Shaper: Herbie Dayal

Show aired on 31st October 2015


Herbie Dayal is the founder and major shareholder of KMI Brands, a fast-growing UK business which has over the past 20 years established a reputation for creating beautiful, innovative products. The current portfolio of brands includes Ted Baker, Orla Kiely, Fish hairstyling and Scott Cornwall. The products include perfumes, haircare, skincare and cosmetics, as well as home fragrance products such as candles and diffusers.

KMI products are stocked by leading UK retailers such as John Lewis, House of Fraser, Boots, Debenhams, Superdrug, The Perfume Shop and ASOS, and are also sold globally in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, UAE, Scandinavia and USA.

As CEO, Herbie brings a wealth of international business experience. Starting his career as Assistant to the VP International for Copeland Corporation – an American industrial goods manufacturer, he then worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen and Hamilton dealing principally in restructuring and corporate strategy projects for a range of top 100 companies including Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Renault and Peugeot.

In 1990 Herbie launched his own consultancy and in 1993 founded the iconic King of Shaves and KMI alongside Will King. The combined business acumen of its founders meant that the new companies enjoyed unparalled success in the toiletries arena, rapidly growing their portfolio.

We didn’t have any background in the industry, we didn’t know any buyers, we didn’t know where to make the product, we didn’t know much – apart from the fact that this was a good product.  That’s all we had at the time.

It is all about the story you are telling and the role your product is playing in the marketplace.

So much work goes into making and launching a product that if a customer only purchases it once you have wasted everybody’s time.

I get very, very happy when I see new innovative products turning up on the desk.

I don’t have a problem with being told what to do. But if you want to shape your own future and you have a vision of what you’re trying to do, if you can do it yourself, do it yourself.

Now we’re focused on being selective across the opportunities that we have, because we can’t do everything.

Our culture is one where people carry out their responsibility themselves – they know what their remits are and they get on with it. That gives a sense of personal accomplishment, empowering them to develop their capabilities and move on.

For me it’s just a question of what I feel comfortable with and so it should be for anybody running a business.

Is it fun? It’s always fun.