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Lessons from the Community of the Sea

Lessons from the Community of the Sea

In honor of World Oceans Day, and its theme this year, Albatross Founder, Andrew, wanted to personally reflect on an important lesson in his life and in the evolution of Albatross Designs. 

 

Around 6 years ago I was bringing a sailboat back to California from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The trip took around 10 days, and miraculously we were blessed with incredibly calm, beautiful weather. The year before, for example, there was 30 knots of wind on the nose for 1,200 miles. This year though was peaceful, beautiful, perhaps even boring. 

 

Around this time Albatross Designs was just getting started as well. We were the first shaving company to start with the core purpose of eliminating plastic from shaving, and to me the shaving space seemed like the perfect place for Albatross to start its journey. 

 

We had an opportunity to eliminate an entire plastic waste stream! Double Edged razors shave better than pretty much every alternative, shaving with them is incredibly affordable (hugely important to our design philosophy because a company can’t make a meaningful difference unless enough people can afford the green product it’s selling), and it is relatively easy to eliminate plastic waste when the reusable razor isn’t made from it. I was sold, but in spite of all of these things, most people thought I was absolutely crazy.

 

Was I? Well, with only one issue of the New Yorker that a crewmate brought (I read it 3 times) and these incredibly light winds and warm conditions, I entered into a state of meditation to contemplate just that. This lasted nearly 10 days. During this time we had countless encounters with all types of sea life. We had a few run-ins with local fishermen too-- folks who, like our crew, depended on the ocean for their livelihoods. 

 

Now, I’ll be honest, when a 35 foot panga skiff emerges from the dark of dawn off the Baja coast (where legends of banditos abound) and is quickly headed straight for your sailboat, you at first get a little tense. Getting kidnapped may cross your mind, it certainly crossed mine a few times. But, then when it becomes clear that these fishermen just went a couple of miles out of their way just to say hello, you quickly realize how the sea supports one global community of infinitely diverse peoples who all have the potential to work together, get along and make each other smile. 

 

I was humbled by the sense of community these fishermen shared with me as we traversed their waters, and embarrassed that I had jumped to the worst possible conclusions as they approached us. Many of my experiences on the ocean have taught me about the importance of life’s simple pleasures-- like when 3 random fishermen who speak a different language than you drive out of their way just to say hello. We saw them and they saw us. We saw each other as good and decent humans, out at sea together in solidarity.

 

So much of the world has evolved technologically, but the costs of this evolution are sometimes lost. Sensationalized social media and political banter excites all of our passions and inflates our individual egos pitting neighbors against neighbors. Being at sea yields-- demands-- something different entirely. It is humbling in the strongest sense of the word. The sea is still stronger than the individual. And although humanity can now irreparably damage the sea, humanity cannot irreparably damage the sea and escape the consequences of doing so.

 

In honor of World Oceans Day, and its theme this year, Albatross Founder, Andrew, wanted to personally reflect on an important lesson in his life and in the evolution of Albatross Designs. 

 

Around 6 years ago I was bringing a sailboat back to California from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The trip took around 10 days, and miraculously we were blessed with incredibly calm, beautiful weather. The year before, for example, there was 30 knots of wind on the nose for 1,200 miles. This year though was peaceful, beautiful, perhaps even boring. 

 

Around this time Albatross Designs was just getting started as well. We were the first shaving company to start with the core purpose of eliminating plastic from shaving, and to me the shaving space seemed like the perfect place for Albatross to start its journey. 

 

We had an opportunity to eliminate an entire plastic waste stream! Double Edged razors shave better than pretty much every alternative, shaving with them is incredibly affordable (hugely important to our design philosophy because a company can’t make a meaningful difference unless enough people can afford the green product it’s selling), and it is relatively easy to eliminate plastic waste when the reusable razor isn’t made from it. I was sold, but in spite of all of these things, most people thought I was absolutely crazy.

 

Was I? Well, with only one issue of the New Yorker that a crewmate brought (I read it 3 times) and these incredibly light winds and warm conditions, I entered into a state of meditation to contemplate just that. This lasted nearly 10 days. During this time we had countless encounters with all types of sea life. We had a few run-ins with local fishermen too-- folks who, like our crew, depended on the ocean for their livelihoods. 

 

Now, I’ll be honest, when a 35 foot panga skiff emerges from the dark of dawn off the Baja coast (where legends of banditos abound) and is quickly headed straight for your sailboat, you at first get a little tense. Getting kidnapped may cross your mind, it certainly crossed mine a few times. But, then when it becomes clear that these fishermen just went a couple of miles out of their way just to say hello, you quickly realize how the sea supports one global community of infinitely diverse peoples who all have the potential to work together, get along and make each other smile. 

 

I was humbled by the sense of community these fishermen shared with me as we traversed their waters, and embarrassed that I had jumped to the worst possible conclusions as they approached us. Many of my experiences on the ocean have taught me about the importance of life’s simple pleasures-- like when 3 random fishermen who speak a different language than you drive out of their way just to say hello. We saw them and they saw us. We saw each other as good and decent humans, out at sea together in solidarity.

 

So much of the world has evolved technologically, but the costs of this evolution are sometimes lost. Sensationalized social media and political banter excites all of our passions and inflates our individual egos pitting neighbors against neighbors. Being at sea yields-- demands-- something different entirely. It is humbling in the strongest sense of the word. The sea is still stronger than the individual. And although humanity can now irreparably damage the sea, humanity cannot irreparably damage the sea and escape the consequences of doing so.

 

The lesson that I aim to highlight here is that of the interconnectedness of all people. Now on this trip I had the opportunity to think through so many issues related to our products, the conventional economy, the circular economy (think our Blade Take Back Program [world’s first shaving company to do this]), carbon footprints, business ethics, etc. All of these things continue to influence our company. But, discovering the human element of the sea in a new way by discovering the good that most people contain most certainly provided an excellent source of fuel for Team Albatross’ drive to do what we can to help the ocean, and consequently, people. 


At the risk of belittling our beloved plastic-free shavers: We are not just selling razors, we are trying to change the world. To truly do this at the scale needed, we hope that humanity can see itself as interconnected within the beautiful community of the sea.

Now on this trip I had the opportunity to think through so many issues related to our products, the conventional economy, the circular economy (think our Blade Take Back Program [world’s first shaving company to do this]), carbon footprints, business ethics, etc. All of these things continue to influence our company. But, discovering the human element of the sea in a new way by discovering the good that most people contain most certainly provided an excellent source of fuel for Team Albatross’ drive to do what we can to help the ocean, and consequently, people. 


At the risk of belittling our beloved plastic-free shavers: We are not just selling razors, we are trying to change the world. To truly do this at the scale needed, we hope that humanity can see itself as interconnected within the beautiful community of the sea.

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