By  on May 2, 2008

U.K.-based men's grooming brand King of Shaves aims to crown a queen — or at least make a splash in the women's shave cream market in the U.S. during the next few years.

The brand, which was founded by Will King in 1993, rolled out two women's shaving gels to Target stores this week, the first step in what the brand expects be a larger foray into the category.

While King wouldn't discuss numbers, industry sources estimate the brand is targeting a 10 percent share of the women's shave market within the next three years.

The overall U.S. mass market shaving cream category declined by 3.2 percent during the 52 weeks ended March 23 to $266.1 million in drugstores, mass merchants and supermarkets, with the exception of Wal-Mart, according to Chicago-based market research firm Information Resources Inc.

IRI does not break out women's shave cream, but the biggest brand during that period was a women's brand — SC Johnson's Skintimate — which took 13.8 percent of the market with $36.7 million in sales. The number-two brand, which had 10.8 percent of the market, was Gillette Series, with $28.8 million in sales. Gillette had the number-three brand as well, Foamy, with a 7.7 percent share, or $20.5 million in sales. Gillette, along with the Edge and Barbasol brands, rounded out the top 10 ranking.

King, who claims the number-two spot in shaving cream in the U.K. behind Gillette, said he'd been looking at the King of Shaves product assortment during the last year and — given the advancements in hardware (i.e., four- and five-blade razors) — he said he wanted to create women's products that contain microencapsulated emollients "to deliver a comfortable shave."

"The exfoliating action has been increased with [more] blades," said King. "Men want better lubrication and we reached out to women and found similar [concerns]."

The two products, which have reached nearly 600 Target Corp. doors, are called Smooth and Sensitive and Pamper and Moisture. Both 5.9-oz. shaving gels are priced at $5.99. They were launched in the U.K. along with a third women's item about seven weeks ago.

The two gels for the U.S. market contain chamomile extract and vitamin E, aloe vera and rose extract. Industry sources estimate first-year sales of the two items could exceed $2 million in the U.S.To help support King of Shaves, which is carried in 11,000 doors in the U.S., the brand has appointed master barber Diane Wood, who works at her father Adrian Wood's Manhattan barbershop, called Paul Molé, as spokeswoman.

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