Louise from @Distinctivewash meets Will King, King of Shaves.

Louise from DistinctiveWash, meets Will King, King of Shaves.

Will King founder of King of Shaves offered to meet Louise from @Distinctivewash after sending a tweet suggesting that Distinctive could be another Wingman brand.  So the meeting was set on the 20th December for Home House in London – the exclusive members club whose member list includes pretty much everyone on London’s business and celebrity ‘A’ list.

“The Opportunity to gain counsel from another successful brand is imperative to a new start up, said Louise, owner of Distinctive Wash Ltd. Especially for a business reliant on only one or two people for pretty much everything.  I knew Will would offer me a no nonsense, no holds barred critique and frank discussion of my product and what had been done thus far so I purposefully sought him out on Twitter to request counsel in the early days and after he requested to trial my product and then liked it, he then chose to maintain dialogue.”

Louise believes Its as important to pick the right mentors as it is everything else and clearly felt that Will King, having built a brand that is now twenty years old, was the right man to make contact with. “He does an awful lot involving start up businesses in Britain and I felt we had some really good common ground in background interests. I also found it incredibly likeable that he also had two teachers for parents and sailed with his Dad as I did as a child, and through our discussions found out he was also once involved with the same laundry brand I worked on as a consultant. Quite ironic really,” she said.

“I knew I would like Will even before meeting him but I have to say I liked him immensely. The hour and a half I spent at Home House was invaluable and literally flew by and I had the good fortune to be personally introduced to one of the best secret consumer PR minds and also given a brief introduction to Duncan Bannatyne.”

Heading to the meeting though I’d had the awful news that one of my close friends had died after a long battle with cancer, it caused me to take a wrong turning and I arrived a little worse for wear that morning I have to say.

So what came of your meeting Louise? “Well, some of it covered a direction I had considered for the brand but hadn’t thus far followed, preferring the niche market route of providing the best designer laundry experience for men. I did give it serious consideration though as he was right  – we would definitely have sold more and quicker. But like every entrepreneur out there we will all listen to good advice but not necessarily take it all. I have a great deal of belief in my original niche market idea of segmenting specific markets with specific designer fragranced laundry powders. Will King, King of Shaves became a great brand and theres no doubt Will could have made my business ramp up quickly – we will be staying in contact.”

So why didn’t you go the Dragons route Louise from @Distinctivewash was asked? “I haven’t ruled it out, she said as I would do that if it became the right thing for the brand. At the moment it isn’t, we are making slow but steady progress and attracting an awful lot of International media for such a small brand. There is something about wanting to do it by yourself, no investment from anyone building from a very basic start one brick at a time. Many people would see it as foolish but they are often start ups that thrive on big investment only to go bust after three years and bought up by a bigger label. Indeed the Entrepreneurs don’t loose out on this strategy but everyone that crowd funded them does. Whats wrong with wanting to turn £1 into £2.

Plus If approached by the right buyer at some stage I’d rather be able to hand over the entire business lock stock and barrel without needing other decision makers on board.

The next six months is about learning, adapting and above all listening to our customers, who are sending through repeat orders and so far no returns.” Louise smiles.

“Attracting the attention and support of Will King is as good as having access to the Dragons.

Louise believes in addition to seeking out a mentor for her brand, the best advice for a product always comes from customers and the only way to start getting that kind of feedback is to start selling your products and talking to people. The launch at the Clothes Show Live was all about that as it was an ideal opportunity before Christmas to get in front of the public and see what people made of it. We knew there wouldn’t be lots and lots of men there, but its been great to see as many women as men buying, smelling the fragrance then smelling again as they walked around around the exhibition.  Women do love expensive sexy male scents and the Amber and Sandalwood in Distinctive are a delicious sensual combination.

Distinctive Wash has attracted an awful lot of attention from day one, lucky in some ways but in others, attracting so much International publicity immediately has been a bad thing as we haven’t been in a position to deal with the opportunities it has generated. Its also meant that there are competitors to the market. Luckily for us though their fragrances and laundry experience aren’t Distinctive…

Louise from Distinctive Wash Ltd given strategic counsel by one of Britain’s iconic Global brand leaders Will King, King of Shaves. No one can do it alone though and although gut instinct and research gives a majority of answers another perspective on what you have created is really a superb opportunity to re-evaluate and take stock. I wish I’d started business with a partner – it would have been so much better to have someone to bounce off and keep momentum going…