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December 09, 1988 - Image 60

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-

A 10101441111114

111111•"-- :x11

— W

4MMONIIIIPMF

■ 1110411 WNW

I NEWS

HOLIDAY SPECIALS

FREE

YOGURT
PIES

T

Buy 1 Quart or Pint
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Kibbutz Shaves Debt
With New Invention

50% OFF*

(of equal size)

*With Coupon
Expires Jan. 22, 1989
L

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Special to The Jewish News

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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1988

352-9350

With a Subscription
To The Jewish News

Call: 354-6060

THE JEWISH NEWS

I

rotating spring coil
that shaves women's
legs has earned Kib-
butz Hagoshrim nearly $100
million in only two years. The
simple invention, which has
sold worldwide like the pro-
verbial hot cakes, has proven
a boon for the Upper Galilee
kibbutz, which had previous-
ly been deep in debt.
Manufactured by the
kibbutz-owned company,
Mepro Kibbutz Hagoshrim,
and market internationally
under the brand names Soft
and Easy and Epilady, the
hand-size appliance is adver-
tised as removing hair effi-
ciently and safely from
women's legs. Export sales
have soared from just $2
million in 1986, to $30
million in 1987 and an an-
ticipated $60 million in 1988.
According to Mikki Simhai,
managing director of Mepro
Kibbutz Hagoshrim, the
simplicity of the idea has
resulted in a spate of inferior
and ilegal imitations. "Such
countdrfit products," he ex-
plains, "infringe Mepro's pa-
tent, damage the company's
reputation and penalize the
unwary customer. We have
therefore set up a legal
surveillance network around
the world. We employ emi-
nent law firms who take im-
mediate and until now suc-
cessful action in the law
courts." •
The most serious challenge
to Mepro so far is taking place
in the English courts over a
copy of the shaver manufac-
tured by Remington. Mepro
recently won the first battle
in their legal suit by getting
a court injunction forbidding
Remington from selling its
product until the court
reaches its vertict.
Though the idea of the
shaver is simple, it took
two sophisticated Rehovot
engineers in collaboration
with Mepro's research and
development division to
devise the final product. The
inventors have assigned
Mepro worldwide exploitation
rights though they have been
well-rewarded in royalties.
Simhai rejects the criticism
of many purchasers who
claim that the shaver is too
painful to use. "Some do not
read the instructions proper-
ly," he says. "and others have
severe problems with conven-
tional razors. It is worth try-
ing the appliance several
times because hair removal

becomes easier after suc-
cessive use. But though we
spend large amounts on pro-
motion, most of our sales
come about when satisfied
customers recommend the
product to their friends and
you cannot argue with our
sales record."
Costing up to $70, the
shaver is marketed in Israel
by the Helena Rubinstein
company and is sold in over
40 countries. Mepro uses
three distributors — one for
Europe, the second for Spain
and Latin America and the
third for North America and
Australia. A fourth
distributor has recently been
appointed to penetrate the
potentially lucrative Japan-
ese market. In addition, the
product is made under license
in Hong Kong and Brazil.
lb meet this demand Mepro
has taken advantage of its
local manpower pool by open-
ing assembly lines at nearby
Kibbutz Kfar Szold and the
development town of Hatzor.
A packaging plant has been
set up at nearby Kibbutz
Mahanaim and production
capacity has now reached one
million units per month.
Though Kibbutz' Hago-
shrim has helped its
neighbors by establishing
these local enterprises, the
kibbutz ' itself is the prime
beneficiary of the new shaver.
Simhai is a member of Kib-
butz Hagoshrim, which was
founded in 1948 by Turkish
immigrants.
The kibbutz's 300 members
grow many crops, including
cotton, corn, wheat, hay,
avocadoes, kiwis and apples.
Hagoshrim also has a
121-room, three-star hotel
which serves as a resort and
congress center. Mepro also
produces a range of spirit
levels for the building in-
dustry, and self-powered night
sighting devices for the
Israeli army.
Despite its agricultural,
tourist and industrial enter-
prises, Kibbutz Hagoshrim
had found itself several
million dollars in debt prior to
the production of the shaver.
While some kibbutzim are in
serious financial difficulty,
most kibbutzim in Israel are
thriving. In 1987, 376
kibbutz-owned industrial ven-
tures exported nearly $400
million worth of goods. There
are 29 kibbutz hotels, in-
cluding the Hagoshrim Guest
House, and the kibbutzim ex-
port a further $200 million
worth of cotton, fruit,
vegetables and flowers.
Hagoshrim is investing its

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