Voice of the Industry

Will King fights for personal care players in sluggish male grooming sector

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The rambunctious founder of UK men’s grooming brand King of Shaves says he disagrees with the suggestion that the big personal care players do not know how to communicate with men.

The KoS boss challenged a comment made last year by ambitious young entrepreneur Simon Duffy, co-founder of Bulldog Skincare for Men that sluggish growth in the sector was not just down to the economy but that the problem was with some of the big UK players approaching men in a similar way. 

At the time Duffy told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com; “I think with skin care brands, it's down to the fact that they haven’t done a good job at it, rather than men being inherently difficult to communicate with."

However, on putting this to King, the industry veteran disagrees and reckons Bulldog is still small and will only continue growing off of a small base.

It’s easy growing off of a small base. But it’s tough keeping up that growth to a level of £10/12 million."

"Look," King says matter of factly; “Of course it’s not about the industry not knowing how to communicate with menThe likes of Nivea and L'Oréal would argue that they have done a great job doing it over the last 10 - 15 years."

He informs this publication that men will only engage with skin care more when they feel they need to and L'Oréal understands that which is why they market to an older generation compared to the males that use Lynx, for example.

There is a problem with the language though…

Giving credit where its due though, King says if we are solely looking at the language of ‘grooming’, an industry word that has come to define a sector, then Duffy may be on to something.

"The whole language part of it, I think Simon is bang on in that the way you use it to appeal to men must be right," he says.

The CEO says there isn't one simple adjective that describes a man’s single routine though. "If a guy is told he’s beautiful it doesn’t work. He wants to be macho, handsome, cool, rugged, thoughtful or deep."

So when it comes to the likes of 'beautification' for what the sector is and the name of it, it is an issue.

"I’ve been in this business 20 years and I don't think you will see men at scale wearing mascara, eyeliner, epilating or depilating any time soon."

Click to hear King also talking about why there's no middle ground anymore and how it's not good for the sector.

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