Estetica Export has interviewed Tsedy Elias, CEO of Elias Sassonic, an importer and distributor of electric beauty items for professional hair salons in Israel.

When did you start up the business?
We are a family business established by my father in 1967. In the beginning, it was a repair business for electric shavers. Later we began specializing in importing and distributing electric appliances like hair shavers, hair clippers, hairdryers and hair straighteners into Israel”.

So, what do you sell now?
We represent different international brands and we mainly sell to wholesalers specializing in hair salon supplies, and also to some hair academies.
We have another company in Tel Aviv managed by my brother the shop is more dedicated for retail and e-commerce”.

Which channels are performing best right now?
Our e-commerce, is very famous and performing well.
Furthermore, we also cooperate with other online marketplaces, while we take care of delivery to the costumers.
The duty-free shop at the airport is one of our best performing channels, we also sell to the leading electrical retail chains in Israel and of course in the city of Eilat, which is a free trade zone”

Where do you import your main professional brands from?
Our main professional brands are imported from Japan, USA, Italy and China.
We also create and develop our own Sassonic brand which is currently marketed only in Israel”.

How is the economic situation in Israel at the moment?
We can see that in the last six months, the economy is a little bit slowing down in Israel, due to the complicated political situation. Because of this climate, the customers are buying less, and less visiting hair salons. Furthermore, there are bureaucratic obstacles that interfere with the business development.
Of course, also more and more competitors. But Elias is a very stable business over many years, with a lot of experience which always stand up through the years since 1967, and a lot of difficulties, like wars, and sometimes embargoes from the suppliers”.

Have you visited any trade fairs recently?
I went to the Cosmoprof Bologna. The last edition was very interesting and I had the chance to meet my supplier and also interact with some new brands”.

Elias Sassonic

What is your point of view on the present international situation in the hair & beauty industry?
We are overwhelmed by the number of new proposals that appear in the markets every day. It is impossible to follow them all up. It has become very hard for importers to choose the right product, the one that our clients will appreciate and want to buy. People get a lot of information and hear about many new proposals, but I cannot buy all the latest innovations on the market because the suppliers ask for a minimum order. So, the risk has become much higher for distributors”.

And when you finally find a product that works well and sells well, soon it is imitated by competitors, other innovations come out and people ask for the new trends. Everything changes so fast that it is very hard to keep our business profitable”.

What are your bestsellers?
Hair clippers are the most sold. It used to be hair shavers for men, but now the fashion has changed and people have switched to trimmers. In Israel, electric shavers have always been very popular to shave beards because of some religious beliefs do not using blades”.

What does a product need to be successful in Israel?
Well, if you have a new product different from the rest of the market you have a great chance to capture the client interest. Alternatively, you need a new version of something already present on the market, but it has to be improved in terms of quality and with a more favourable cost/benefit ratio. Quality, service and price are always the main drivers for any brand”.
For Elias, the most important thing is customer satisfaction, we have been keeping our customers for 55 years, generation after generation, we are famous in our market as a place with a high sense of service, good prices, and the place where you will always find the part you need to keep your machine for a few more years”.