastic – whether that was by buying a steel handle, designed and made to last and compatible with their usual Gillette blade. Or by combining that handle with one of Wilde & Harte’s stainless steel safety razors for a completely plastic-free shaving solution.
Designing and producing the razors was a real labour of love for Thompson and his team. “Each of the collections – Apsley, Eltham and Osterley – are inspired by the grandeur of iconic houses and palaces in London, and bringing them to market required time, expertise and dedication. During the very first manufacturing cycle, the CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings were carefully studied to eliminate any possible manufacturing issues.”
All three collections are manufactured from stainless steel in Sheffield, the city synonymous with steel cutlery and blade production, dating back to the Industrial Revolution, which, as Thompson explains, contributes to the high quality of the end-product, as well as its sustainability.
“Our razors are engineered from a high grade stainless steel. This was selected for a number of reasons – stainless steel offers the desired ‘weight’ to a razor which assists with a controlled, high quality shave. The use of high-grade stainless steel allows for the most accomplished hand polished mirror finish to each component, highlighting the quality of our razors and the non-corrosive and non-rusting of stainless steel permits us to confidently offer a ‘Lifetime guarantee’ with all safety razor purchases.”
It also meant the brand could promote 100 per cent plastic free shaving solutions, with the purchase of their handle and razor.
Quality design is another crucial part of the brand’s ethos, and Thompson points to a number of unique details that serve to differentiate the Wilde & Harte offering, and encapsulate the attention to detail and high-level craftsmanship of a luxury brand.
“We are particularly proud of a design completely unique to Wilde & Harte – the asymmetric helical (or spiral-like) razor handle design which is a feature of our very popular Apsley collection razors. Another distinguishing detail synonymous with the brand is the monogram that sits in the recess at the end of each razor. While our Art Deco inspired Eltham safety razor is worthy of mention too, due to the faceted, bulbous, octagonal handle design which feels very comfortable to shave with, allowing ample control of the razor head during shaving.”
Their commitment to sustainability is something that runs through every aspect of Wilde & Harte, from design and concept, through to production and delivery, as Thompson explains. “From the beginning, the plan was to be as sustainable as possible, from procuring the manufacturing, finishing, packaging and other suppliers directly from the UK, to manufacturing quantities of multiple components at the same time to minimise machining set-up resources and reduce the environmental impact of logistics.”
Wilde & Harte are the only British shaving brand who are members of ‘Made in Britain’, an initiative endorsed by the British Government, supported by British manufacturers and recognised by both local and global consumers. They also dispatch their orders via a courier dispatch company offering a ‘GOGREEN’ service which offsets all logistical-related emissions.
Beyond their own efforts, the brand are focused on changing people’s thinking around grooming products, persuading them to adopt the kind of long-term, thoughtful approach that’s so key to the brand itself.
As Thompson explains, “Investing in a high quality, durable safety razor will attend to your shaving needs for a lifetime. The cost of double edge safety razor blades is remarkably low. So your ongoing overheads are just a few pounds each year, even when shaving daily.” For those who use Gillette cartridge razors with their handle, Wilde & Harte offer a ‘honing pad’ which sharpens blades, extending cartridge life by up to five times, lowers plastic consumption and reduces costs.
As to the future, Thompson is working towards Wilde & Harte being “the recognised shaving brand for outstanding quality and customer service, and championing British manufacturing. We will continue to educate how to achieve a comfortable, close and sustainable shave, which is kind to your skin, the environment and your pocket.” Allowing you to spend more on the other key luxury items in your life.
Much like Wilde & Harte, the team behind The Macallan also take pride in high-quality British manufacturing, combining the finest ingredients and a sustainable production process to create a whisky of outstanding quality and distinctive character. The Double Cask range, currently available at The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Waitrose and other premium retailers. Find out more at themacallan.com
Chris Beastall is a founding member and writer at Ape To Gentleman, a traditional men’s magazine made digital, dedicated to timeless yet contemporary style, intelligent living, and value.
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