Sharp Guy Q&A - Oliver Bridge, Entrepreneur, Founder - Cornerstone

Shaving is one of those things that, for many of us, the idea sounds glorious but the every day reality is anything but. If it's not the sensitive skin, it will be the constant need to remember to buy shaving sticks or the uncomfortable daily chore that it can be.

Worry no more, gentlemen. Cornerstone is here to make these problems history.  Having suffered for years with sensitive skin, Cornerstone founder, Oliver Bridge started the business with the ambition of creating the best possible shaving experience. He was determined to transform shaving from the chore it can be into something to look forward to and enjoy.

We sat down with Oliver to discuss Cornerstone, the challenges and rewards of setting up the business and plans for the future.

Cornerstone shaving, Oliver Bridge

Tell us about Cornerstone. What is it?

Cornerstone sells its own brand of quality men’s shaving products and toiletries on a flexible and convenient subscription model over the internet. We’ve experienced an incredibly fast growth in the last 2.5 years. We’ve grown from 0 subscribers back in July 2014 to over 150,000. Disrupting the UK’s shaving and grooming industry, our ambition is to revolutionise the way men shop for bathroom supplies, becoming the only point of purchase for all products, delivered straight to the door, hassle-free. With that in mind we are in the process of launching a series of products, such as a dental care range, vitamins, deodorant, as well as other men's grooming products that will move us away from simply shaving. All in all, it's a really exciting time for Cornerstone at the moment.

Cornerstone shaving

What was your inspiration for starting Cornerstone? 

I'd always suffered with shaving and hadn't find any products that didn't irritate my skin. The real turning point was when I was stuck in a long queue in Boots on my lunch break, trying to buy overpriced razors - I thought there must be a better way to buy shaving supplies that is more convenient, priced fairly and didn't irritate sensitive skin, so that's where the inspiration for starting Cornerstone came from.


What did you do before starting Cornerstone? 

Before starting Cornerstone I worked for a VC fund and prior to that I was at a market research agency.

Is there any part of that job that you miss? 

I used to travel a lot with both jobs which I enjoyed - there's not so much of that these days as the team are all based in the UK and most of our suppliers are here too! 

Cornerstone shaving

What has been the biggest challenge of setting up and running Cornerstone?

Convincing people to change brand to begin with was pretty challenging. We were asking customers to essentially move away from Gillette which they have always used, to Cornerstone which they'd never heard of before, but we were also asking them to change their shopping habits from bricks-and- mortar retail to online subscription commerce! But putting together a better product, a more engaging brand, a super convenient online experience, and wrapping it all together with top notch customer service has really helped us with our success. You can tell it is hard to break into such a saturated market because apart from King of Shaves (which launched in 1993) and Cornerstone, no other brand has seriously challenged Gillette in years.


What has been the biggest reward? 

Building a brand that is genuinely helping men, our mission is to automate the bathroom, making purchasing much easier and more convenient for men, but at the same time not compromising on quality.

Any advice for anyone thinking of starting a business

Although it can ultimately be very rewarding, starting your own business puts you under a tremendous amount of pressure - pretty much every other area of your life (personal finances, health, relationships, sleep!) suffers, so make sure you love what you do otherwise you won't be able to find the energy and determination to jump out of bed every day!

What does the future hold for Cornerstone? 

We're currently in the middle of launching new products and going into other categories, such as dental care and vitamins. Our ultimate goal is to automate the bathroom.

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Sounds very exciting! Stay tuned to Sharp Guy for the latest news on Cornerstone or check out https://www.cornerstone.co.uk/ for more information

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