Because of the internet, Long Tail markets exist everywhere.Â When distance, warehousing and inventory selection problems are solved, markets for physical goods suddenly look very different from the way that they used to.
A striking example of this phenomena is the simple act of shaving.Â Virtually all men do it.Â Virtually all men buy their shaving products at the local grocery or pharmacist.Â Gilette has made a fortune by providing simple, cheap consumables to men the world over.
Some years ago, after trying all the different creams, soaps, and gels on the market, I discovered the secret to a great shave.Â Use a brush to lather your face.Â Use really hot water.Â First, lather and shave in the direction of the whiskers.Â Then, lather and shave against the whiskers.Â You get a perfect shave every time.
Well, as everyone does at one point or another, I leave things in hotel rooms.Â A few months ago, I left my beloved badger bristle shaving brush behind.Â No problem, said I,Â I’ll just go get another at the pharmacy.Â
Not so fast.
I guess I’m a dying breed, because neither my grocery, nor my pharmacy carry these items.Â But you know, a quick search on eBay turned up hundreds of merchants who’ve not just taken to purveying brushes, but also vast inventories of exotic shaving creams (with appointments to various european courts!), and rasors ranging from the simple cartridge rasors we use today, to safety rasors and wickedly sharp straight rasors.Â And brushes?Â Did you know you could pay as much as $500 for a shaving brush, if you were so inclined?
I made a purchase from Tones Barber Shop in the UK.Â One pure badger brush, a travel tube of Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream, and a tub of Taylor of Old Bond Street Almond Shaving Cream.Â It’s heavenly.Â
Thank goodness for long tails, and shaving brushes.