The reason they’re called refill “bars” rather than “pucks,” as you might otherwise expect, is that they’re not round. While your initial reaction to this might be “well that’s annoying,” give it some thought for a moment. When you buy a refill puck from one of the few artisanal companies that offer them, you almost always end up squashing it down into whatever container you’re using for the soap. If it’s one of the standard 100 mm jars (first used right here at Barrister and Mann; it was a big deal at the time!), you’ll almost certainly receive a 3 inch (89mm) round puck that you either have to flatten against the bottom of the jar, or chase around the inside every time you want to lather the soap. If you’re putting it in a bowl or a scuttle, you’re likely in a similar situation: in order to prevent the soap from bouncing all over the container, you have to flatten it against the bottom. Samples work the same way.
The point is that, as a community and as a group of consumers, wet shavers are handling their soaps all the time. So it didn’t seem like too much of an issue to offer rectangular bars instead of round pucks; after all, you’re going to be flattening and molding it into whatever shape you need anyway. How it looks beforehand is irrelevant.
As a result, we’ll be offering rectangular bars, about the same size as one of our bars of bath soap, as refills. They’ll come wrapped in paper and labeled, but bear with us. We’re still working out the finer points of how to package them to give them that Barrister and Mann twist, and we might go through a few iterations of packaging style before we find something that really works. This is a bit of a learning process for us; we’re trying to reduce the plastic waste that our products create, which is inconvenient for our customers and difficult to recycle, so it ends up in landfills, where it can languish for centuries or millennia. We’re hoping that this is a big step toward offering people an alternative, especially because these bars will be easier to pack and ship, requiring less material and, in aggregate volume, less overall fuel and petroleum.
Each bar will weigh about five ounces, but a heads up that, because shaving soap is so much softer and more delicate than even freshly cut bar soap, there may be some variance in our initial batches as we refine the process. Unfortunately, there’s no way to experiment with this format without producing large batches of product, so we appreciate everyone’s patience as we refine the entire process into something that’s easy for you and easy for us.
Our shaving bars will initially be offered only in our seasonal fragrances, but, as we refine the packaging and the production methods and begin to scale the program up, we hope to offer refill bars of ALL of our fragrances within the next six months, though we’re more ambitiously aiming for the end of the year. Each five-ounce bar will retailer for $15.99 (more soap for less is always good!), and, while we won’t initially be able to offer them to our retailers, we hope to begin shipping them to all of our retail partners as soon as possible.
We’re really looking forward to everyone’s feedback and to getting these into the hands of our users. We can’t do this without you, so please feel free to let us know what you think!