October 21 2014 Latest news:
by Imogen Blake
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Opening your post to find a parcel full of sharp razor blades sounds more like something out of a Hammer horror film than an innovative new business start-up.
In fact, the delivery may now be from online men’s shaving brand Cornerstone – the brainchild of 25-year-old Highgate entrepreneur Oliver Bridge, who has been named as one to watch by Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon’s Den.
Customers sign up for the subscription service online to get flexible and regular delivery of razors and other products, individually tailored around how often they shave and what items they need.
The Oxford graduate managed to pull in £175,000 from a team of high-flying investors in just 18 months to launch the business, including a former chief executive of tea and coffee retailer Whittard of Chelsea.
Mr Bridge, of Oakshott Avenue, only started the company in June but has already grown quietly confident that Cornerstone could become a “Richard Branson-style business” in the next decade.
He said: “I always hated shaving, found it really uncomfortable and always cut myself.
“One day I was in a chemist and thought, ‘I’m queuing in a hot shop paying over the odds for something that’s going to hurt. There must be a better way.
“I’m not saying we will take over the world because that’s a bit arrogant, but I believe in making things simpler and in today’s world there’s not enough of that.
“I would love to be like Virgin, but for the moment the focus is on shaving as there’s so many people out there.”
This is not the first business the entrepreneur has launched.
While at university, he created an online database that confirms whether a person’s name is male or female, which thousands of companies use to personalise literature for their customers.
He started his first company, online large shoe size retailer Bigger Feet, aged 15, while still in school and studying for his GCSEs.
It attracted worldwide media attention and Mr Bridge was even mentioned by name as a young entrepreneur to watch in Duncan Bannatyne’s autobiography, .
However, the personal mention has scuppered Mr Bridge’s hopes of appearing on the Dragon’s Den with Cornerstone.
“I would not be allowed on the programme because I once met Duncan Bannatyne,” Mr Bridge said. “But my investors are like Dragons, just not as famous.
“One of my investors is the former chairman of Jack Wills, so we have big hitters who will bring the Dragon money but who don’t bring all the fame that comes with TV.”
n If you would like more information please visit cornerstone.co.uk.