The End of the Era Razor

The End of the Era Razor

Shane Swartzlander
4 minute read

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The Era is the first of its kind - a mass-produced consumer product made primarily of 3D-printed stainless steel. We spent two years developing it and it proved to be a great seller when we finally launched it in January of 2022. The Era is everything we dreamed it would be. It's versatile (TEN base plates!), made in the USA, high quality, affordable (just $75), and a great performer. But as much as we love it and as awesome as it is, the Era razor is coming to an end.

Why the Era is being discontinued

There's always a risk in trying something new and that's a risk we will gladly take. It's also a risk that our manufacturing partner took in developing a proprietary printing technology. The technology is incredible and allows for the production of small parts at scale at a price point that is competitive with legacy mass production methods. We sincerely believe that it will be the future of manufacturing and it may allow the USA to be competitive on the global manufacturing stage once more. All that development doesn't come cheap and the two years spent developing the Era were costly, too.

So we weren't entirely surprised when earlier this summer, we received news that the company won't be able to manufacture the Era any longer. They ran into some financial constraints and jobs that weren't profitable had to be cut. That includes the Era. As you can probably tell, I'm being intentionally vague out of respect and admiration for the team that helped build the Era over the last three years. They didn't want it to end this way and neither did we. It's just business. We have no animosity toward them and we're confident they did everything they could to keep the Era afloat.

Since we found out, we've spent the last few months seeing what could be done to salvage the Era. We thought maybe we could streamline the base plate offerings to reduce complexity, but that wasn't enough. We explored tweaking the design to make it simpler to produce and more profitable, but the tweaks required are too destructive to the design to go forward with. We explored different 3D printing manufacturers, but the Era was designed specifically for this method and the price point just can't be met using alternative processes. After exhausting every option we could think of, we don't have a choice but to pull the plug on the Era razor.

What happens now?

When we decided to make ten base plates for the Era, we knew that some would be more popular than others, but we didn't exactly know much more popular. Would Level 3 SB sell five times as well as Level 1 OC? Or maybe twice as well? A hundred times? We didn't really have any idea, but we were doing monthly production so we had a good way to solve this problem. We would initially produce a fairly large number of all the base plate variants and build up our supply. Then we'd monitor sales over time and see which were the most popular and by exactly how much. With that knowledge we would just adjust our future production to produce more of what was needed and less of what wasn't.

It's a good plan, or at least it would have been a good plan if we had more time to execute. Instead, production was canceled only six or seven months after it started so we were never able to fully switch priorities to high-sellers. This means we're left with a lot of extra parts so it's time to liquidate them!

Era Sale

From now until they're gone, everything Era will be heavily discounted and final sale only.

What did we learn?

If we had it do over again, we would do the exact same thing. Trying hard things is important and failure comes with the territory.  At Blackland we're all about taking shots. We're not afraid of failure and we'll keep trying innovative things that move the needle forward. It's tough knowing that the Era failed for reasons we couldn't control, but that's life. And who knows? Maybe the Era will return at some point. But for now, we're proud of what we've accomplished with the Era and we're ready to move onto the next challenge.

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