Sean Edwards – Publisher of The Cutthroat

Content – Keira Purcell – Founder Uppercut Deluxe.

Counterfeiting has been a major problem for many years in the grooming industry mostly isolated to the cosmetic sector. We’ve now seen some major barbering products being attacked by international counterfeiters copying these well-known brands.

We were warned last year, companies like Suavecito, Uppercut, Wahl are all being imitated by factories mostly based out of Asia. This market is known as the grey (gray) market and has proven hugely problematic, as many buying sites like Ali Barber and eBay don’t have stringent regulations, allowing for dodgy operators to use these platforms.

We all like a bargain! However, the implication goes far beyond costing the industry lots of money but leads to ethical questions about what chemicals we are put on our hair and skin and ultimately into our bodies. Whilst researching this story we came across other counterfeited barber brands such as, clippers, barber chairs and scissors.

We asked Kiera Purcell Uppercut Deluxe Co-Founder and CEO, to speak on counterfeiting in the grooming marketplace and the knock-on effects on Australian manufacturing.

Kiera explains:

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and generally, although it’s annoying you move on, continue to focus on your business and stay in your own lane. We’ve had more than our fair share of imitators over the years. However, counterfeiting is a whole different ball game.

We’ve seen a recent rise in both the number of counterfeit goods in the marketplace, and more concerningly the sophistication of the copies. To an unknowing consumer, they would purchase the product thinking they had an authentic tin.

We pride ourselves on producing quality products and are taking swift and direct action to ensure that no Uppercut Deluxe consumers fall victim to the counterfeit schemes.

Some fakes are easy to spot, others are professional copycats. Recently we’ve found counterfeits in Australian barbershops, this is something we are taking very seriously.

I guess what I would say to the industry is, that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. We manufacture our products in Australia and sell direct to the barber channel through our inhouse sales organisation. If you’re buying bulk from a website or from a car boot (yes, really) then you shouldn’t be surprised to discover the stock isn’t authentic. This activity is illegal and the Australian Boarder Force, Fair Trading alongside our legal partners are with us in fighting against this to protect our brand and the consumers who deserve better than to be mislead.

We started the brand from our garage 12 years ago, if you’d told me then that we’d be facing counterfeit issues as part of our business strategy I would have laughed. I think we’ve got a good handle on it all now, we’re still finalising some litigation cases but hopefully we’re through the worst of it.

I’m sure when it’s all said and done, I’ll see some humour in it all. We’d much rather spend our time producing good products and working with our amazing barber partners.

What is encouraging, is that ultimately this is a by-product of a fast-growing industry. The barber channel in Australia has absolutely exploded over the past 10 years. Most people build quality businesses, some take shortcuts, that’s just human nature unfortunately.

Thank you Keira for stepping up to the mark to address this issue head on. The quicker this practice is stopped, the better for all involved.

As an industry magazine and the communication channel to barbers in Australia, the consequences of losing these innovative suppliers to our exciting industry will be a loss of investment into education and adds revenue to your business, as well as offering your peace of mind that you are looking after the health and wellbeing of your customer by purchasing quality products.