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Will King is a multi award-winning businessman widely considered as one of the UK’s most creative and passionate entrepreneurs. He created The King of Shaves brand in the depths of the UK recession in the early 1990′s. Following redundancy King decided to build his own business to solve a personal problem with shaving – razor burn. Before long he was filling thousands of plastic bottles with shaving oil in his own kitchen and his big break came when Harrods agreed to stock his product in September 1993.
Fast forward through the years and by 2009 over thirty different King of Shaves brand products, including the iconic wet shave system razor, are stocked in major outlets worldwide. Having achieved a landmark distribution deal with Remington the products are sold throughout America and the company has an electrical range sold exclusively through Argos. Combining its wet shave hardware and software products, King of Shaves is second only to Gillette in the UK.
After graduating from Portsmouth Polytechnic (University of Portsmouth) in 1987, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Will moved to London. Discovering an aptitude for sales, he moved into corporate events and marketing communications, rising quickly until the recession of the early 1990′s brought cutbacks and redundancy.
King took the opportunity to focus his energy and create the King of Shaves Company. With funding secured from family and close friends, he set out on his mission to build King of Shaves into a global men’s wet shaving challenger brand to Gillette and Wilkinson Sword.
The product was not an instant success, sales in the first year totalled just £300 against a £30,000 loss. King worked hard to roll out the brand into supermarkets, ensuring broader distribution. With the advent of the internet (King purchased ‘shave.com’ for US $35) King of Shaves was in the vanguard of the growing men’s grooming market and by 1997 turnover had increased to over £1 million, doubling year on year.
By 2004 turnover was over £11 million. The product range had grown dramatically and King had begun to develop the first British designed, engineered and manufactured wet razor. The Azor used a patented flexible hinge with ‘Bendology Technology’ to deliver a product that ‘shaved closer, lasted longer and cost less’. Launched in June 2008 it secured the number three best-selling manual system handle in the UK in 2010. During 2009, King announced a ‘Shaving Bond’ issue to raise finances from brand enthusiasts; offering an interest rate of 6% it proved successful and was later adopted by many companies.
Later that year his first book How To Build A Great Business In Tough Times – The King of Shaves Story was published and became WH Smith’s No. 1 Business Book. Offering an inspirational insight for entrepreneurs and consumers the book details the building of a successful multi-million pound business in a hugely competitive sector.
King of Shaves is a multi-award winning business being named the T-Mobile Fast Growth Business, the Product Business of the Year at the Growing Business Awards (2009) and named the CBI and Real Business Company of the Year in 2008.
Will King won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (London & South East, 2009). He subsequently became a judge for the CBI Real Business Awards 2009, the O2 Entrepreneur X Business Awards 2009, the IOD Director of the Year Award 2010 and the Growing Business Awards.
In 2014 Will King announced that after twenty-one years as chief executive of King of Shaves he would stand down to concentrate on new investments.
He is regarded as one of the UK’s great early adopters in the use of social media from a company and brand perspective. And he loves sailing.
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