Beauty Store Business

OCT 2018

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34 October 2018 | beautystorebusiness.com TAKING THE LEAP After excelling in math early on at Antalya Anatolian High School, Mehmet continued on that track, earning a bachelor's degree in economics from Bosphorus University in Istanbul in 2001. "I thought it was the best direction for me to take," Mehmet recalls. His instinct was right: After graduation, he went to work for the Istanbul division of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the largest accounting service com- panies in the world, and quickly established his professional prowess. After only three years, in 2004, Mehmet was promoted and relocated to the firm's New York City office. "This was an exciting step for a 27-year-old who had just received his CPA license, and that's how the U.S. chapter of my life began," Mehmet says. "While working there, a family friend who worked for Derby, in Turkey, asked if I would sell their razor blades in my spare time. I hesitantly agreed and imported my first pallet, which sat in our attic for six months because I had no idea what to do with it!" But, again, Mehmet would prove to be a quick learner–and the type who thrives on conquering new challenges. To familiarize himself with the new industry he suddenly found himself involved in, he attended the Northeast Beauty Rep Association trade show, while still testing the waters, keeping his safe accounting job at the forefront. However, boredom and a nagging entrepreneurial drive soon forced him to take the leap that would change his life's direction. "I continued to work another three years for PwC before I became dissatisfied with what I found to be the not-so-dynamic ways of corporate life and felt ready to venture out on my own," Mehmet says. "It was then that my wife and I decided to start our own fam- ily business in the professional beauty industry–with the one product I had. Looking back, this was the most irrational move I could have ever made, with the country being in the middle of an economic crisis. But there's no better time than the present, so I took the risk." Mehmet made every attempt to grow his business, largely through grassroots tactics such as visiting barbershops to leave samples and collect feedback or traveling coast to coast to meet with distributors. And his nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic paid off. Starting out in 2007 as an exclusive importer of Derby razor blades, Kanar con- centrated on the barber supply and men's grooming sector. But, as the company grew, it expanded its selection to reach all areas of the professional beauty industry. "With our early entry into the men's category and an increasing demand, our work over the past 10 years gave us an opportunity to become recognized as one of the largest barber supply distributors in the market at the B2B level," Mehmet says. "Even now, not a day goes by where I don't learn something new. The beauty industry drew me in because it's filled with endless opportunities–so much innovation from such a wide variety of people. There is plenty of room for all of us to grow in whichever direction we choose." And grow his company would. Mehmet began working as a distributor in 2011 and now does business with more than 200 domestic vendors. As other opportunities arose, he found himself becoming a manufacturer as well–a new and completely different experience that helps him "better understand and appreciate the trials and successes of the other brands we work with," he says. "For example, as a distributor, you can return any defective product you have on hand; as a manufac- turer, you can't, so the risk is higher, and so is the investment–but it can also mean a higher return." Luckily, in the face of this calculated risk, Mehmet again proved up to the challenge. INSIDE THE COMPANY Today, Kanar flourishes as a manufacturer, importer and master distributor of more than 200 brands and 20,000 SKUs of professional barber, beauty and personal care products. The company's New Jersey office and warehouse complex hosts two sizable facilities–one clocking in at 45,000 square feet and the other at 30,000 square feet. The room needed to safely store a wide selection of products for rapid turnaround of each order. And, while this location serves customers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America, there are additional Kanar outposts worldwide. "Through partnerships, we also have locations in the U.K., Australia and Italy, as well as production facilities in Turkey," Mehmet says. "We also have a full team of inde- pendent sales reps and third-party service providers. Our sales are primarily for business-to-business exchanges, with a growing portion of our sales also directed to professionals, such as stylists, barbers, nail technicians, etc." Some of the key brands Kanar manu- factures include The Shave Factory, with men's shaving products; Dream, which produces hygienic neck strips; Créé, a hair color line made in Italy; and K-Concept, a line of salon, barber and spa furniture. Kanar is also an exclusive importer for brands such as Derby, featuring double- and single-edge razor blades; Gummy, a line of men's haircare and shaving products with top-selling hard-hold gels; and Marmara Barber Cologne, currently available in four fragrances. This eclectic enterprise is streamlined significantly through the power of technology. "For me, technology is such a time-saver and has allowed us to grow by reaching more people with up-to-date information and collecting their feedback, which we can then process faster and more efficiently." Kanar's conveyor system expedites shipping and receiving processes.

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