Fido is a retired senior local government officer who has taken up a series of interests to fill his retirement, which he blogs about. Initially this was bells, the sort that ring not the sort that you drink. Then he turned his attention to traditional shaving with a blog and with more focus to shaving brushes with another blog.
Fido’s shaving brush blog is interesting because he spent a lot of money buying a representative cross section of the world’s current production. He also investigated the whole business model of the shaving brush industry and was surprised to discover that, regardless of the name printed on the brush, they largely seem to come from China. Sometimes the whole brush and sometimes just the knot.
Fido then realised that there was an immense price differential between the factory door price for these brushes in China and the retail price that customers were being asked for them in the West. This was an opportunity, all he had to do was to be less greedy. Fido was very well positioned because his brush collection and his blog had put him in the position of possessing expert knowledge, something he could pass on to his customers in the brushes that he offered. New Forest Brushes was born.
This is in some ways very similar to what Ian Tang in China does on eBay with Frank Shaving brushes. He also buys from the factory and sells directly to the customer. We shaving brush buyers have become very lucky with both these enterprising gentlemen.
The first New Forest brush was a limited edition, or in manufacturing terms a batch. Imaginatively it was called the 2201, it has a two band badger knot of 22 mm and a loft of about 50 mm which makes it an all round brush that will handle both soaps and creams and any lathering method. The head is made of redressed and resorted long best badger hair. But the best thing about it was that Fido was doing the quality control, so you knew you were getting a good brush.
Hardly surprisingly word got out very quickly on the grapevine that there was a new £25 brush that outperformed all the traditional brands at that price and even at considerably higher price points. And the 2201 promptly sold out. Those who have them are lucky that they got in when they did. And now Fido had a public who wanted more.
So it follows, in a logical numbering sequence, that we now have the 2211, which is a silvertip with a knot of 22 mm and a loft of 48 mm. It has extra hair to increase density. If you want one then Paypal (with shipping address) £35 to [email protected]
I am 100% positive that this is an excellent brush, that it will get rave reviews and that it will prove to be very popular, especially with Christmas coming up.
Here are a few words from Fido himself:
“My brushes are not a simple factory produced job with my brand added. To get to my first brush, I had bought and used examples of every type of brush on the market from a few pounds to all the top models, inc the Rooney Finest, Plisson High White Mountain, the Super Simpson grades and many others. It wasn’t until I had assessed and used them all and studied different approaches to manufacturing that I had the idea of designing and specifying my own.
I had many types of brush handle, brush hair, shape and loft sizes made as samples before selecting the specific brush I wanted made – quite different to the standard factory model. A lot of effort also went in to my second brush – which I happen to be delighted with. This venture of mine has taken up a great deal of time and effort and I am open minded about how it will develop. If my brushes continue to be well received I will continue as long as I can keep the work within bounds. I have had several offers from retailers to sell my brushes, but I am reluctant to force the prices up.
The whole point of my operation is a small highly focussed personal one man business that is intended as much for fun as for profit. I certainly don’t want to be seen as a threat to established brush makers or to custom brush makers whose products I highly regard. I am just an eccentric old Englishman who has this peculiar love of shaving brushes!
disclaimer: No product or money changed hands in the writing of this article. Unlike certain shaving forums where vendors pay the forum management. I own a New Forest 2201 and paid for it myself, it is an excellent brush.
Bruce, I have never claimed that the major brands of shaving brushes mostly come from China. It is well known that most badger hair comes from China. Some manufacturers import ready made knots and make handles in their own country. There is speculation that some handles are also made in China which bear “Made in England” labels. My personal concern is that if it is claimed that a brush is made in a particular country, the buyer should expect this to be true!
New Forest brush model numbering system:
First two numbers – Knot size eg. 22 for 22 mm.
Third number – Hair grade 0 Super Badger Two Band
1 Finest Silvertip
2 High Mountain Badger
Fourth number – unique number within category for each type of brush.
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