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Will proves he's king of big business

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:57 05 July 2010

AWARD WINNER: From left, Hiten Dayal of King of Shaves, Edward Wray, CEO of Betfair, who won that same category in 2004 and 2005, and Will King. Picture: SUBMITTED

AWARD WINNER: From left, Hiten Dayal of King of Shaves, Edward Wray, CEO of Betfair, who won that same category in 2004 and 2005, and Will King. Picture: SUBMITTED

LOWESTOFT'S leading entrepreneur, Will King scooped the prized Company of the Year award, for his King of Shaves men's grooming business, at the Real Business Growing Business Awards.

LOWESTOFT'S leading entrepreneur, Will King scooped the prized Company of the Year award, for his King of Shaves men's grooming business, at the Real Business Growing Business Awards.

The company, founded by the north Suffolk businessman, beat four others which were shortlisted for the prestigious award, organised by Real Business Magazine and the Confederation of British Industry.

The evening, held at London's Grosvenor Hoel, was hosted by Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and in front of 400 guests from the business world including Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis.

The awards are designed to recognise innovation and entrepreneurial spirit amongst Britain's business community and Will beat off several other high profile short-listed nominees, including dotcom fashion brand net-a-porter.com

Judges praised the company for its continued pursuit of innovation in taking on dominant market-leading brands in the sector.

The leading entrepreneur started his King of Shaves business from his own kitchen in the recession of the early 1990's. Having been made redundant from his marketing job he seized upon his sudden free time to develop shaving oil - a product inspired by his long-running battle with razor burn.

He experimented with his girlfriend's oils until he found the solution and he worked away until he had a bottled, labelled shaving oil.

A game of cards with his father brought about the name King of Shaves after the king of spades was dealt - “After all, it's your name, isn't it?” commented King senior.

The King of Shaves oil wasn't an instant success and sales in the first year totalled just £300 against a £30,000 development cost, but Will drew on his marketing skills to secure more retailers. By 1997 the company's turnover had increased to over £1m, and was doubling year on year.

The King of Shaves brand has now overtaken Wilkinson Sword and Nivea to become number two to Gillette in the shaving prep market in the UK, and the products are also taking off in the USA where they are now being sold in over 20,000 stores.

In June this year, King launched the King of Shaves razor - The Azor - the first British made, designed and engineered razor in over one hundred years.

Will said: “Having set up this company in the depths of the last recession in the early 90's, it just shows that with an innovative, scaleable idea, hard-work, passion and persistence you can build a successful company in a hugely competitive market.

“I am over the moon to have received this award on behalf of the King of Shaves team, and am really proud of what we've been able to achieve. Bring on 2009.”

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