Zafirro is the biggest advance in razor blade technology in more than a half century. When we started working on Zafirro our goal was to utilize the most significant technological advances in material sciences and nanotechnology to create better blades. We wanted a blade that was sharper than anything on the market, but more importantly, we wanted a blade that lasted much, much longer.
Sapphire is one of the hardest and most durable substances on the planet. In fact, sapphire is second only to diamond in terms of innate hardness. As a result, Zafirro’s sapphire blades stay sharp for a long, long time.
Sapphire’s unique material properties also make it possible to get the tip sharper than any other blades in the world today– more than 10X sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, or about 80 atoms at the tip. That’s about 5,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. It took the right material and years of work with semiconductor manufacturers to achieve sharpening on this atomic scale. The image above shows one of our blades magnified by a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
According to the EPA, 2 billion razor blades go into landfills each year in the United States alone. The disposable razor is quite possibly the most wasteful product in your bathroom. Because sapphire is so much harder than steel, the blades last much longer. Currently our blades last about 6 to 12 months. However, we strongly believe that we can increase that to several years or more in the not-too-distant-future.
Replacement cartridges will sell for less than $49. We won’t know exactly how low we can price them until we have some idea about volumes. But in contrast to “the razor blade model” that exists today, we plan to make very little margin on the replacement cartridges. Sapphire blades are still comparatively very expensive to make, but our hope is that over the next few years we can simultaneously reduce blade costs and significantly extend blade life ultimately making annual razor blade costs much lower than what most people pay today. In the lab, we’ve demonstrated the potential for our blades to last 3-5 years, but it will take some time before we are able to deliver that in a real-world setting.
Extra Cartridge for $39!
We’ll unlock our first stretch goal when we reach $500,000. We didn’t plan to offer additional cartridges during the campaign because without knowing volumes it’s unclear where we can price them, but because of number of requests we received, we’ve decided to add it as a stretch goal and price it for Kickstarter backers below the likely initial retail price.
Billions of people on the planet use a razor every day, but when was the last time you saw one and thought, “Wow, that’s a beautiful product”? Or even one that you thought looked well-made. Most razors are usually cheap plastic in neon orange, pink, or green, and at best look like a low quality kid’s toy.
We wanted to create a razor that was exceptionally well-made, a pleasure to use, and one of the most beautiful products you own. Ideally, the kind of product that could be handed down, like a nice watch. We spent years working with designers making dozens of adjustments to try to achieve that goal.
It is possible that we are biased, but we don’t believe there has ever been a better present in the history of mankind than a Zafirro Z2. No one has one, everyone can use one, and it’s an incredibly unique, thoughtful, and awe-inspiring gift.
It took us more than four years of R&D, with dozens of hurdles, potholes, and missteps along the way, but we were finally able to make the first Zafirro in 2011.
Unfortunately, at that point there was no way for us to make a sapphire blade razor that didn’t have an astronomical price point. Since that was the case, we embraced it and went absolutely all-out on our first model. We decided to make the handle out of iridium, the hardest metal on the planet, which is typically only used in things like rocket engine nozzles.
That led to our first product, the Zafirro Iridium, the $100,000 razor. Within a year we launched our second product, the Zafirro Gold, for $18,000.
As we hoped, Zafirro’s initial launch generated an incredible amount of press. It was a lot of fun to get that kind of exposure for the product. However, we knew that we would not have a meaningful impact on the industry until we could get our costs down to our target price of $299 retail.
That has been our focus at Zafirro since launch. Sapphire’s use as a component in high-tech products like advanced solar panels, LEDs and the iPhone 6 has helped drive prices down. We’ve also found new suppliers and worked with existing suppliers to optimize the manufacturing process. It took another four years of R&D and trial and error, but we finally have a path forward that reduces costs to the point where our goal is achievable if we manufacture at high volumes.
We’ve loved Kickstarter from day 1. We feel that the new channel Kickstarter has created for millions of entrepreneurs, developers, and designers to bring their ideas to life is world-changing. Their recent decision to become a B Corp punctuates who they are and what they stand for, and we are incredibly excited to be involved in even a very small way.
Utilizing Kickstarter’s platform also allows us to do two very important things:
1. To see whether the world is as excited about Zafirro as we are.
2. Help fund all the investments we need to make in the manufacturing process. This will allow us to take Zafirro from essentially a bespoke product, available to only a very small number of people, and make it available to the world. Manufacturing a Zafirro Z2 at our target price point can only be done with scale, and that requires major upfront investment and volume