Growing Business Awards: Company of the Year


It’s a modern manufacturer with a flair for design and branding, taking on global competitors – and winning

Will King started his company in his own kitchen in 1993, originally selling just one product – a shaving preparation oil. It was a product inspired by his own long-running battle with razor burn.

With several thousand pounds secured from friends, family and a business partner, King of Shaves secured Harrods as an early stockist – King contacted Mohammed Al Fayed directly to win the contract. But it took nearly five years of loans and credit cards before growth really kicked off.

The company has grown by being fast off the mark – it secured the valuable domain name for $35 in 1995 and making it the first UK web site for a toiletries brand.

This year has seen a huge new step forward. After five years of R&D, the King of Shaves Azor was launched. It claims to be the first British made, engineered and designed system razor for more than 100 years. And it brings King of Shaves up against one of the world’s true giants – Gillette.

The first few months of sales have justified King of Shaves’ boldness. The Azor already sells 8,000 handles per week and has established a five per cent market share, driving sales to a forecast £35m in 2009.

An exciteable Will King bounds up to the stage. He says he set up his company in the depths of the last recession and that luckily “shaving is a growth business”.

(haw haw)

He adds: “We’re loving that growth. All I’ll say is, in the words of Bruce Forsyth and Lisa Snowden, ‘keep growing’!”

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