Shaper: Will King

Show aired on 6th September 2014

Transcript of the show

Will King is the founder of award-winning shaving brand King of Shaves. Having graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Will founded King of Shaves in 1992.

The King of Shaves brand has overtaken Wilkinson Sword and Nivea to become No.2 to Gillette in the shaving prep market in the UK, and the products are also taking off in the USA where they are currently sold in over 20,000 stores.

King of Shaves has won numerous awards over the past few years. The company was named the T-Mobile Fast Growth Business and the Product Business at the Growing Business Awards last year (2009) and was crowned the CBI and Real Business Company of the Year in 2008. Will was named a regional winner for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for London and the South East region and has taken on judging roles in the CBI Real Business Awards 2009 and the O2 X Business Awards in association with Shortlist magazine 2009.

Will is dedicated to supporting our next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, particularly through his work as a Gazelle Entrepreneur. The Gazelle Colleges Group is transforming further education for a changing world of work, developing new commercial learning models and innovative partnerships with business, to unleash entrepreneurial talent and equip students with the confidence and resilience needed for the 21st century workplace.

Mum and Dad said: ‘get off our payroll Will, you’ve had enough now

I decided I needed to make something that would genuinely solve a problem so I sort of basically cast around what problems I could solve. I guess when you are faced with things that you want to solve, you look at what annoys you

It is all about delegation. Delegate to great people.

If it works for me, it should work for many other people who have the same shaving problem as me.

I have surrounded myself with people who basically told me ‘no way’ more than ‘yes’. Don’t have yay-sayers in your business. Have people who are not going to blow smoke up the bosses bottom…

My mum, bless her – a teacher – she gave me £2,500 out of her pension and luckily we were able to repay that on a substantial return on investment down the track

I didn’t get on with razors and foams and it always got cut and I thought there must be a better way to shave than this.

I have always embraced what I guess is a healthy degree of paranoia

Well, who knows what is going to happen in the future. I do try and embrace things early, get in there and sink or swim

I always hire people that I think are better than me. Some of them are, some of them aren’t. The ones that aren’t maybe go – the ones that are, stay.

We went peak beard a few months ago