“This project is a make or break for me—all or nothing.”
It’s through this poignant statement that Samar Anjum conveys his resolve for his new business venture. Samar is one of those people whose commitment, determination and tenacity know no bounds; nothing will stop him from achieving his dreams. It is these qualities which are the hallmark of a true entrepreneur.
Samar came to Canada in 2007 after spending some time in the US. Before that, he lived everywhere from India to Dubai to Thailand. These diverse locations provided an abundance of unique experiences which were instrumental in shaping and influencing his entrepreneurial journey. Being here in Canada has afforded him the confidence, ecosystem, and supports to help move his ideas forward into a more feasible business concept.
“Whatever you believe, you can achieve.”
Samar is the Founder and CEO of Trazor. Although the business is pre-revenue, he has completed extensive research, planning, and investment in the business. Trazor is an all-in-one razor system for the daily shaving needs of men and women, which gives you the freedom to choose your blades, shave anywhere, and do it with style and comfort. This patent-pending product includes many unique innovations, including a multi-blade adaptor that accepts more than 25 different types and brands of blades and a shave gel dispenser built into the handle. The razor also provides a smoother shave and doesn’t easily slip from your hands. The next generation of products is already in the works.
The idea for a travel razor originated from his frequent travels. Samar liked to carry his razor, shaving gel, and aftershave all with him—but when the airline rules changed unexpectedly, they confiscated his items. That’s what prompted him to design a device that complied with the new regulations and also had everything built into it for convenience—an all-in-one solution.
Due to the depth of knowledge required when designing a new product, people often ask Samar if he has a design background, but he doesn’t. He believes this lack of formal education in this niche area afforded him the ability to see past limitations and think outside the box. “I have the creativity of a 5-year-old,” he jokes. The concept of “disruption” is another skill that comes naturally to him, and he uses this ability when developing his ideas.
Another special thing about Samar is that he believes anything is possible. For example, when he first approached engineers about creating a multi-blade razor/adaptor, they said it couldn’t be done. But Samar found a way. Not only that, but when they originally thought the razor could only fit three different types of blades, they were wrong about that, too, and the razor now can fit over 25 different types of blades!
“When engineers told me that it couldn’t be done, I found a solution for them.”
When Samar first proposed the idea for a travel razor, the response was somewhat discouraging. Of the 120 people he pitched to for seed money, all of them said no. But from those objections, he made notes, researched why, and learned from it. Reflecting on these experiences, he now sees all of his mistakes and where he fumbled along the way.
Fast forward to today, and Samar has mastered the skill of pitching and can pitch to anyone in under 5 minutes. And it was from that learning that he eventually pitched for the 121st time, and he finally got a yes! Investors can be found in the most unlikely of places—and what’s especially unique with investment in Samar’s invention is that it is not connected with Edmonton’s traditional sectors of oil and gas.
“We’ve developed an amazing product that people will love and we are in a great position to succeed.”
The business has come a long way from a sketch on a napkin to functioning prototypes—one of the biggest achievements so far. Samar’s goals are set high—he hopes to control 10% of the North American men’s shaving market by 2025. While this goal seems lofty, what he’s learned and discovered is that you just need to take one step at a time. Business Link helped Samar connect with various service providers and organizations in the innovation community. He also heard about CBC’s Dragon’s Den auditions through our team here at Business Link, commenting that: “the support system that you get at Business Link is amazing.”
“The most important thing that Business Link does is encourage people like me.”
Samar has a few words of wisdom for new startups:
- Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, so remember to connect and surround yourself with like-minded people
- Don’t make excuses—instead, do something about it, start somewhere, do whatever you can with whatever you have, and just get going
- Running a business is a rollercoaster complete with highs and lows—be prepared for the ride
- Setting priorities and living with making sacrifices is a reality you must accept
- Whatever you decide to pursue, do it for the love of it and not for money
- Remember words of encouragement as these will power you on the tougher days
Samar truly exemplifies the essence of a bootstrapping entrepreneur and the quality of perseverance. “It’s the thrill of doing something amazing” that keeps Samar going. Trazor is now in the process of launching a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter. You can find out more at www.trazorworld.com.
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