The tenacity and drive to overcome any and all circumstances, the research and development capabilities to achieve innovative technological advances,
and the commitment to excellence and advancement are just some of the things that make DORCO so special.
Founded in 1955, DORCO is a Korean company specializing in shaving expertise that exports its groundbreaking products to over 130 countries worldwide.
This is the story of how DORCO, a company dedicated to shaving technology, has pioneered shaving technology for the past 66 years.
Labelling a razor as a tool to simply shave hair, does not do it justice. A blunt razor can’t shave properly, and jus ends up forcing the user to shave the same area
over and over again with the same results. When this happens, the skin eventually becomes irritated and sensitive. That is why a razor is so much more than a tool for
shaving hair; it’s something that can completely change a person’s day.
This is why it is imperative to select the right product; and by the right product we mean a product which can effectively and efficiently cater to one’s needs
— every morning, over and over again. So what are the criteria for the optimal razor that can accomplish all this? It all starts with a sharp, but delicate and firm blade.
It must also be easy to handle and durable enough for everyday use. It needs to have the flexibility to glide along any skin surface it comes in contact with.
After all, it is a product you trust your face with, so anything less would be insufficient. Last, but not least, it should be affordable.
Conveniently enough, such razors do exist. There is one company in particular, that develops and produces razors to meet all of these ideal conditions.
Founded in 1955 in South Korea, DORCO has spent the past six decades specializing in shaving technology.
Korea’s First Carbon Safety Razor Blade
Dongyang Light Metal Industries, the parent company of DORCO, which was founded in Korea in 1955, was originally a zipper manufacturing company.
At that time, zippers were a very new and unique product in Korea; marking the beginning of the company’s image as an innovator and industry leader.
During this time, Dongyang Light Metal Industries President Tak Si-Geun* came to the realization that razors would soon become an essential item to the lives of all Koreans.
Thus, in May 1959, Daehan Ceramic Industries was established, and the production and sale of razor blades commenced.
In 1960, the company changed its name to Hanil Industries and started producing carbon safety razor blades the following year.
As sales of the carbon safety blades grew, the company merged with Dongyang Light Metal Industries in 1965 with the purpose of fully investing into the development of
razor-edge technology. As the company’s capabilities and advancements in technology gradually increased, Hanil Industries made the decision to close its zipper
manufacturing facilities and concentrate all its efforts on razors in 1978. Whereas the company faced a high level of completion in the zipper industry, focusing on
razors provided the opportunity for Hanil Industries to establish itself as a pioneering industry leader.
*President Tak Si-Geun, Founder of DORCO
Stainless Steel Safety Blades and Double-Bladed Razors
The carbon safety razor blade produced by Hanil Industries was a turning point in that it was the first razor blade ever produced in Korea.
However, it paled in comparison to imported stainless steel safety razor blades, which did not rust as easily and had excellent shaving capabilities.
When Swedish stainless steel producer, Sandvik entered the Korean market in 1967, it was the opportunity Hanil Industries was waiting for—mastering the art of producing
stainless steel safety blades, which become a reality for the first time in Korea in March 1968.
However, the razor technology in Korea was very different from that of the global market. By the 1970’s, it was commonplace for advanced markets to be producing double-edged razors.
First developed in 1970 by a competitor, the double-bladed razors were designed to maintain an optimum distance and angle for shaving, making it a highly innovative product that
provided an excellent shave and minimal skin damage. Hanil Industries saw this innovation and did not hesitate, as the company immediately commenced the development of
their own double-bladed razors. This led to Hanil Industries collaborating with Wilkinson in 1979 to incorporate double-bladed razor production facilities.
Then two years later, Hanil Industries successfully produced the first double-bladed razor in Korea in December 1981.
The Beginning of DORCO
Hanil Industries changed its name to DORCO on January 1, 1990 to strengthen its image as the nation’s No. 1 razor company.
The name DORCO is a composite of the letter ‘DO’ from the first two letters of Dongyang Light Metal Industries, ‘R’ from ‘razor’, and ‘CO’ from ‘company’.
This was a very important time for DORCO, as the name change coincided with the start of DORCO’s first production of carbon safety razor blades in 1961.
Due to this, most Koreans immediately identify advanced shaving technology with DORCO.
Mastering Research & Development
After changing the company name, DORCO set its sight on one key objective: ‘dedication to the research and development of technology’.
As Korea fully opened itself to foreign imports in 1988, DORCO, which had led the Korean razor market, was faced with competition in their own backyard from global companies entering Korea.
In addition, regulations on the use of disposable products were tightened from June 1993, and the need for the development of higher quality razors emerged.
These factors led to the establishment of a small research organization called the ‘Research Community’ at DORCO’s factory in Siheung in 1990.
Starting in June 1996, the ‘Research Community’ formed industry and academic ties for the development of razors that would compete with the products of leading companies.
After three years of intense testing, experimenting, and analysis, they were successful in developing the technological capabilities they had hoped for.
A Technology Research Institute was then established in January 1998 to further enhance TG blades and started to commercialize them the following year,
increasing the competitiveness of portable razors.
In January 1998, amid the economic recession in Korea, the scope of research by the Technology Research Institute, which started as a small group of five dedicated individuals,
was not limited to solely razor blade development. The Institute was also in charge of the overall product development for the docking stations, lubricating strips, handles, heads, and design,
which are the main elements that make up a proper razor. This dedication resulted in the development of the world’s first bent blades.
Unlike welded blades, bent blades allow for more precision shaving, and is an open flow blade cartridge, making the razor easier to rinse.
Through this innovative breakthrough, DORCO launched the world’s first six-blade razor, the DORCO PACE 6.
Currently, the Technology Research Institute has grown along with the rest of the company into an organization of dozens of experts taking over the research and development
for both the headquarters and various factories. The ‘Seocho Technology Research Institute’, which was completed in 2013, focuses on product development and design in and
creates synergy with the sales department. The Yongin factory, which produces the majority of the products, focuses on technology and machinery development for
collaboration with the production division.
As the quality of DORCO’s razors have advanced beyond imagination, the company has now set its sights on the rest of the world. DORCO initially started exporting products in 1976,
but since 1983, the company has participated in numerous international exhibitions and been active in advertising in various global markets.
The precedent Dongyang Light Metal Industries set forth through its dedication for innovation, is still an important factor driving DORCO in all its present and future activities.
This has allowed DORCO to enter and become successful in other prominent markets around the world, like Europe and the Americas. As a private label, DORCO is able to avoid the additional costs
of going through intermediaries, and provide customers with high quality products at prices 20% to 30% lower than the competition.
It’s these details that make DORCO a highly popular brand worldwide. DORCO currently maintains overseas branches in seven major cities: San Diego, Shanghai, London, Moscow, Dubai,
Tokyo, and Ho Chi Minh, and has production factories located in South Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam.
The world today is not separated by borders. The barriers of culture have disappeared, and in the end, consumer choice comes down to quality and price.
In the overall scope of life, a razor may be considered a small, insignificant object, but if you think about how important it is to have a delicate, smooth, and perfect shave;
one realizes how huge its impact really is. It’s there for you during the morning, when every second counts; during the evening, when you complete your day with a relaxing bath;
it helps make your day perfect and complete. This is why DORCO exists. This is why DORCO is committed to developing better shaving technology.
And this is why DORCO’s dedication and innovation continues.