Fast Track 100

Will King always had trouble shaving – every morning he would end up with a rash, cuts on his face and blood on his shirt. In 1993 he decided to do something about it. Mixing a selection of aromatherapy oils, he designed an oil that not only helped him shave without a rash but also moisturised his skin. Realising the potential of such a product in a market that had seen little innovation in 50 years, he founded Knowledge & Merchandising Inc. He initially sold his King of Shaves products to just one shop – Harrods – but success came when the firm was accepted by retailers such as Boots. ‘We’ve created a new sector to the market, called premium mass,’ says Herbie Dayal, chairman. ‘Our products are in your local store but they are the most expensive.’ Premium mass has driven up sales by 94% a year, from £534,000 in 1996 to £3.9m in 1999. The firm’s products are stocked in supermarkets and pharmacy chains and it claims to control 8% of the British shaving-product market by value, second only to Gillette. With an office in New York, King and Dayal have launched a range of fragrances under the Ted Baker name, which Saks Fifth Avenue will stock.

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Company details
CompanyKnowledge & Merchandising Inc
ActivityToiletries developer
Annual sales rise over 3 years94.08%
Latest sales £000s3,903

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure