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Close Shave

No more nicks and bits of toilet paper--this couple is transforming the business of men's grooming.

Vital Stats: Eric Malka, 37, and Myriam Zaoui, 31, of The Art of Shaving

Company: Men's skin-care/grooming line and retail shops/barber spas in New York City

2005 Projected Sales: $17.5 million

Domestic Bliss: On her Miami vacation, Zaoui met and fell in love with Malka. After the two tied the knot, Zaoui, trained in aromatherapy and holistic medicine, began experimenting with homemade botanicals on her new husband, creating a pre-shave oil. Malka, a financial consultant for a men's cosmetics and perfumes distributor, saw a growing market, and both felt the urge to join it.

Cutting Edge: In 1996, the couple opened a small, high-end shaving store. They use mild, all-natural ingredients on men's skin and carry tools to entice battle-scarred men who had switched to electric razors. Malka says, "Once they realize their discomfort [is] because of the products they use, we convert a lot of them back."

Fit for a King: A second location in New York City included a barber spa, which led to a location in the Neiman Marcus flagship store in Dallas in 1999. Along with cuts and trims, they offer services like the 45-minute Royal Shave, a straight-razor shave and pampering skin treatment. "Most men fall asleep during the process, which is hard to believe [since] you have a knife to your throat," marvels Malka.

Head to Toe: With five stores and 600 retail customers worldwide including Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's, The Art of Shaving will release a new product to heal ingrown hairs and bumps, as well as launch a body-care line that effectively caters to men above and below the neck.

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This article was originally published in the June 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Close Shave.

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