The Supply Side: Bentonville startup develops shaver cleaning solution

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,172 views 

Entrepreneur and inventor Louie Graham was in a hurry for a meeting and frustrated with the process to clean his razor while shaving. He wanted a better solution to clean it — one unlike anything on the market.

“Is there not a solution where I can just make the process a lot more fun and simple and convenient? And so I looked online on Amazon. I looked in China. I looked everywhere. And the product didn’t exist globally,” Graham said. “We started to do research on patents that exist, and it didn’t exist either.”

Graham created the razor cleaner in June and founded Bentonville-based startup Bristle, and since then, he and a team of five have been working to launch the consumer packaged goods (CPG) product he hopes to start selling in the next 12 months. The company also has a seven-member advisory board, comprising retired executives of retail and CPG companies, and five attorneys, who represent a top CPG company, working on the patent-pending product.

It’s expected to not only improve health and hygiene but also save 6.7 trillion gallons of water globally per year if used by one-third of those who shave daily, he said. People typically use about two or three gallons of water every time they shave, and with the product, people would use as little as 12 ounces, he explained.

Graham, who established the company in June, said he has invested more than $280,000 into the project. Leslee Urhahn, who has developed marketing programs for multiple CPG companies, joined as a partner in October after being introduced to Graham through a mutual friend. When she learned about the product, she wanted to know how soon she could have one.

“There’s not a competitor in the market available,” Urhahn said. “I equate it to bottled water. When companies first started bottling water, I remember going, ‘Why would you pay for bottled water?’ It comes out of the faucet. It’s something so simple. But bottled water has been very disruptive in the market.”

Louie Graham, founder of Bentonville-based startup Bristle, and business partner Leslee Urhahn are working to launch a razor cleaner line.

The Bristle product will solve a level of frustration that people are living with now, Urhahn said.

Graham, who graduated from the University of Arkansas with an architecture degree in 2014, has focused his time on the project since June. The target markets for the product include the hotel industry, military and retail consumers. Some of the retailers might include Walgreens and CVS.

The company also is working on patents internationally and discussing the product with investors, some in Northwest Arkansas. Graham and Urhahn recently auditioned for ABC reality show “Shark Tank,” which allows entrepreneurs to pitch their products to investors. Bristle has collaborated on the project with Rapid Prototypes, Southern Reprographics and Startup Junkie and has other CPG products in the works, including a toothbrush. Graham said he plans to invest in the new products with earnings from the initial one.

Editor’s note: The Supply Side section of Talk Business & Politics focuses on the companies, organizations, issues and individuals engaged in providing products and services to retailers. The Supply Side is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by Propak Logistics.