If you fancy shaking the hands of the artisans who make Thomas Clipper's grooming products, as a sort of appreciation of their respective crafts, they wouldn’t be hard to pin down. Richard in Leicestershire hand-turns the lathering bowls, Sara and Gail make and cut the soap in Norfolk, Nigel works the razor handles from stainless steel in Market Harborough and Deepak casts the razor heads in Delhi.
Being able to trace the origins of each piece, right down to the person who’s sanding the wood, is an integral part of Thomas Clipper, and is one that sets the business yards apart from other grooming brands at a time when conversations around transparency are louder than ever.
“We thought there was a real gap in the market,” says Co-founder Antonio Weiss. “You end up spending quite a lot of money on clothes and items, and you don’t really know where they’re from, you don’t have a sense of the quality, the provenance, even of the comfort that they’re actually made in a way that you’d want to tell someone about.”
The idea for Thomas Clipper was first conceived at a wedding in 2014. Weiss, a strategy consultant and councilman, and fellow Co-founder Matt Brown, who works in branding, struck up a conversation about how they yearned for creative respite from the Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations that took up most of their working weeks. While the majority of boozed brainstorming sessions begin and end on the same evening, the pair kept the idea moving and morphed it into a business centered around double-edge razors, which back then was still a relatively untapped market.
Like many modern start-ups, they created a Kickstarter campaign to gauge demand and raise funds for the initial products: the brand’s Mark One and Mark K razors. Each model has an aesthetic priority, of course, combining classic design with modern accents, but the most notable point of difference is the length and weight of the handle, which Weiss says is one of the heaviest available. “We found that rather than having to dig down on your face and add your own pressure, the natural weight of the handle means it’s as smooth a shave as you can possibly get. That also reduces irritation immensely, so for us, the weight of the handle was very important.”