For men, shaving subscriptions options are bountiful with companies like Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s and even Gillette offering the convenience of bringing personal care to your doorstep. Billie recognized there was a gap in the market and brought the same model to serve women, 51% of the population, but with a line of products that are designed specifically for a woman’s body and shaving in the shower. The subscription-based startup offers premium razors at an accessible price point in addition to a suite of body care products for today’s modern woman. Based in Soho, Billie has been growing rapidly since its launch late last year.
AlleyWatch sat down with cofounders Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman to learn more about the company, its genesis, future plans, and and recent Seed round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Billie has raised $6 million in Seed funding. The most recent round was led by Silverton Partners along with participation from existing investors, including Female Founders Fund and Lakehouse Ventures.
Tell us about Billie.
Billie is a female-first body brand built on providing premium-quality shaving and body care products through an affordable subscription model. We deliver direct to the consumer and our products are half the price of competitors. Committed to supporting women, Billie donates one percent of all revenue to women’s causes throughout the world.
What inspired you to start Billie?
Most shaving companies are created for men and women were simply an afterthought in this category – we were still overpaying for a women’s razor or opting to buy more affordable men’s razors, which are not optimally designed for the way we shave in the shower. It soon became clear to us that women were being underserved in this market and that there was a real gap to address.
Billie’s products are uniquely designed for womankind. Understanding that women shave differently than men – and typically up to 10x more surface area – Billie delivers a five-blade razor made with the sharpest blades available and encased it in 360 degrees of skin-loving aloe shave soap, for the ultimate smooth shave (it feels like it floats over your skin!).
Additionally, Billie’s body care products contain only healthy, premium ingredients – meaning no toxins, parabens, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances, and all ingredients are vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. All Billie ingredients have top ratings on the EWG Skin Deep database, a leading independent safety guide for skin and beauty products.
What market does Billie target and how big is it?
Our products are designed for all women, so about 51% of the population. There are a lot of billions involved.
What’s your business model?
We deliver premium quality razors and body care products direct to the consumer through an affordable subscription model. Billie’s products are half the price of competitors and directly in line with men’s razor subscriptions (and with free shipping!). Each refill order includes four 5-blade razor cartridges and customers can select a refill frequency based on their preference: every 1, 2 or 3 months. Billie’s line of body products can also be purchased separately or added with each delivery.
How has the business changed since we last spoke in the fall of last year?
The business has grown much faster than we ever anticipated. Within two days of launch we had shipped to all 50 states and we’ve sold out three times, including all our body care products and each color of the razor handle. We also provide customer service 7 days a week.
What was the funding process like?
We are fortunate to have investors that really believed in Billie and what we’re building. Our goal was to simultaneously fundraise, while also maintaining focus on continued growth. Silverton Partners led the round, along with existing investors who participated.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Raising capital is necessary but it can be distracting to the day-to-day operations of a business – especially when you are lean team operating a fast-growing business! Our objective was to never lose focus on growing the business.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We’re building a unique brand that resonates with women – and delivering premium-quality products at half the price of the competition. In doing so, we’re addressing a large market in a category where women have been underserved.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Our core objective is to continuously delight customers with exceptional products at great prices. Thus far, we have been humbled by the demand and intend to use the upcoming months to grow the team and to increase inventory.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It’s important to be creative and to move mountains with limited resource – however, we believe this applies to all companies.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
At the moment, we’re focused on Billie’s continued growth, including expanding our team and increasing inventory to keep up with demand. We want to make sure we continue to delight our customers, so focusing on surpassing expectations and delivering excellent customer service are top priorities for us.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
The Dutch – it’s around the corner from our office in Soho.