Vikings Blade Chieftain is NOT the same as Baili
As a product creation house, we employ many world-class factories (including Baili) to help build our own unique VB molds. The biggest set-back at the time was that Baili's business model is NOT to build molds for others, but to simply make their own products and invite OEM re-branders to sell these Baili products.
At the beginning, due to economy of scale Baili refused to build the original VB mold for us, unless they themselves were also allowed to utilise it.
We persisted and eventually showed them our Viking inspired design. With this, we were finally able to convince them to help us build the original Chieftain brass mold from our CAD design. For obvious reasons we won't disclose much info. We hope you read between the lines in the section below.
The Myth and How It Started
Soon after our Chieftain acquired its Amazon's bestseller title, Baili said they already bottlenecked their production line and accidentally (?) broke the mold (!)
Baili proposed some simplified modifications to our Chieftain design and materials, suggesting us to create a new, simpler mold with these changes in order to keep up with our volume. We accepted their proposals and get them build a newer revised mold (bad idea!).
With these changes Baili also simultaneously launched their own razor called the BD179 (which looks almost identical to our simplified revision suggested by them) and invited hundreds of OEM re-branders to start selling this.
To drive sales, the re-branders associated themselves with the Chieftain's popularity, (unintentionally) spreading the myth that the Chieftain was actually the BD179 (and even the unrelated ancient BT131 model). Note the timelines had been maliciously swapped to discredit the Chieftain's actual age.
The intention was to get customers to "Buy the BD179 from us instead, don't buy from the Viking guys because we are 3x cheaper".
After acknowledging this misunderstanding of international IP, Baili quickly reconciliated and guaranteed to protect our design exclusively from there onward, confirming that the Chieftain and the BD179 are not the same.
Baili also debunked these rumours on their own website, plus several other press release channels such as this one:
They acknowledged that it was impossible to control what their casual sales staff might have said.
After this incident, we at VB ditched the simplified mold and built a few more un-cloneable molds based on our very first (broken) mold, at the cost of being out of stock for a while. Some customers still remember this out-of-stock period in 2016.
The Blatantly Obvious but Overlooked DetailsVikings Blade cannot be an OEM rebrander of Baili for these very obvious reasons:
- VB has released only 3 razors (Chieftain, Godfather, Vulcan). All 3 quickly occupied top spots on Amazon consistently.
- Baili has released 10+ razors. None has remotely reached such popularity, except for the 2 models that intentionally draw association with VB.
- If VB was an OEM rebrander of Baili, we would rebrand all 10+ razors in Baili's catalog instead of just those that we ourselves originally created.
- All 3 VB razors are consistent with the brand name and the Viking theme of Thor's hammer-like razors. Baili's razors on the other hand do not follow a common theme. Each Baili razor speaks a different design language.
This acknowledgement from Baili, albeit watered down and missing a few details, is civilised enough to clear our name, while still maintain their good image and we're happy with this acknowledgement.
The acknowledgement may not fully address every speculator's concern, but we do not wish to pursue any further as we value a harmonious relationship more than inflicting unnecessary reputational damage.
In conclusion, the Chieftain is not the same as the BD179. The Chieftain has gone through multiple revisions which mostly are heavier than the BD179 and produce significantly different shaves. It is obvious that the BD179 very closely resembles one of our mid-releases. However this was already addressed by Baili and we were already happy to move on.
This is not to discredit the BD179 as it is also an excellent razor. However, it is not one endorsed or guaranteed by us.
To the speculators or the potential customers who are reading this, we pray that you will give us a chance to serve and assist you in your wet shaving journey. Each design was created with countless hours of hard work and communication amongst our family, customers, barbers and manufacturers.
To our loyal customers, although we came up with the designs, without you we would have never been able to create such beautiful products.
Even if you may not be completely satisfied with this letter, we genuinely believe that you and us can still be good friends. After all, we rely on your advice to produce more designs because that's what we love to do.
Some of you question whether Grandpa Julian Vue is real. Yes, "Julian Vue" the old man was real (just sadly not around anymore). The name on the other hand, was an Anglicised moniker. It was used to protect him and the family from identity theft and e-commerce hackers. Those of you who run a reasonably sized online business know very well why we need a moniker.
Since the change of Vikings Blade's ownership and the passing of Julian Vue, we have decided to close that chapter and use the name Vikings Blade from now on. Rest well, old man.
Comparison photo taken by a user