2015 Young Gun Cornerstone hits huge milestone in push for growth

Entrepreneur Oliver Bridge, who started kitchen table business with a £5,000 loan, reflects on surpassing one million parcels milestone

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One million parcels delivered. That’s the staggering figure shaving subscription service Cornerstone has achieved in just four and a half years, with more than 250,000 customers receiving its packages.

Oliver Bridge, founder and Class of 2015 Young Gun, started the business from his kitchen table with a loan of just £5,000.

It has since raised around £8m in venture capital and has gained a huge following for its ‘soft on the skin and on the environment’ approach, with no animal testing, sourcing from British suppliers wherever possible, plus no parabens, alcohol, BPA (an industrial chemical used to make plastics and resins) or microbeads used in its products.

“It’s crazy we’ve now sent 1,000,000 parcels,” says Bridge. “I couldn’t have envisaged that we could achieve this level of impact in such a short space of time.

“Men’s shaving is one of the fiercest, most competitive markets in the world, with giants such as Proctor & Gamble dominating the space with multi-million budgets. To have hit the million parcels mark 54 months after launch is just awesome.”

Packed within those parcels have been 499,000 tubes of shave gel or cream (equating to 75,000 litres) and 5.4million razors. The business has also generated more than nine million visitors to its website.

The milestones are a world away from July 2014, when the business – which was also a three-time winner of the People’s Champion Award at the Startups Awards – launched.

At that point, former Dragons’ Den investor Duncan Bannatyne pointed out how competitive the shaving market was, particularly as it followed Dollar Shave Club, which was subsequently acquired by Unilever for $1bn, having replaced Proctor & Gamble’s Gillette as the number one online razor company.

And elsewhere Bridge has been in the news for other reasons. Rival brand Gillette has drawn enormous amounts of criticism from a number of quarters for an ad campaign seizing on the #metoo movement, which many believe lacks credibility or an appreciation of the nuances behind the issue, despite its attempt to support a change in male behaviours in work and society.

Speaking to Forbes, Bridge says that while “any decent person would agree with the core premise” – that sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, aggressive male egos and bullying are unacceptable – the advert “feels like a lecture” by “tarring too many people with the same brush”.

As well as alienating many men who “feel no resonance with the way the message is being communicated” Bridge claims it comes across as “disingenuous, inauthentic and hypocritical” coming from a brand that has positioned itself as an alpha-male ‘power’ brand.

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