For years, Karen Young assumed the issues she had with shaving—the ingrown hairs, the razor burn, the itching—were exclusive to her. It wasn’t until a spring day in 2014, when she and her friends went to get pedicures, that she realized the solution to her problem rested on one thing: asking other women about their experiences with shaving.
Following a discussion with her girlfriends, it became clear to Karen that she wasn’t alone. And learning that other women had the same experience with shaving made Karen angry.
“I just couldn’t let it go,” she says. “I couldn’t stop thinking that there has to be a way to solve these problems.”
Building a collective “oui”
As a former account executive in the luxury fashion and beauty industry, Karen noticed that luxury shaving brands all seemed to target men. Further product research showed that there are few brands on the market that provide a similar shaving experience for women.
So she co-founded Oui Shave and started selling expertly-crafted safety razors paired with all-natural shaving oils that are gentle on the skin—and named after Sex and the City characters, to boot. But Karen wants to go beyond making shaving a luxury for women—she wants to change the perception they have of it.
“I knew the brand was going to have to be about educating women on the art of a better shave, since safety razors are different from the multi-blade razors most of us are used to,” she says.
That’s exactly what the small, all-women team at Oui Shave have based their marketing strategy on: creating content to inform and entertain their customers. They built their Shopify store around a blog and how-to videos that aim to answer all the questions women might have about shaving. They also use the MailChimp for Shopify integration and offer a 10% discount to people who sign up through a pop-up form powered by Privy on their website to reach a larger audience and expand their brand.
“We’re focused on bringing women together through our marketing,” Karen says. “Plus, free shipping and the 10% discount at signup have led to a 35% boost in conversions.”
Spreading knowledge to customers
When Karen started Oui Shave, she knew she wanted to send few—if any—sales emails. As a consumer, she says her inbox is always flooded with sales and promotions she never bothers to open. To get subscribers to open and click campaigns, Karen sends content she thinks they’ll find useful: blog posts and skincare tips, for example.
A few of their campaigns that included blog posts even performed as well as a Black Friday promotional campaign. “I don’t want our customers to think we only send emails to try and sell them something,” she says.
About 70% of the subscribers on their list are people interested in keeping up with the brand and reading their content, while 30% are customers who have made a purchase through their campaigns. But creating segments based on campaign and purchase activity, as well as using Shopify’s retargeting integration Shoelace, have helped them convert more of their subscribers into customers.
“Even though we send blog content instead of store promotions, people know where to find us if they want to buy something,” Karen says.
Starting a conversation
Karen decided to use MailChimp so her team could start a conversation with customers. Customer feedback is vital to their mission to re-educate women about shaving, and sending surveys created through SurveyMonkey to their best customers has helped them make improvements to the product and their content.
“Our customers have been incredibly candid about what their needs and issues are,” Karen says. “And sending newsletters to them has helped us foster the kind of relationship where we felt comfortable asking them for their thoughts.”
To show customers their appreciation for participating in the survey, Karen adds them to a VIP segment so they can beta test new products before they’re available to everyone. Letting customers know that their input matters is what’s moving Oui Shave forward, Karen says. And it also goes back to the focus of their marketing strategy, which is bringing women together to define a new perception of shaving.
“A lot of the ads you see for commercial shaving brands still look like they could be from the 1950s,” Karen says. “We’re way past falling for marketing that has this undertone of what our lives should look like, what we should look like, or what it looks like to be feminine.”