Andy Katz-Mayfield & Jeff Raider | 2018 MAKERS Conference
Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider, Co-Founders of Harry’s, interviewed by Ahmed Musiol, President and Co-Founder, Wayfarer Entertainment, on expanding definitions of masculinity
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Andy Katz Mayfield, Jeff Rader, and Ahmed Musiol.
AHMED MUSIOL: How's it going everybody? Can everybody hear me OK? Great. So Andy and Jeff, co-founders of Harry's, ran this ad in the New York Times. Could we get that back up on the screen real quick please? And while they're pulling it up, why did you guys decide to run that ad in the times? Why are we here? Tell us a little bit about your philosophy.
JEFF RADER: So we ran that ad for international men's day this year. Thought it was really important that we as a brand have a voice around the evolving nature of masculinity. And for us, that actually started about five years ago when we started Harry's. When we built Harry's, Harry's is a men's grooming brand, and we wanted it to feel like a distinctly men's brand. But a brand that had positive impact on the world. And as we thought about the impact that we wanted to have, wanted to have impact on our team, on our customers, and in the world more broadly.
When we thought about our team, Andy and I being two male founders of a men's brand, we're worried that if we didn't focus on diversity early on, that we could end up in a room with 100 other guys talking about men shaving. And that wouldn't be good for our business, nor the type of company that we wanted to build. And so we focused a lot early on, on trying to hire amazing women with strong voices that could create a more inclusive culture at Harry's. And bring a diverse set of perspectives into the company. Today over 40% of our team are women. Over 40% of our leadership team are also women. Over 60% of the directors plus hires that we've made in the last year are women.
And we're definitely not perfect there. I mean, our goal is parity, but we felt like it was really important to have a diverse set of perspectives within the company. The second piece around our customers is we looked at the brands in shaving to start, and they espouse this, sort of, traditional male point of view that we just didn't resonate with. If you think about a shaving ad historically, it's a shirtless guy with a six pack and a perfect jaw line looking off into the distance, shaving while a girl is rubbing his face. Like it just didn't appeal to--
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: You can tell we don't really relate to that.
JEFF RADER: Speak for yourself. No, but, you know, we felt like we shouldn't be that. That we should be a real warm and normal brand that can actually talk to guys in a vulnerable way around the fact that like, hey, we don't know how to shave. Or didn't know how to shave, and had to learn that while we were Harry's. We are guys, normal guys like them, building a brand for them. And so we started having conversations with lots of guys around this masculine act of shaving. And masculine, and more broadly, and started to do a bunch of research on what it means to be a man.
And masculine today, and some of the stats that we came across were pretty troubling to us. You know, men are 3.6 times more likely to commit suicide than women. There's 2.7 million children with incarcerated parents in the world. 90 percent of those are men. 90 percent of all domestic abuse is perpetrated by men. Men are more likely to drop out at every level of the educational system. And so, you know, we felt like some of these norms that have been perpetrated in our industry, and more broadly are causing some of these, sort of, harder things on guys today.
And not that we're, sort of, here saying, oh poor men. We realize that men have been highly advantaged over the course of history, but we feel like the stereotypes that exist in the world should be questioned and evolved. And then a more expansive view of masculinity is an important thing for all of us. And that we as a men's brand should speak to that and should be a platform to espouse a more expansive view.
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: Yeah. And I think, you know, what we've tried to start to do in the last year or two is begin to put our money where our mouth is. And so the New York Times ad was an example of that. Where, you know, we wanted, as a brand, to sort of begin to have a voice on these types of issues. We've been really fortunate to partner with Wayfair and your company on a series called man enough. That is with your partner, Justin Baldoni, who's getting a group of guys together and actually start to talk about these issues. So from, sort of, a brand standpoint, we've started to have a perspective and a point of view internally.
We also feel like, hey, if we're going to have a brand that actually, you know, puts these values out into the world, we better be living it internally too. And so there an example is, you know, we took a look at our parental leave policy and, you know, thought a lot about our own experiences as parents. And my own personal experience as a dad. You know, who the norm was to go take a week or two off and come back to work. And I found that to be a really challenging thing to try to be a parent and come back to work. But perhaps even more interestingly for my wife, who is as career driven and if not more so than I am.
For her to actually take three months off and me take a week off, you know, created a really, sort of, unbalanced dynamic. And made the co-parenting thing really hard to actually live and practice. And so, you know, that experience was one that led us to this conclusion. That hey, we need not just a general parental leave policy, but an equal parental leave policy that treats birthing and non-birthing parents equally. So we've implemented that, and give everybody four months regardless of whether you're the birthing parent or the non-birthing parent.
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: Thanks. And then last, we also as a company have always tried to, sort of, be socially minded, and not just be about bottom line profits. We donate 1% of our revenue to nonprofit causes. And we've tried to partner with organizations that are also out there, you know, beginning a conversation on these issues. Whether it's challenging traditional gender stereotypes, or, sort of, catering to men who might be in a more troubled situation. So we've begun to work with organizations like the Representation Project, A Call to Men, the Bronx Freedom Fund, to also support them in their endeavors to drive a dialogue around this stuff.
AHMED MUSIOL: It's awesome. So you brought up something, I think, fairly important. Which is, kind of, hearkening back to the concept of how Man Enough works as well. Which is that it's-- for those who haven't seen it. It's a group of men having an intimate dinner conversation, and opening up very vulnerable. And we at Wayfair, we're looking at how we can go out and turn this into a reality. And thank God our brothers at Harry's decided to stick their neck out and jump on that train with us. But what's important about that is, we know we don't have the answers. And I think that's what you really pointed out, most importantly about how you guys are approaching this. Is that nobody is coming to the table and saying, we already understand what the end is.
We're exploring it as a collective. I think that can also lead to some fear for men who say, as I think we've all heard, right. Some men are afraid to even hire women now, because they don't know what they can or can't do. Some men are afraid to sit in a room with a woman alone in a professional setting. You guys seem to have figured out a way around that. But you're also held accountable. How do you navigate that?
JEFF RADER: Yeah I mean, I think a couple of things. One, we're definitely not perfect. And I think we think that this idea of progressive masculinity, or a more expansive definition of masculinity is still pretty messy, you know. I have a six-year-old son, and I think a lot about the norms that I grew up with, and what norms I actually like that I want to have him live with, and what I don't. And it's actually, it's really hard for me to, sort of, parse that stuff apart. And I think for us, what's most important is just to start to have this dialogue around the fact that a lot of these traditional norms of masculinity can be expanded upon. You can be both strong and vulnerable. Both confident and open. And I think it's important for guys to start to realize those things. And just talking about it in this setting, in other settings, I think, starts to, sort of, enable guys to open up and express their feelings which is the first step forward. And I think what's going to be a long journey here.
AHMED MUSIOL: And in doing a lot of this, you guys have a customer base to think about. Potential audience to think about, as well as a brand. Are you concerned at all that you might be alienating any of them?
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: I don't think so. I think if we take a stand on issues that, you know, may be controversial and wind up stepping into that controversy. You know, that's something that we're OK with, and we're accepting of. But I think our perspective is that there's actually a lot of guys that are wrestling with these issues. And that for a lot of guys, they almost feel trapped in their inability to actually have these conversations and articulate. And not to say like, oh poor guys. Like clearly, guys have had it traditionally pretty well. But we hope that by beginning to, sort of, talk about these things and have a dialogue, it actually is almost taking, you know, a weight off, and a relief.
And providing, you know, an avenue for guys to start to have this, much like Man Enough. And so, we don't feel like these issues are actually particularly controversial, or need to be politicized. They're very human issues that a lot of guys really do struggle and deal with. And that are yearning to have a conversation about. And it's going to be awkward and a little bit messy to Jeff's point, but we think that's just a really untapped, sort of, topic of conversation among guys.
JEFF RADER: A good example there is Andy and I last year during Father's Day wrote op eds around being working fathers. And wanting to be really good dads who, sort of, broke traditional norms of, you know, being a dad and, kind of, being the provider, but not necessarily being at home. And being there for our children with a lot of time. And how we struggled to balance that, plus really demanding careers. And we tried to speak as openly as possible and say, look, we don't have all the answers. And we actually, at the end of the op ed, sort of, said, hey like we'd love actually hear how other people are dealing with these things. And we got a real outpouring, I think, of other guys who are dealing with the same things. And trying to figure out how they also can break some of those traditional norms, and be different kinds of dads that maybe they had in the past.
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: And not just an outpouring of like, hey guys, cool article. Like people I hadn't heard from in 10 years baring their souls to me over email, because like it had clearly just struck a chord with an issue that they've dealt with in a deeply emotional way, but haven't had the ability to articulate. So I think those types of little signals gives us confidence that, hey there actually really is an appetite out there among a lot of guys to talk about this stuff.
AHMED MUSIOL: Yeah. I think that's a really great point. And, you know, we've all collectively experienced that with our collaboration as well. Hearing these very personal notes of men who are hungry to have this conversation. Are hungry to learn and evolve as I think we all are. And you guys are doing a shining example that through your partnerships. I'd love for you to maybe expand a little bit on how you guys are approaching these partnerships. Not only with Man Enough, but organizations like Calm and A Call to Men.
JEFF RADER: Well, and I think, you know, for us, one of the reasons why really excited to be here is we have, sort of, this internal mantra at Harry's, which we've found to be helpful. And the idea is that the future is orange. We make orange razors, if anyone has seen them so ties to our product. But the idea behind the future is orange is that, you know, in the future we don't think that men and women are going to be, sort of, only characterized by pink and blue. By these, sort of, overly reductive stereotypes. But that, you know, to be a good-- to be a good man is just to be a good human. And we think that we've seen that happen a lot over time. And we're excited that this conversation is happening. And to learn from everybody here around, you know, how other people are seeing that. And how we believe that these stereotypes over time, hopefully that's on us over time to evolve these stereotypes, and have them to dissipate and harm boys.
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: Yeah. And some of the insights work we've done with the leading edge of consumers suggest that, you know, a lot of guys and women are already there. Where they're like, this whole concept of masculine and feminine is actually outdated. Like we're just humans, and dealing with human emotions and human stuff. And I get society has a long way to go from where we are today to actually catch up to that leading edge. But that is, I think, underlying the premise of what we're doing. Which is this idea that like a lot of these, sort of, traditional tropes are just-- they're, kind of, masking the broader, deep human connection. That doesn't matter if you're male or female. We're all dealing with the same types of issues.
JEFF RADER: So to your question, when we partner with organizations, we want to work with folks who are actually raising the, sort of, consciousness over these things. Think about the representation project. They are trying to create content that is compelling. That starts to talk about and challenge some of these harmful stereotypes, and expand definitions around gender. And we think that's an incredibly important thing for us to do as a as a brand today. We think that brands have to have beliefs, and they have to share those beliefs with the world. It's one of the reasons why we like coming to work every day. And we also think one of the things that motivates our team, and hopefully a larger community to try to have a positive impact.
AHMED MUSIOL: That's awesome. Well I want to honor both of you for the work that you guys are doing. And thank you very much for spending time with us this morning. And I also want to thank all of you for being the teachers that we're looking to. And I think you guys nailed that on the head. I think we're all very collectively excited to be learning from each of you. So hopefully over the course of the conference, and moving forward even beyond the conference, we'll all be able to learn from one another and figure out how we can make a better world together. And it's wonderful to see two examples of how the bottom line doesn't have to be everything in a business. But the fact that we're all human really resonates at the end of it. And hopefully that's how we've learned how to move forward together.
JEFF RADER: Awesome.
AHMED MUSIOL: Awesome. Thank you guys.
ANDY KATZ MAYFIELD: Thank y'all for having us.
AHMED MUSIOL: Thank you.
2018 MAKERS Conference
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