Simpsons in the News

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.
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BeatlesFan
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Simpsons in the News

Post by BeatlesFan » Fri May 16, 2014 3:49 pm

Interesting article in the Financial Times about Simpsons brushes. As you will see, they have experienced strong growth, after near terminal decline. My hope is that this is a bellwether for traditional wet shaving, generally. Enjoy the article.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/568ce4ee-ce1d ... z31vAWHOXw

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jww
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by jww » Sat May 17, 2014 4:14 pm

I just wanted to read the article, but I have to register -- even for 8 "free" views per month??????? I'll trust that it is a good article.
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by brothers » Sat May 17, 2014 4:21 pm

jww wrote:I just wanted to read the article, but I have to register -- even for 8 "free" views per month??????? I'll trust that it is a good article.
Yeah, I didn't want to have to register either. I guess a lot of newspapers, etc. do that. It's not worth the effort to me.
Gary

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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by BeatlesFan » Sat May 17, 2014 9:56 pm

Well raise my rent . . . I wonder why they let me see the full text, as I am not a subscriber either. Sorry to have led you up a blind alley!

To summarize the article briefly, Simpsons was almost out of business, but, thanks to some tax breaks to build a new facility and (more importantly) a massive spike in demand for their product, their business is now experiencing dramatic growth.

I was very pleased to hear of Simpsons' turnaround, and I think it's very likely a positive indicator that things a trending well in wet shaving land.

Anyhow, sorry you got blocked, and I hope my brief summary makes up for it, at least in part.

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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by brothers » Sun May 18, 2014 8:14 am

Thanks for the synopsis, it was bringing the synthetics to market that really got the motor running, I'm sure! I'm sure it was a combination of things, first and foremeost, the new ownership should be commended for saving Simpson's for future generations of wet shavers. Congratulations Mark!
Gary

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malocchio
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by malocchio » Sun May 18, 2014 9:29 am

Now if we could only find out what is going on with Rooney...

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Raze R. Blade
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by Raze R. Blade » Sun May 18, 2014 4:27 pm

BeatlesFan wrote:To summarize the article briefly, Simpsons was almost out of business, but, thanks to some tax breaks to build a new facility and (more importantly) a massive spike in demand for their product, their business is now experiencing dramatic growth.
We have Cory Greenberg to thank for that massive spike. His Today show segment back in early 2005 sparked the current wetshaving revival, benefiting both wetshavers and wetshaving vendors alike.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhDjWSJk0cQ

It is to Mark Watterson's credit that he had the good business sense to purchase Simpson's, thus saving the brand and adding a profitable brand to his already successful business. The Financial Times article link had a paywall, but this interview with Mr. Watterson at Kaliandee does not. In states in part:
7. You have previously stated that part of the reason for Vulfix’s purchase of the Simpsons brand in 2008 was because the former owner had trouble finding suitable replacements for his craftspeople as they retired. As an employer, have you had any difficulties finding new employees willing to learn the more traditional crafts involved in brush making?

Staff & particularly key operational employee training are a vital & an ongoing part of any business. We try & ensure that our workforce is skilled in a variety of facets to cover every area in the manufacture of a truly hand-made traditional product. This is what makes a Simpson brush truly unique. Skilled operatives are involved throughout the entire production process. Our staff are well rewarded & some of our work force have been with the company for over thirty years. A happy workforce makes an excellent shaving brush!
His mention of the limited supply of badger hair is quite interesting, and gives added meaning to the recent efforts with improved synthetic knots. It might not be so much of an issue now, but could become so if the traditional wetshaving boom continues to expand. There is every indication that it will, especially since Gillette went off the deep end with the BallTastic GimmickShave razor.

It is good to see the brand reinvigorated and its future secure. Kudos to Mark and the rest of the Simpsons / Progress Vulfix crew!

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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by J T » Sun May 18, 2014 4:54 pm

Mark systematically pitched the 'new' Simpsons on each forum - brilliant.....+1
Moved production to Isle of Man - self governing British protectorate with a flat tax....+2
Mann is not a member of the E U.....+3
By treaty all Manx products move without restriction in the E U (as I understand it - trade
Lawyers feel free to chime in) .....+4, 5 & 6
I believe Simpsons sets retail price for its product resellers.....+7,8,9 & 10

Truly interesting business plan.
~ Jack

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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by Squire » Sun May 18, 2014 8:40 pm

They demanded I sigh up as well to which I declined.
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by bernards66 » Sun May 18, 2014 9:45 pm

A shame that most of us can not access that article linked in the OP. Really, Simpsons has almost 'died' twice in the recent past. By about 1990 the company was going into receivership ( bankruptcy in US parlance ) when through a series of unlikely events David Carter wound up buying the firm ( and Coate's in the bargain ) and breathing new life into the operation and it's distribution process. But, he was a busy man with many other irons in the fire and as he grew older he became less able to keep a careful eye on the Simpson operation. And, as Mr. Watterson alluded to, it became increasingly difficult to find replacements for his retiring crafts people. At the very end, I heard, he was down to one woman who was tying all the bristle knots. This is where the Wattersons and Vulfix stepped in and saved the day a second time. It was said that Mr. Carter did not want to sell the venerable name to just anybody ( afterall, he salvaged the company originally not primarily as a money maker but because he valued the heritage ) and Vulfix was the absolutely most perfect buyer IMO.
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by jww » Mon May 19, 2014 7:37 am

malocchio wrote:Now if we could only find out what is going on with Rooney...
I think he could be sold in the next year or so. Just my opinion --- ymmv.

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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by brothers » Mon May 19, 2014 7:18 pm

malocchio wrote:Now if we could only find out what is going on with Rooney...
Unfortunately, not much these days. He had a great run though, didn't he!

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Raze R. Blade
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Re: Simpsons in the News

Post by Raze R. Blade » Mon May 26, 2014 10:11 am

J T wrote: I believe Simpsons sets retail price for its product resellers.....+7,8,9 & 10
Most other non-artisan wetshaving vendors set minimum retail prices for their products. I know Merkur does. One online retailer once noted that another online retailer ratted him out to the manufacturter for having a sale below the minimum price. I have seen posts deleted on a forum thread that contained a link to a shaving product on Amazon being sold below the minimum. The deleted posts, including two of mine, were wholly innocuous and fell squarely within the forum rules and guidelines. The manufacturers do not tolerate pricing anomalies well, as they do not want profits eroded by price wars. Bad for us, but good for the product distribution chain. Some vendors get around this by charging the minimum retail for products, but then bundling other goodies for free.

There is another solution: Go artisan. Artisans are free from externally imposed pricing regimes, and so can charge whatever they want. For brushes, this often results in premium brushes priced far below their commercial counterparts. To name just a few examples:

El Druida
New Forest Brushes
PC Woodcraft and Pens
The Golden Nib
The Whipped Dog
Zen Shaving

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