Imperium Shaving began like a lot of companies, in a garage. Owners Dan and Madeline, who both grew up woodworking, made their first razors in 2014, shortly before getting married, as a thank you gift for his groomsmen. The gifts were a huge hit and started them on the path that became Imperium Shaving. Working with limited time, tools, and money they had one goal: To make a beautiful, well built razor. The first few batches were good but not perfect and they refused to start selling anything until they were perfect. So working late hours and researching traditional finishing oils and techniques Dan invented a proprietary coating that turned a beautiful wooden razor into an elegant, and most importantly durable, work of art. Slowly demand grew for their handmade razors and so did the business and in 2016 their part-time hustle became a full time venture and they moved from a small basement to a rented, unheated barn in the woods. Determined to keep up with daily orders Dan and Madeline worked early mornings and late nights 7 days a week. In the winter their coffee would freeze solid and the sketchy fuse box meant they couldn't even plug in a space heater. But all the long, cold hours and hard work was worth it: along the way, Imperium built a following and a reputation for making the most exquisitely beautiful and quality razors one can find.
In 2018 Imperium found a new home– and a bigger team consisting of majority female woodworkers – in a historic mill building in Baltimore City's Clipper Mills complex. Their studio now has over 3,000 sqft including an office, workshop, laser room, clean room, and yes... heat. Since the 1840s, Clipper Mill has been a major site of industrial production: it was once home to the world’s largest lathe, capable of machining wheels 60 feet in diameter. In the shop, we strive to bring those old traditions into a new era, by using both modern machines and traditional woodworking tools to make each unique Imperium razor. The air is filled with the smell of sawdust and linseed-oiled wooden floor planks. Lathes and drills rumble and shriek over our favorite playlists and science podcasts. Look out the windows, and you’ll see the trails and woods of Druid Hill Park and the Jones Falls to the right. To the left, converted flour and cotton-duck mills are now home to artists' studios and restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for turning wood, just as generations of craftspeople and artisans have done before us.
At Imperium Shaving, we treasure the ritual of grooming, whether it’s a straight-razor shave in a barber’s chair, or a late-for-work morning shave in front of your bathroom mirror. We believe that the things you use every day can and should be beautiful. Starting your day with a razor that’s a pleasure to see, to hold, and to feel on your skin is a way to be good to yourself.
Imperium is committed to Baltimore and we see our company as a way to bring honest, quality manufacturing back to our great city and we work with the Mayor's Office of Employment Development to offer high school students skilled jobs in the summer. We are committed to reducing our impact on the planet by supporting reforestation and only using 100% FSC-certified sustainable woods and ethically sourced materials in all of our products. We support local suppliers and artisans whenever possible, and strive to produce the absolute minimal amount of waste.
In today’s world of quick bucks and mass-manufacturing, we believe that it’s crucial to incorporate handmade goods and traditional craftsmanship into the things you buy, use, and wear, whenever possible. Our razors are hand-turned and hand-assembled, with an attention to detail unlike any other. Each Imperium razor is held in two hands: ours, and yours.