Despite its regularity, the act of shaving is an extremely personal experience, and Greenville resident Kirk Goeldner wants to customize and heighten that experience. His handcrafted line of shave products appeals to those who want to turn a daily ritual into pleasurable pampering. He wants customers to relish their shave.
Each razor or brush handle (as well as the shave stand that holds both) is hand-carved and turned from woods—crepe myrtle, magnolia, North Carolina rhododendron, Southern oak, or mountain pine—and naturally-shed animal horn. Goeldner sources elk horn from a Colorado ranch and deer antler from Fairfield, South Carolina. Handles are shaped for a comfortable fit and precision shave, with special attention to the product’s final weight and balance. Each razor is customizable, from its finish to its blade. Additionally, brushes are constructed with durable silver-tipped badger hair.
Unlike popular disposable shavers, Goeldner says, “These pieces are not mass produced. Each one, I hold in my hand and shape it.” Crafting each piece specially for the customer, Goeldner visualizes the ultimate shape of the handle, then carefully saws, sands, whittles and paints or stains each one, finishing with a coat of marine gloss urethane.
After graduating from Randolph Macon College in Virginia, Goeldner spent a career as an insurance executive, moving from city to city to help companies build skilled teams of employees. It was only after a happy accident that he discovered his artistic side. “I dropped my rather pricey razor onto the bathroom floor and found myself with two pieces of faux ivory and a stub of a razor handle,” he recalls. “So, I found a piece of wood from outdoors and began to imagine a replacement handle.” He made several for family and friends before venturing into business.
Today, Goeldner works out of his garage, hand-carving each product for its intended recipient. As for the process of crafting the wood (and his switch from executive to artist), he says, “I feel contentment and tranquility.”