Dollar Shave Club’s Million-Dollar Man
Haverford School alum Michael Dubin comes clean on his men’s grooming empire.
Michael Dubin//Photo by Tessa Marie Images
The idea for Dollar Shave Club was hatched at a party thrown by Haverford School alum Michael Dubin. Then came the hilarious videos that sparked a male grooming phenomenon. So far, Dubin has raised $73 million in capital for his mail-order empire. He checked in with us from his headquarters in Venice, Calif.
MLT: What led you to California?
MD: I’d love to say that I came here because I wanted to start an Internet company. But I was dating a girl who lived out here, and it was time to see if the relationship was going to work out. It didn’t. But I also came out because I had a cool job opportunity with a small marketing agency.
MLT: How are you able to sell stuff at such low prices?
MD: We don’t have a store, so we don’t pay markup on store distribution. We also don’t pay million-dollar fees to celebrity athletes to endorse our products.
MLT: What’s your market? Are you targeting millennials with your humorous ads?
MD: The median age of our customers is around 36. Millennials are not a majority of our customers. They’re a good chunk, but we’ve built the brand we want to build, and it resonates with whomever it resonates with.
MLT: Did you see yourself in show business?
MD: Entertainment was always of interest to me. I don’t know if I wanted to be a movie star, but I was interested in the media and entertainment. The first job I got after college was as a page at NBC. I did improv as a way to blow off steam. It was a great intellectual challenge.
MLT: What do you like to do when you come back to the Main Line?
MD: I’m 36, and most of my friends that I grew up with have moved on to other cities or have kids and families of their own. When I come back, about four times a year, I spend time at home.
MLT: What was it like growing up here?
MD: I always say my years at Haverford were the most productive and inspiring period for me. The teachers were world-class. The curriculum was rigorous, and I loved every second of it. All the kids there were super into school, and being into school was cool. When I got to [Emory University in Atlanta], it was almost like college was easier than high school.
MLT: You’ve added a toilet-paper product (One Wipe Charlies) to your line. Do you want to have a full line of men’s toiletry products?
MD: That’s the goal. We’ve got to make sure we get it right, so there’s no rush. We want to make sure we’re developing products
our members like and that do what they’re supposed to do.
MLT: Do you consider yourself a funny guy?
MD: Let’s just say I do think I have a great sense of humor, and other people recognize that, too.