Meet Keri Raciti, Sole distributor for South Africa

Posted by Emily 09/04/2021 0 Comment(s)

Meet the Harley Waxing Team! 
Keri Raciti - Sole distributor for Harley Waxing, South Africa

Our company would be nothing without the loyal and passionate distributors of Harley Waxing products around the world. This time we focus on one of our longest-running distribution relationships: with Keri in South Africa. 

We understand you’ve been in business with Harley for a long time! Tell us how you got started with Harley. 

That’s true! My husband Riccardo and I started our distribution business with Harley Waxing back in 2010. Back then there were very few choices in terms of waxing products for salons. Salon owners would get frustrated about the lack of options, as well as the poor customer service. South Africa was crying out for a new, high-quality beauty supplies company! 

We took the plunge and set up Lamica Beauty Supplies and have gone from strength to strength since then. We started looking for multiple waxes to offer and got hold of Harley. What we loved straight away was that Harley waxes matched our strict standards for quality and results. We knew that working with poor-quality products would bring nothing for our business.

Harley Waxes are still the flagship products of our beauty supplies company. 

What was it about Harley that helped you to establish your business?

Harley gave us the space to grow our business. They have always been incredibly supportive. Peter (Knowler, Harley Waxing CEO) came along with his experience when we needed a guiding hand in those early days. Harley let us work within our means to take on the brand at that time - providing us with opportunities without any mass demands. They pushed us to take our instant passion for the brand and drive our business growth. 

When we started, my husband and I were in our twenties and it’s true to say Peter saw something of his own story in ours - he started out with Harley when he and his wife were a young couple. We continue to value Peter’s support very highly and keep in touch regularly. 

Our family has grown alongside our business - we are now lucky enough to have two young children under two, so life is very full!

Describe how it feels to start out as a distributor. 

I can’t lie - it’s hard work! You have to put in the hours, cold calling salons and using every single one of your contacts to follow up on potential business. Luckily for me, I was a skincare trainer when I started out, so I was able to revisit salons where I had delivered training and already had an existing relationship. But there were a lot of sales calls, going from salon to salon and putting yourself out there. I didn’t find that easy but I found ways to use my links to book demos. 

Once you have your demo, the results speak for themselves. There’s no hard sell needed. That’s what we love about Harley - the results are obvious. I don’t feel like I have to be a strong salesman. I just have to speak the truth. 

It’s fair to say that Harley Wax is a Rolls Royce range - it isn’t the cheapest (or the most expensive for that matter). It’s important to get across to salons that a great product like this is actually more cost-effective because there is zero waste and no mistakes. Not everyone looks at it like that, so sometimes you just have to take the feedback and move on. 

I like to offer backup training and a lot of support to my clients for that extra added value. I also appreciate the promotional offers I get from Harley, because I can pass those onto salons. 

Your business has been thriving for over a decade. What do you think is the secret to your success?

It’s all about a chain reaction. I get good service from Harley, so I can provide a good service to clients. They can then offer a good service to their customers. Simple!

Because of the exceptional quality and reliability of Harley products, day-to-day and year-to-year, I never have complaints from clients that there are product issues or unexpected results. 

There’s a personal aspect too. Because of my background in beauty therapy, I have the essential technical knowledge and existing relationships. Riccardo brings his marketing and finance background to complete the full circle and between us, we have a really broad range of skills. 

That brings me to our support structure - it’s big! We have wonderful support from our family and friends, as well as from Harley as a supplier. We actually started our business from my parents’ home and Mum has worked in the business since 2013!

How do you blend life around family and work?

I think there is a misconception that working for yourself means you can take time off whenever you want, no problem. I love that I can take time away for my kids when they need me - but I always need to find the time to catch up! That said, I always wanted to own my own business so that I could have flexibility without having to answer to anyone else. 

It can be hectic if the business needs attention in the evening when Riccardo is home, but I’m distracted with kid stuff! But we have always managed to make it work. I love seeing how this business draws out each of our skills and keeps us learning and developing. 

What have you gained from being a Harley distributor? 

I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’m often stretched beyond my comfort zone (like when I get asked to make Harley demo videos!). I sometimes miss the creativity of being a beauty therapist, but I really enjoy the personal growth. 

Thanks to the strength of Harley Wax, we’ve actually been able to create our own range of mani-pedi products - something I’ve always wanted to do. 

In your own business you can really push yourself - you learn a lot about your hidden talents! I’ve noticed with Riccardo, for example, that because he’s so bright and academic he has really been able to use his full potential. 

On a practical note, business owners are often reluctant to pay others to do something for them - so you have a go at doing it yourself! That’s how you continue to learn and develop. 

Finally, what advice would you give someone setting up a new distribution business from scratch?

Top of the list is finding a quality product. You also need exceptional customer service from the suppliers, so that you can deliver to your clients. Quality product and service is the key to this business. 

It can be difficult when you are the middleman, as you are in a distribution business, because manufacturing and delivery is controlled by someone else. Thankfully, Harley really ticks the box here for reliability. It’s hard to build a business and you have to feel that the supplier is playing their part in the business unfurling as you deserve. 

In reality, we have three children - Lamica is our third child and we need to feel that we are in business with a supplier that looks after it just how they would if it were their own. It’s our passion, our whole life, not to mention a financial risk - so we need to have absolute faith, which we have in Harley Waxing. 

How to become a distributor

Harley Wax is currently looking for international distributors, if you are interesting in learning more, complete this form or get in touch.