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Some Info from Shavemac

Mr. Shavington

Knows Hot Turkish Toilets
I still have Simpson brushes that I am enjoying. You may be referring to this post: Your favourite simpsons badger - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/your-favourite-simpsons-badger.646111/page-2#post-12463389
If that is the case you may want to read it again. in any case as far as the reason of the bad luck is concerned you need to ask who made the brushes not me.
The companies that I mentioned make excellent brushes, however I have seen several issues with some of the brushes that I have received, from the quality of the hair (look at that picture again), to a knot falling off the handle at the very first shave, poor engraving, prickly tips (on high end silver tips!). The only exception is Zenith, probably because I have only the two brushes that I have recently purchased, however you can simply read some of the discussion about Zenith here and on other forums, and see how many people had a lopsided knots, shedding, losing the top ring or other problems. You can do the same exercise for other brands, you will see that I am not a special case. It happens, they make 'crap' too. Do they have excellent customer service? Probably, but I do not see the point.
However, I don't want to drag this thread further off topic. I was just making a commenting about the 'crap' thing.
Wow. You are indeed very unlucky. I must have a hundred brushes from dozens of brands all over the world and I only ever had one minor issue (a knot fell out - US-based brand, FWIW - and obviously an extremely easy fix).

I do agree with you that many great quality products are made in China. I really don’t care where something is made - it’s the product itself that matters, and no nation is inherently better at making stuff than any other.
 
I can understand the pricing of synthetic brushes being appealing. Do you think synthetics are really becoming more popular than natural bristle brushes? I only have a Simpsons synthetic in a Chubby 2, and I am extremely underwhelmed by the brush. The rest of my brushes are badger, so my experience is relatively limited. When I first started wet shaving (besides using my grandfather's setup when I was in my teens), I purchased a Semogue Owners Club brush in a Cherry Wood handle with Badger hair that was not terribly expensive. That brush has served me well for a decade and still outperforms my Chubby synthetic in every aspect. I understand the YMMV aspect of shaving gear, but it seems crazy that people would be foregoing badger and other natural bristles in favor of synthetic. I also understand that many B&B users are big synthetic brush fans, which was a big reason I tried a synthetic in the first place. I had posted about my growing collection of Badger brushes, and a member here suggested a synthetic and thought I would be surprised by how good they are. As I mentioned, I was underwhelmed, and the synthetic performed how I imagined it would: serviceable but had no character. If I started with a synthetic and had no other reference point, I would think it would be fine. However, even if I liked synthetics, eventually, I would have become curious about Badger or Boar, and after trying them, synthetic would have lost any appeal to me. Again, I have only used one synthetic, so I might have a perspective that is too limited here. Also, if someone were collecting several synthetics because they were inexpensive, it wouldn't take long before those synthetic purchases would equal the cost of a good Badger brush.

With Shavemac, all of this is speculative since we don't know if Shavemac will continue for many years and is only shutting down the configurator. Maybe their sales have declined, input costs have risen, or competition is fierce with synthetics. Whatever the case, it is all speculative. As for all the different razors, soaps, etc. markets are always flooded with products at or after the peak.

With the technology that has made its way into wet shaving, I could see younger shavers drawn to the latest and greatest. Still, I have a hard time wrapping my head around that since nostalgia and the older ways of doing things were a big part of the appeal for me and wet shaving. But, this wouldn't be the first part of my life where being older has left me out of touch with what is going on in the world!
It is unclear what brush type is currently most popular though we've seen lots of anecdotal evidence that there has been a significant shift in market share from natural to synthetic fibers over the past few years thanks to the significant improvement in the quality of synthetics around 8-10 years ago per may fellow B&Ber posts.

As anecdotal evidence we've seen myriad posts here from folks noting how new synthetics shave better than their natural hair brushes and have become their daily drivers as a result. Recall a post roughly a couple of years back regarding a conversation with the folks at Italian Barber regarding how low cost synthetics have become a much greater part of their sales mix.

Additionally, unless one is a brush collector, as noted above once we purchase our preferred brushes they last for years or even decades so there is no need for additional purchases. As a result I suspect that with the exception of popularly priced (under $15) shaving brushes the higher end inventory of most retailers turns very slowly making it hard to turn a decent profit in relation to the inventory cost. Suspect that the Shavemac configurator, that @Rudy Vey posted about above, was originally intended to provide customers with a wide variety of options with less overall inventory by postponing the final assembly. Postponement of final assembly is a common manufacturing technique for reducing required inventory levels.

We've also seen evidence of slow inventory turns across other classic (DE/SE) wet shaving products such as the many older production blades offered my many retailers or the Russian Gillette blades that are still available for sale even though they've been embargoed for over a year. Back in November I placed some orders for shaving soap with Connaught Shaving and noticed that they had 135 pucks of Tabac refill soaps on hand. Today, 14 months later, they still have 81 pucks indicating sales of only 54 pucks or less than one per week.

Back to brushes in all comes down to personal preference. I use two quality synthetics and one boar. The synthetics work amazingly well for me on most shaves while the boar is excellent for my hardest shaving soaps where the stiffer bristles accelerate the loading process. Glad you've also found the types of brush that work well for you. Sorry to hear the the B&B community will be loosing a well regarded option for customized shaving brushes in a few weeks.

P.S. Curious, you mentioned your badger and synthetic brushes. Have you ever owned a boar brush and if so how did it work for you?
 
Always wanted a Shavemac, but the site had too many options, especially loft, and I could never decide. In 2020, I dropped off my favorite Rooney handle with Rudy, asking him to replace the 24mm 3-band Rooney knot with a 2-band Shavemac. I let Rudy decide the loft. The end result was one of my favorite brushes. It was so much easier than dealing with the Shavemac configurator.
 
I started my kit of wet shaving accessories when I was in my early 40s, and even though I had some money to spend, it all seemed daunting and expensive. I couldn't understand the B&B members with several brushes, razors, etc. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather and used his Gillette adjustable when I started shaving as a young kid. His kit was simple, but I got a feel for wet shaving.

When I started shaving regularly in my late teens, I went from a Trac II to Gillette Good News disposables, to Bic disposables, to three-bladed cartridges, etc. When I bought into wet shaving in my 40s, money was a big part of the reason. I remember paying $39 at the grocery store for four, four bladed cartridge razors (and a handle with AAA batteries that vibrated!) and thinking it was too expensive. The cost of expensive cartridges was the driving force for me to look into wet shaving.

Since I bought and used one brush, razor, and a couple of pucks of Mitchell's Wool Fat for a decade, I achieved a better shave and saved considerable money. It took me a long time to become interested in acquiring more shaving gear. I have never been a two-pass shaver. To this day, I am pretty efficient in my routine. I can see a young kid buying into wet shaving but not appreciating the finer parts of the process. And in all candor, I could get by with a cheap brush and still get a good shave, but I don't want to!

Judging by the changing landscape in the wet shaving manufacturer world, it seems we have passed the peak. My guess is a lot of people got into making products out of passion or as a hobby, and it grows into a business. Now, with so much competition, and likely fewer sales, it makes sense that some have reached the end of the line. I wouldn't be surprised to see a resurgance in the future, because "what was old is new again" is a recurring theme. Although, even though I love wet shaving and having options, my kit is pretty dialed as far as brushes and razors, and with all of the razor blades, soaps, and aftershaves I have on hand, I won't be doing any restocking anytime soon.
Also the pandemic has driven a lot of change such as assortment reductions and the rethinking of business models.
 
It is unclear what brush type is currently most popular though we've seen lots of anecdotal evidence that there has been a significant shift in market share from natural to synthetic fibers over the past few years thanks to the significant improvement in the quality of synthetics around 8-10 years ago per may fellow B&Ber posts.

As anecdotal evidence we've seen myriad posts here from folks noting how new synthetics shave better than their natural hair brushes and have become their daily drivers as a result. Recall a post roughly a couple of years back regarding a conversation with the folks at Italian Barber regarding how low cost synthetics have become a much greater part of their sales mix.

Additionally, unless one is a brush collector, as noted above once we purchase our preferred brushes they last for years or even decades so there is no need for additional purchases. As a result I suspect that with the exception of popularly priced (under $15) shaving brushes the higher end inventory of most retailers turns very slowly making it hard to turn a decent profit in relation to the inventory cost. Suspect that the Shavemac configurator, that @Rudy Vey posted about above, was originally intended to provide customers with a wide variety of options with less overall inventory by postponing the final assembly. Postponement of final assembly is a common manufacturing technique for reducing required inventory levels.

We've also seen evidence of slow inventory turns across other classic (DE/SE) wet shaving products such as the many older production blades offered my many retailers or the Russian Gillette blades that are still available for sale even though they've been embargoed for over a year. Back in November I placed some orders for shaving soap with Connaught Shaving and noticed that they had 135 pucks of Tabac refill soaps on hand. Today, 14 months later, they still have 81 pucks indicating sales of only 54 pucks or less than one per week.

Back to brushes in all comes down to personal preference. I use two quality synthetics and one boar. The synthetics work amazingly well for me on most shaves while the boar is excellent for my hardest shaving soaps where the stiffer bristles accelerate the loading process. Glad you've also found the types of brush that work well for you. Sorry to hear the the B&B community will be loosing a well regarded option for customized shaving brushes in a few weeks.

P.S. Curious, you mentioned your badger and synthetic brushes. Have you ever owned a boar brush and if so how did it work for you?
I've never owned a Boar brush. On that note, what is the best place to find Semogue brushes? I like to buy directly from the manufacturer when I can, but I have had no success finding a Semogue website for purchases. My Semogue brush has been of fantastic value, and I know they offer Boar versions. When I started wet shaving over a decade ago, I was convinced I would only have one brush, so I went with Badger. Now that I am about to have six Badger brushes, I am interested in other options. While I don't see trying another synthetic, maybe my Simpsons synthetic isn't a good representation of what is available?
 
While I don't see trying another synthetic, maybe my Simpsons synthetic isn't a good representation of what is available?
You said that you have the Chubby 2 Synthetic so I assume it's with what they call Platinum fibers. Simpson offers the same brush with the Sovereign fiber which is VERY different from the Platinum. Just to say that your Chubby is not necessarily representative of what is available at Simpson already.
There is a full range of synthetic knots available from many suppliers and vendors. You can start with the classic very soft and gentle brushes, like the Plissofts, Tuxedo, Cashmere, Mother Lode, to the more recent styles with more backbone, lower lofts, like your Simpson, The Omega EVO, G5's and so on.

By the way, I had the CH2 Synthetic (Platinum) and I did not like it. I like instead my CH3 Sovereign. I have not tried the Shavemac synthetic brushes yet.
 
You said that you have the Chubby 2 Synthetic so I assume it's with what they call Platinum fibers. Simpson offers the same brush with the Sovereign fiber which is VERY different from the Platinum. Just to say that your Chubby is not necessarily representative of what is available at Simpson already.
There is a full range of synthetic knots available from many suppliers and vendors. You can start with the classic very soft and gentle brushes, like the Plissofts, Tuxedo, Cashmere, Mother Lode, to the more recent styles with more backbone, lower lofts, like your Simpson, The Omega EVO, G5's and so on.

By the way, I had the CH2 Synthetic (Platinum) and I did not like it. I like instead my CH3 Sovereign. I have not tried the Shavemac synthetic brushes yet.
My Simpsons Chubby 2 says "Synthetic Bristle" on the handle, and in the description it says Platinum Grade.
 
I think I’ve said it before but Bernd is a proper stand up good guy & one of those names in the industry who simply commands respect.

His comments don’t surprise me. As many have alluded to in recent months & years, Western wage demands & production costs coupled with horrific rises in material shipping prices & lead times compared to manufacturers in the Far East have made production in Europe ‘very’ tricky.

Perhaps Muhle are geared up to step in with a more manageable, streamlined Shavemac line up - would make some sense. They are a heavy weight in terms of staffing & capabilities. Sleek operation too.

Will be a great shame to see the name disappear. A mutual friend of myself & Bernd in Germany is also ceasing trading for many of the same reasons.

The customer these days, by and large, are cute with their money & the Chinese are even cuter at taking it off them.

Mark
 
I've never owned a Boar brush. On that note, what is the best place to find Semogue brushes? I like to buy directly from the manufacturer when I can, but I have had no success finding a Semogue website for purchases. My Semogue brush has been of fantastic value, and I know they offer Boar versions. When I started wet shaving over a decade ago, I was convinced I would only have one brush, so I went with Badger. Now that I am about to have six Badger brushes, I am interested in other options. While I don't see trying another synthetic, maybe my Simpsons synthetic isn't a good representation of what is available?
You may want to try Connaught Shaving for Semogue brushes though be sure to look at the total cost with shipping. Note they recently ended their free air shipping to the U.S. for orders above 60 British Pounds.
 
You may want to try Connaught Shaving for Semogue brushes though be sure to look at the total cost with shipping. Note they recently ended their free air shipping to the U.S. for orders above 60 British Pounds.
Thanks, but I placed orders for two Semogue brushes through the Razor Company recently, and got free shipping. I have a boar, and mixed boar/badger coming!
 
I wonder if the segment of the market we comprise is growing, flat, or shrinking.
I think it is clearly shrinking. Look at all of the companies shutting down: Charcoal Goods, Vie Long, Thater. Has anyone seen anything new from Ikon lately? How many soap companies? There is a Facebook page that is a place to raffle shave gear. Just a few years ago it was a fun place to try to get some hard to get and expensive brushes, razors, and software, and also easy to get stuff that people just wanted to unload. Now the raffles NEVER fill. Even a beautiful Wiborg couldn't come close to filling. I've seen Wolfman razors not fill. I also buy and sell on the BST often and I see a lot of things sitting unsold for long stretches of time. I have brushes that I've tried to sell more than once for much less than I paid for them, and I still have them. It is sad to think about, but the youngest people on this forum will see the end of wet shaving as a hobby. They will be using safety razors with some canned shaving foam or gel at the end.
 
I think it is clearly shrinking. Look at all of the companies shutting down: Charcoal Goods, Vie Long, Thater. Has anyone seen anything new from Ikon lately? How many soap companies? There is a Facebook page that is a place to raffle shave gear. Just a few years ago it was a fun place to try to get some hard to get and expensive brushes, razors, and software, and also easy to get stuff that people just wanted to unload. Now the raffles NEVER fill. Even a beautiful Wiborg couldn't come close to filling. I've seen Wolfman razors not fill. I also buy and sell on the BST often and I see a lot of things sitting unsold for long stretches of time. I have brushes that I've tried to sell more than once for much less than I paid for them, and I still have them. It is sad to think about, but the youngest people on this forum will see the end of wet shaving as a hobby. They will be using safety razors with some canned shaving foam or gel at the end.
That all makes sense. Hopefully, there will be another resurgence someday. I have been on an acquisition spree to get items I wanted to have on rotation for my shave kit. I have far surpassed what I intended to accumulate, and I plan to take a break and enjoy what I have once I have everything sorted. While I believe you are probably correct about younger shavers using canned goo, as those shavers get older, they may be drawn to real shaving soaps and brushes. I know many B&B members love synthetics, and many are very inexpensive, but I could see that coming full circle where natural bristles become sought after. I have one synthetic brush I don't love, but I will keep it as a travel brush. While I have had many recommendations for good synthetics, the ones I am curious about are expensive enough that I am not interested in sinking money into them to see if I can find a synthetic I like. I suppose some younger shavers feel that way about badger. While it is sad to see great companies closing (like my beloved Above the Tie!) I have and enjoy what I want to try, so I will keep shaving and smiling!
 
Hopefully, there will be another resurgence someday
Honestly I think there will be a resurgence. In what form is hard to say but I wouldn’t be surprised if china plays a role for high and low end brushes.

While I believe you are probably correct about younger shavers using canned goo, as those shavers get older, they may be drawn to real shaving soaps and brushes.
If there’s ever a time when it becomes difficult to get good quality soaps whether a brand name (Cella, Vito’s, TOBS, etc) or artisan (Stirling, B&M, DG, etc) I’m not worried. Main reason I initially joined here was to find out how to make shaving soap (which I did). I also see younger shavers leading a move away from canned foams and gels based on the environmental impact they have
 
That all makes sense. Hopefully, there will be another resurgence someday. I have been on an acquisition spree to get items I wanted to have on rotation for my shave kit. I have far surpassed what I intended to accumulate, and I plan to take a break and enjoy what I have once I have everything sorted. While I believe you are probably correct about younger shavers using canned goo, as those shavers get older, they may be drawn to real shaving soaps and brushes. I know many B&B members love synthetics, and many are very inexpensive, but I could see that coming full circle where natural bristles become sought after. I have one synthetic brush I don't love, but I will keep it as a travel brush. While I have had many recommendations for good synthetics, the ones I am curious about are expensive enough that I am not interested in sinking money into them to see if I can find a synthetic I like. I suppose some younger shavers feel that way about badger. While it is sad to see great companies closing (like my beloved Above the Tie!) I have and enjoy what I want to try, so I will keep shaving and smiling!
There is also the obvious fact that most young men these days prefer to grow a beard, whether they can grow a good one or not. Like you, I have not warmed to synthetics. I have two and don't feel like I need more than that. I may even sell my Chubby 2 synth. The one I will keep is a Wolf Whiskers handle with a Blackwolf knot. That one I like. Other than that, I have more than enough badger brushes and razors, plenty of blades, a couple of boar brushes, and a good stock of software, but with all of the companies shutting down I should probably stock up on some soap and aftershave. I also am with you on ATT. I have two and they will never be a part of a BST listing.
 

Rudy Vey

Shaving baby skin and turkey necks
I think it is clearly shrinking. Look at all of the companies shutting down: Charcoal Goods, Vie Long, Thater. Has anyone seen anything new from Ikon lately? How many soap companies? There is a Facebook page that is a place to raffle shave gear. Just a few years ago it was a fun place to try to get some hard to get and expensive brushes, razors, and software, and also easy to get stuff that people just wanted to unload. Now the raffles NEVER fill. Even a beautiful Wiborg couldn't come close to filling. I've seen Wolfman razors not fill. I also buy and sell on the BST often and I see a lot of things sitting unsold for long stretches of time. I have brushes that I've tried to sell more than once for much less than I paid for them, and I still have them. It is sad to think about, but the youngest people on this forum will see the end of wet shaving as a hobby. They will be using safety razors with some canned shaving foam or gel at the end.
I do not see a rosy future for a lot of companies, big or small (myself included) in the field of wet shaving when I see such posts:

"An order was placed for the Yaqi 'Evererst' 24mm synthetic. Just over 16 euros shipped from China."

No one of us can compete with China, and I believe this is the end for many of us, well some already folded, like Vielong, Thaeter, Mozingo etc.
The trend is cheap, cheap and the Chinese have this covered very well. Sad.
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I do not see a rosy future for a lot of companies, big or small (myself included) in the field of wet shaving when I see such posts:

"An order was placed for the Yaqi 'Evererst' 24mm synthetic. Just over 16 euros shipped from China."

No one of us can compete with China, and I believe this is the end for many of us, well some already folded, like Vielong, Thaeter, Mozingo etc.
The trend is cheap, cheap and the Chinese have this covered very well. Sad.
I've lived long enough to see industry after industry move their manufacturing to China or another country with very low labor rates... and in the first world countries.... the middle class continues in decline. At the end, no one will be able to buy anything but cheap products from overseas.... unless the countries wake up.

I try to support the small local companies when I can.... unless they truly price themselves out of the market. An example is our local grocery store chain.... I can save as much as $5 on one item (the same item/brand), too many times. I wish I were exaggerating... but I do most of the grocery shopping, though now that I'm working again, my wife is doing more of it... On an average grocery shopping venture, we save around $80 by shopping other places.... $320 more a month to shop at the local grocery chain?.... And it's not even a mom and pop shop... a real grocery store that has priced themselves out of the market for us.

I know income levels vary..... and some people struggle even to buy the cheap Chinese products..... I guess I'm a stickler for quality, though lots of people swear by their Chinese products. I'd prefer to have just a few nice brushes instead of 20 Chinese ones. Razors? Same thing... I gravitate toward CNC machined razors from around the world. For me, it's easier to say.. Oh, I bought this razor from Greece... than, This is a copy done by a Chinese company.... again, this is just one man's opinion.
 
There is also the obvious fact that most young men these days prefer to grow a beard, whether they can grow a good one or not. Like you, I have not warmed to synthetics. I have two and don't feel like I need more than that. I may even sell my Chubby 2 synth. The one I will keep is a Wolf Whiskers handle with a Blackwolf knot. That one I like. Other than that, I have more than enough badger brushes and razors, plenty of blades, a couple of boar brushes, and a good stock of software, but with all of the companies shutting down I should probably stock up on some soap and aftershave. I also am with you on ATT. I have two and they will never be a part of a BST listing.
I have three complete ATT razors and an open comb baseplate to go with my Windsor SSRH. Fantastic razors, especially my X1. That's funny; my only synthetic is a Chubby 2. Recently I purchased more soap, and I think I have 14 in rotation, which should last me several years. I have a brand new puck of the old formulation Mitchell's Wool Fat in my MWF ceramic bowl, and three more new pucks waiting. That brings me to ~17 pucks, all at 90%+ remaining. If I 3017'ed what I have I might be set for life.
 
I do not see a rosy future for a lot of companies, big or small (myself included) in the field of wet shaving when I see such posts:

"An order was placed for the Yaqi 'Evererst' 24mm synthetic. Just over 16 euros shipped from China."

No one of us can compete with China, and I believe this is the end for many of us, well some already folded, like Vielong, Thaeter, Mozingo etc.
The trend is cheap, cheap and the Chinese have this covered very well. Sad.
This makes me sad on many levels.

1) I hate to see stalwarts like you unable to stay in business. I need to order a brush from you while I still can.

2) Buying Chinese-made stuff in our society is inevitable, but going out of your way to buy a Yaqi seems like blasphemy.

In my eyes, the history of wet shaving is Gillette, Italy, and the UK, to name the biggies. I only purchased a synthetic Simpsons because a member here suggested I was missing out, and I wanted to see for myself. I am sure there are decent synthetic brushes out there, but I am not interested based on my limited experience. Again, it goes back to history and a tip of my hat to the luxurious aspects of wet shaving. This topic has come up lately, with many threads discussing the cheapest way to shave or complaints about visiting B&B dragging people down "the rabbit hole." I have no issue with anyone who wants or needs to be frugal, but I feel many are missing the point. Whenever I shave, I enjoy the experience of using a great Simpsons, Semogue, or Shavemac brush with fabulous natural fibers. Good soaps elevate the experience, and vintage razors add an extraordinary history.

Now, get off my lawn! I have officially become a grumpy old man.
 
I've lived long enough to see industry after industry move their manufacturing to China or another country with very low labor rates... and in the first world countries.... the middle class continues in decline. At the end, no one will be able to buy anything but cheap products from overseas.... unless the countries wake up.

I try to support the small local companies when I can.... unless they truly price themselves out of the market. An example is our local grocery store chain.... I can save as much as $5 on one item (the same item/brand), too many times. I wish I were exaggerating... but I do most of the grocery shopping, though now that I'm working again, my wife is doing more of it... On an average grocery shopping venture, we save around $80 by shopping other places.... $320 more a month to shop at the local grocery chain?.... And it's not even a mom and pop shop... a real grocery store that has priced themselves out of the market for us.

I know income levels vary..... and some people struggle even to buy the cheap Chinese products..... I guess I'm a stickler for quality, though lots of people swear by their Chinese products. I'd prefer to have just a few nice brushes instead of 20 Chinese ones. Razors? Same thing... I gravitate toward CNC machined razors from around the world. For me, it's easier to say.. Oh, I bought this razor from Greece... than, This is a copy done by a Chinese company.... again, this is just one man's opinion.
There is a high-end grocery store in my community where I used to shop because they had great organic vegetables. After several "sticker-shock" moments at the cash register, I changed to another store where I need to bag my own groceries, but they still have great organic vegetables. The same organic, pasture-raised eggs (same brand, same box) in the first store are $12.59/dozen! At the new store I shop, they are $5.99. The rest of their products have similar price discrepancies.

I agree with you completely on razors, brushes, etc. While I have spent a fair amount of money on my shaving hobby, the cost pales in comparison to my mountain bike hobby, skiing, or motorcycles. I am not going to be here forever, but while I am here, I will not be using any made-in-China shaving products or any other Chinese products as much as that is possible. Recently I was going to make a nice shelf cabinet for some shaving gear, and using hardwood and materials priced out at Home Depot was running north of $300, not including all my time. I ended up buying some decent shelves on Amazon, made in China, for $33. Sometimes there is no choice, but in shaving, there is.
 
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