Malcolm Lacey, CEO of Lacey’s Distribution is the exclusive UK distributor for Unite products. We’re very much aware of how popular the brand is so we know Malcolm has a pretty big job on his hands! Lucky for us we managed to pin him down for a cup of tea and talk all about why Lacey’s are the right company to be so closely aligned with Unite (across the whole country).
Tell us about Lacey’s…
Lacey’s has been going for 30 years now, it started off just me, my wife and my father-in-law operating the business from home. Prior to setting up Lacey’s I worked for a wholesale company called Ogee for 11 years, so I had a wealth of experience. I’ve built business by stocking bespoke boutique products for salons, but we’re so much more than products we provide a service to our customers too. we provide quality products, education and expertise to help hair professionals grow.
How did you end up working with Unite?
Time to rewind the clock. I had a phone call with Andrew Dale – he’s the CEO of Unite, a really good guy and everyone who uses Unite will know him. We had a great synergy when we spoke and I really believed in the brand. We took on Unite just four months before the world stopped (pre-Covid) and now two and half years later we are working on growing the brand and concentrating on the core of Unite – family, education, quality and fashion. elements to business and aspiring salons who want the fashion route unite offers access
Tell us about the products…
I like the simplicity of the packaging. it’s minimal classy and doesn’t conflict with anything else in the salon. I also like the simplicity of the product systems, it’s easy for stylists and helps clients to understand what products they need for their hair. Whilst the look and choice of products is simplified, the performance and quality of products is there. It’s a classy brand and it excites me to see where it can take a salon – I don’t know another brand that offers the same opportunities.
what are your Unite favourites?
7Seconds Detangler (obvs). I also love Texturiza spray and think that both Boosta and Boing are great systems.
Unite has a strong fashion position, how do you feel that helps a Lacey’s customer?
I think it gives our customers access to a world they can’t easily access and allows them to experience a whole different side in hairdressing. Salons can use their opportunity working at Fashion Weeks to promote their business; it’s something that’s so powerful to their clients and will impress them. It also gives them a point of difference over competitor salons.
You’ve hosted three Runway Ready courses, how did they go?
The first one in January was the most exciting course we’ve ever run! I think that was partly the timing of the end of lockdown restrictions, but there was a great atmosphere and such a buzz in the room. We repeated it recently and still had similar outcomes. Stylists’ arrive and don’t know what to expect but leave after their two days as a different person. I’ve had feedback from salon owners who have said they feel like they have new employees because they return to the salon so fired up. It’s not just about getting to Fashion Week it’s about increasing your skillset, being able to work quicker and more precisely whilst building confidence.
Do you think it encourages new talent?
I’ve seen some great emerging talent come from the course. Some capable of leading a team! It’s great to see them grow and their aspirations fulfilled.
Who are the key members of Unite you work closely with?
We work a lot with Narad Kutowaroo who’s a great hairdresser and really down to earth guy. There’s also Brendan O’Sullivan who has been part of Unite for a long time and does some amazing session work. And of course Gary Baker who runs the course and has a great following.
how is the Unite family developing in uk?
We are working hard to establish it. Anyone who is involved with Unite and has worked with the people I just mentioned will see it quickly! Everyone cares what they are doing and where they are going with Unite. I speak to Dale weekly – how many distributors get to speak to the person who owns the company that often? You get a unique relationship with Unite.
The Paramount Business course with Andrew Dale launched in the UK this year, how did it go?
There was a great attendance and the course went down exceptionally well. It helps that Dale is firstly a hairdresser, then went on to becoming a salon owner. He’s relatable and understands what our salon owners go through daily and provides helpful ways forward for them. in June next year we will hold another Paramount Business course, plus we’ll be introducing Paramount Leadership. This will be for those who have completed the business course and will deliver a separate set of skills.
Fashion Week is creeping up, what do Unite have planned?
Those who have just attended the Runway Ready course are off to London Fashion Week. We even had a couple of graduates head out to Miami Swim Week. The opportunities that come from Runway Ready are really special, and I love to see them go beyond London.
The next Runway Ready course will be 3rd & 4th January 2023. We are also introducing a new Unite styling course with Narad set to take place in October. This will be an inspiring and intimate course focussing on fashion and techniques. Speaking of education, we are working with the US to provide access to Unite TV which is an online education platform – watch this space!
Lacey’s have several long-term customer – what does that mean to you?
It’s remarkable to think that we have customers who go back 30 years to when we first started. There are a lot who have been with us for a long time and we even have employees who have been with unjust as long. I’m confident that we meet our customers needs must and deliver what they like. We work hard forming a great partnerships with all our salons, We’re not just selling products but to support all their needs. We want to be their partner and help them grow.
Tell us about unite’s Doggy-poo?
Doggy-poo started in the States by Dale – a real dog lover. The profits from Doggy-poo help fund a rehoming package for dogs for veterans. A lot of these guys are not in the best of places; so it’s about rehoming the dogs as their life companion.
I have two labradoodles at home – Daisy and Ruby and I must say that Doggy-poo works well for them.
I see a big future for unite. it’s a unique offering to a salon and has all the things a salon needs plus so much more.
Learn more by visiting Lacey’s Distribution.
For more news from Unite click HERE