Despite being founded in 1870 British perfumer Penhaligon’s are a brand that’s always on the move – literally, as the opening of their New York store proves and creatively, as evidenced by their recent partnership with BA – but their latest project sees them returning to their roots to certain extent. Not only does their dazzling new store in London’s Canary Wharf look the biz (thanks to architects Al-Jawad Pike) it also features Penhaligon’s first in-house barbers since their very first Jermyn Street store opened all those years ago. Result? A quick lunchtime visit and you’ll look just as good as you smell. Recommended.
King of Shaves Supremo Will King is a man on a mission – he wants to shake up the razor market forever. And to a degree the launch of the bendy Azor razor has done that – triggering, if not quite the tectonic shift in the market promised, then debate about the cost of shaving and how razors are marketed at least.
And he truly loves his products. In fact, he’s so good at bigging them up that I truly believe that had he been our Prime Minister he’d have talked the country out of recession about eight months ago.
And today he has something new to talk about: the brand new Azor M razor – a weightier, deluxe, hybrid metal alloy version of the Azor and Azor S. I caught up with him to find out a little more about the Azor M, his views on the shaving market and the impact of social media on male grooming. Oh, and just for fun, what fragrances he likes to wear too.
GG: The original Azor launched 2008. What so you think is the single biggest change it’s made to the wet razor market in the UK?
WK: I introduced genuine competition in a monopoly (sorry, cosy duopoly) to the consumer’s advantage.
GG: Best shaving tip?
WK: Shave in the shower.
GG: What are your favourite three men’s fragrances and why?
WK: Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme. Directional, classic, cool – makes me feel good. Thierry Mugler A*Men. Sexy, original, sensual. Ted Baker Skinwear. Fresh, uplifting & I headed up its design!
GG: What effect has the internet had on male grooming in the last few years?
WK: It’s been absolutely huge. Men’s magazines were big enough in the 90’s, but now you can pretty much get any knowledge you need about ‘shaving great, smelling great, styling great, looking great’ online. Word of mouth has become word of mouse; ‘hard to get hold of’ brands can be delivered to your home, and with all the forums/blog posts/bulletin boards, you’re spoilt for choice for knowledge, information and advice.
GG: You’re a prolific blogger and user of user of social media. How important is that to you personally and to the King of Shaves brand as a whole?
WK: It’s critical. We’ve shifted from an era of ‘brand broadcast’ (via TV advertising) to ‘digital dialogue’ (consumers interacting and being interacted with). I’ve blogged since 2001, watched twitter grow from 2006, been on facebook for years. I don’t use the social media much personally (ie i’m actually quite private) from from a brandcomms perspective, I’m able to imbue KoS with a genuine personality, and serve up content I hope people enjoy reading and acting on, responding to.
GG: I once called you ‘The Simon Cowell of Social Media’ in one of my blogs. What do you say to that accusation?
WK: Flattered. OMG! LOL.
GG: The new Azor M is quite different from it’s predecessors. Describe it in one word.
GG: If you could have any celebrity ambassador for Azor M who would it be?
GG: Desert island grooming product?
WK: SPF30 Lancaster sun tan cream…
GG: Finally, what kind of technology will we be using to shave with in 20 years time? Or will we still be using blades?
WK: Watch out for the NanoRazor. Not 4 blades, but 4,000,000 individual stubble slicers working away and self sharpening in between shaves. Don’t laugh.