Are you Buying from Authorised Suppliers?

Whether you are new to the beauty, nails and tanning industries, or even a seasoned professional, you may always be on the lookout for the latest brands and products to add to your treatment menu. But you don't want to be caught out using products of low quality on your valued clients, meaning that you have to be careful with which distributors you purchase from.

When shopping online for any number of products, there is always a danger that what you are getting isn't actually authentic. One thing that you can look at straightaway is the price, if this seems too good to be true, the likelihood may be that it is. Professional products are often priced accordingly, with additional extras included in the costs, such as customer support and marketing materials.

What is the difference between distributors & sub-distributors?

A distributor is a company or brand that has been nominated to supply a particular product to the UK market. Often, overseas brands will have distributors in different countries so that they can provide more direct marketing and customer support to their clients. The best way to ensure that a distributor or sub-distributor is genuine is to just ask the brand directly. 

What are the consequences?

Whilst products supplied through non-authorised suppliers may appear to be genuine, you have no guarantee of this. This means that you could actually be duping your clients into believing that they are receiving the service expected from a particular brand, when in fact they aren't, which won't look good on your business.

So, to help you out we have put together some of the top tips from those in the industry:

• Jon Hardwick, Managing Director of Grafton International: “I would recommend contacting the UK distributor of your products to ensure you are purchasing from a genuine source if you have any doubts over authentication. The product may look exactly the same from the outside, but it's what's on the inside that counts.”

• Marie-Louise Coster, Beauty Therapist, Trainer and Business Consultant:  “Trade shows are a great way of seeing who the authorised suppliers of products are. You can also speak to the brand directly and ask whether they have any sub-distributors – that way you know you are always buying from genuine stockists.”

• Darren Crook, Director at Louella Belle: “I sympathise with the temptation of paying [less] on an online auction website versus from an authorised distributor. [But] If you do receive counterfeit product, it is likely the treatment will not meet your clients' expectations and they are unlikely to return. Worse, with social media, others will likely hear and your business will suffer.”

• Ciara, Asu Nail & Beauty Supplies: “Check for phone numbers, location and email addresses. If these do not seem legitimate, or are coming from abroad, they may not be an authorised supplier for your area.”

Here at Guild News, we also have a few ways for you to work out which suppliers you can trust. Each year we welcome hundreds of the industry's leading brands to our annual trade shows Beauty UK and Scottish Hair & Beauty, where you can ask a brand face to face about their distribution. You can also discover new suppliers through our trade publication Guild News, where we supply contact details for each brand mentioned in the issue.

If you can't make it to trade events, another great method to find suppliers is through talking to your peers. Network with or follow other salon owners, managers, therapists and techs on social media, and they will often be more than willing to share their experiences and lead you in the right direction.

Purchasing products through authorised supplier lines are the best way to support the industry and the professional brands within it, so if you stick to this advice then you can offer the best products and services to clients whilst supporting your industry.