King of Shaves breaks the US market with clever collaboration

The deal with Remington has been a long time in the making. King first received an approach from the firm when Rayovac Corporation bought the shaving brand back in 2004. Rayovac wanted to acquire King of Shaves to bolster its portfolio. King didn't sell. "At that time we were just starting the development of the Azor," he says. "It was too early."

But the seeds of collaboration were sewn. "I kept in touch with them," says King. "In November 2009, I restarted dialogue. Both our primary competitors are American. It was obvious we needed a strong US partner who'd have great traction with US retailers like Wal-Mart and Target."

The terms of the deal are thus: In 2011, King of Shaves and Remington are joining forces to launch the King of Shaves Azor® system razor, co-branded with Remington,  into the American market. King is also taking advantage of Remington's distribution channels to introduce the King of Shaves branded men's grooming products to the wider US market.

It took 10 months to broker the deal. But the fruits of King's labour is set to yield global sales of around $100m by 2003 with a market penetration of 5-7%. "It's a great partnership," says King. "We can deliver our King of Shaves wet shave expertise and technology alongside the Remington position in electrical men's grooming and shaving."

Of course, now that the ink is dry on the paperwork, the real work begins. King has to massively scale up his manufacturing output to fulfil the new orders. Luckily, King planned ahead. "Scaling the business to satisfy forecast demand is a core part of our business' success," he says.

"We're planning to phase the growth, backed by pretty substantial marketing. There's been a lot of background work carried out here.  We have two years of demand forecast from the UK against our competitors, so hopefully that gives us a steer as to likely growth internationally."

This is a real coup for the £24m-turnover, Buckinghamshire-based firm. King has this key piece of advice for entrepreneurs looking to replicate his collaborative success: "Spend as much time as possible on making sure your future relationship is one that both partners want," he says. "Reciprocity is hugely important; the give and take. Going it alone can work wonders, but tread carefully when you're considering an engagement. It's just like a marriage!"



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