As Cincinnati native Zac Wertz was studying for the bar exam, his mind was wandering elsewhere.
For his entire adult life, shaving had always been an issue. Any razor he tried seemed to cause the same irritation. Though he dabbled in the electric shaver game, he was overwhelmed by how expensive and unreliable each option remained.
Wertz found salvation in the single-edge razor, the extremely cheap option that's become popular among shaving enthusiasts. The problem with using these blades, however, is the incredible amount of precision required to avoid hurting oneself.
With an MBA and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati
under his belt, Wertz's mind began to wander. He had one goal in mind: make a single-edge razor that's easy to use. Within a year he surpassed his Kickstarter
goal of $100,000, and that number only continues to grow.
Wertz began prototyping at home and tested his design on himself. Pleasantly surprised by the favorable results, he took his project a step further and started working with the Columbus-based industrial design firm, Trident
"Explaining the concept was confusing to most people, but Trident understood it," Wertz says.
The company's first official prototype blew him away. Compared with other razors, his nicks were limited and the shave quality was unique — even better than what you get with other single-edge options.
"It gives you an aggressive but mild shave, all with one razor," Wertz says.
With a solid product in hand, Wertz launched Beluga Shave Company
. Beluga's razor allows users to choose whichever blade fits into their budget. The wooden handle and 316L stainless steel pivoting head allows users to place the blade of their choice into the head, screw it closed and then begin using it as easily as they would any run-of-the-mill safety razor. Though the razor has a higher up-front cost, ranging from $125 to $150, Beluga offers a 25-year warranty to buyers based on the high-quality nature of the materials.
To Wertz, this is the kind of razor you pass down to your grandchildren.
"It can be a chore to shave," Wertz says. "This turns it into this luxurious experience."
The Beluga razor company is still primarily a one-man operation. Wertz contracts with manufacturers, expert designers and mechanical engineers from all over the country, but he is the company's only full-time employee. Even so, the product's design is close to being finalized. Customers can preorder the product on the website now and shipments are expected to begin in July.
Though a female-friendly version of the razor has yet to be developed, Wertz anticipates that a similar future model will prove marketable to women as well.