2014-04-02

By Jeff Raider, co-founder and co-CEO, Harry's

As the co-founder of the new shaving brand Harry’s, my day is normally filled with meetings about, well, shaving. But one morning in February, my first meeting of the day was one that stood out from the usual flurry of conversations about product and partnerships, customers and content. I was spending an hour with Da’avon Robinson, a corps member serving with City Year New York, to take a deep dive into a business plan he is developing for an app in the video game space. 

Da’avon and I sat at the corner of Harry’s conference table talking about his idea, breaking down larger problems into smaller, actionable questions, thinking through what the app’s target audience would want in a game, and articulating how the game would differentiate itself in a crowded market.  

My morning with Da’avon was the fulfillment of a public pledge I had made in December—a pledge to spend 1% of my week helping as best I could to bring a corps member’s business idea to life. Da’avon is one of nearly 3,000 City Year corps members who have dedicated a year of service to help at-risk students believe in their potential and stay in school.  

Da’avon and Jeff sat down to discuss business plans in February at Harry's in New York City

My pledge to workshop Da’avon’s business plan was just one of several similar pledges made by Harry’s employees. Every Tuesday in December, members of the Harry’s team made pledges for how they could commit one percent (or more!) of their week applying some of their core skills to benefit City Yearcorps members. Laura, who leads recruiting, workshopped the resumés of five corps members. Sean, the editor of our online magazine 5 O’clock, pledged to write a piece about a Corps Member. Duval, one of our barbers, pledged to give a corps member a haircut at Harry’s Corner Shop. The December campaign, which we called Give You Your 1%, was a way not only to make concrete commitments to corps members but also to, we hope, inspire our customers to give one percent of their time. 

Why this 1% time business? At Harry’s, all employees commit 1% of their time each year to service. It’s integral to a model we call Harry’s 1+1, our pledge to give 1% of our sales and 1% of our time to organizations, like City Year, that build strong communities and schools and  prepare people for personal and professional success. We’re proud and humbled to partner with City Year as part of Harry’s 1+1. Our shared commitment to service—and our shared belief that service isn’t a duty but rather an opportunity—makes for a profound alignment of mission and vision.

Entrepreneurial journeys are inspiring to me. To have the chance to sit down with a young entrepreneur—to be exposed to Da’avon’s excitement and creativity—provided me a chance to look back on my personal journey and how we answered all of these questions when we were first building Harry’s. I felt excitement for him—excitement for what he could create but even more excitement for the journey of creating it. More than anything, I felt thankful that he let me be a small part of it.


Jeff Raider likes to improve people's daily lives in small ways by building brands that offer them high quality products at accessible prices (he can not, however, say that three times fast). Jeff is currently the co-founder and co-CEO of Harry's, a new brand of high-quality men’s shaving and grooming products sold directly to consumers. Jeff is also a co-founder of Warby Parker, a brand offering designer-like eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses. 

Formerly, Jeff was a Senior Associate at private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners, and also worked at Bain & Company. Jeff has worked extensively with non-profit organizations and is constantly inspired by other entrepreneurs. He graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a BA in International Studies and earned a Masters in International Affairs from The Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He also has an MBA from WhartonBusiness School.

Jeff currently lives in lower Manhattan with his wife and young son. He enjoys sampling the city’s finest Chinese food and high-level sand castle architecture.

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