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Covid-19, let's take stock

Today we wanted to take stock with you about the current pandemic which has completely turned the hair supplement industry upside down. This blog post will therefore be written differently,...

Today we wanted to take stock with you about the current pandemic which has completely turned the hair supplement industry upside down. This blog post will therefore be written differently, in the form of questions/answers with Sébastien, the founder of the BYSIX brand.

Q: Question from Marion

A: Sebastian's answer

Q: Can we give an update on the pandemic since February?

A: Indeed, a quick recap of the situation is in order for our readers to understand the real impact of the pandemic.

We started to hear "rumors" about this virus from the beginning of January 2020 from our assistant present in our factory. Initially, we weren't really worried about this, because it was unthinkable that this situation would take on such a large scale (the one we know today). This concern began to be felt in the month of February, as we learned of the various reports from the media, as well as a constant increase in Covid cases in Europe and around the world.

It was from the end of February that we received the information of the total closure of the borders of North Korea, without additional information, or even a forecast of reopening. What you need to know is that a (major) part of the hair transplant is done in North Korea. It is extremely rare to perform the implantation of hair supplements outside of Korea, as the manufacturing cost is much higher and the work may be less detailed.

As of today, North Korea's borders are still closed and we do not yet know a specific date for reopening.

Q: What decisions were made when the border closure announcement was made?

A: Within BYSIX, I am not the only decision maker. I systematically consult Nicolas, my partner, as well as part of our team from customer service, shipping, and our assistant present at the factory, in order to be as objective as possible according to what is achievable. It was therefore from the month of March that we took the decision to completely relocate the production of hair supplements. This decision required a great deal of thought, because in order to relocate production without altering quality, it is necessary to recruit new technicians and train them for several weeks.

We are lucky at BYSIX not to simply call on a supplier, but to have full control over manufacturing and the general process. This is what allowed us to react quite quickly. To understand more easily, it is important to say that before the global pandemic, we had 50 technicians who worked solely for the creation of our brand's stock. Knowing that a technician makes about 4 hair supplements per month, we have been able to build up over all these years a very large stock of several thousand standard parts. This stock was constantly replenished, which allowed us to offer our customers a very large volume of hair prostheses. We didn't really have any limits at this level.

With this pandemic, as well as the closing of North Korea's trade borders, we had to sell for nearly 3 months the few thousand hair supplements we had in stock, then in the meantime, train new technicians. . It was from the month of May that the new productions were able to start, but with a slower speed and a much higher manufacturing cost.

Q: Let's talk about the manufacturing cost. What about today ?

A: We had to increase our prices by around 40 euros from August because it was impossible for us to cover all of this increase. This would have created sales at a loss, and I think our customers have understood that the purpose of this temporary increase is to allow BYSIX continuity in terms of quality and services. This increase will be present until the end of the pandemic, or rather until the reopening of North Korea's trade borders.

We have nevertheless taken the decision to allow our private and professional users to keep the advantages linked to the loyalty programs so that this increase is lighter.

Q: Can we give an update on current productions and manufacturing times?

A: Currently we are producing like never before. We had to make up for the delay in made-to-measure manufacturing since January, because most made-to-measure garments were blocked in North Korea. New productions had to be set up at our expense to be able to satisfy our users.

We are aware internally that the delay for certain custom-made products was very long, but unfortunately we had no other possibility. To date, our teams are catching up on this delay for confections that have been strongly impacted by these blockages.

Today, we have resumed a very constant pace in terms of manufacturing. We now have more than 200 technicians assigned solely to the production of stocks for our brand. This is also why we have set up a "priority" list, because this allows all our customers, professionals and individuals, to make pre-orders and benefit from the hair supplements of these productions.

New made-to-measure confections are also no longer delayed, but we allow ourselves a period of 10 to 12 weeks to anticipate the slightest delay.

Q: What lesson can you learn from this pandemic?

A: This is a very interesting question.

Let's say, we can't really learn from this period, because there is no real responsibility. I simply tell myself that we have a great chance of being able to manage our teams very easily, but above all I realize that my employees in customer service, as well as those in the shipping department, or even within management, are the main players. the stability of BYSIX. Of course, we make the important decisions, however I was able to observe a real involvement on the part of my colleagues, and above all a great patience in customer service with the numerous complaints and the very heavy workload.

It is important to point out that, as for every company in Belgium, France, or in most countries affected by the pandemic, we had to completely review our methods, set up teleworking for customer service, reorganize the teams, recruit... I am extremely grateful for the involvement and understanding of our teams in the face of this delicate period.

Q: Wouldn't it be reasonable not to appeal to North Korea in the future?

A: We have been asking ourselves this same question since the beginning of the pandemic. But unfortunately I can't answer it today.

This situation does indeed make you think, because we are fervent defenders of Made in Europe and ecology, so you can imagine that our impact is not ideal and we have been aware of this for years, especially since the beginning. of this pandemic.

Relocating production to Europe would have a strong impact on our prices. Currently a hair supplement is sold for €225 at BYSIX, however if we were to produce in Europe, this price would be multiplied by 3, 4, or even more. It is therefore unthinkable for us to offer this price to our users, but we are thinking more and more about alternatives.

The most complex is at the level of making a hair supplement. The manufacture can only be done by hand in order to reproduce the natural injection and it takes several weeks for a hair supplement to be completed. It is therefore very easy to understand the cost that this could require if the manufacture was done in France or in Belgium...

But this is not a closed answer. We are studying several possibilities in this regard.

Q: How do you envision the next few months at BYSIX?

A: I do not hide the fact that 2020 is a year full of work and questioning. But it is clear that the situation is radically improving today, and it seems fair to say that in a few months we will again be able to offer unlimited stock and more reasonable lead times for confections.

We know that some customers have been strongly affected by the shortages at BYSIX, but also with almost all of the hair supplement brands. The whole supplement industry has encountered the same difficulties as BYSIX, with some exceptions for local institutes that do not really achieve volume sales.

Today we are very grateful for the understanding of most of our users.

I hope these few words from the founder of BYSIX have given you a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic for the hair supplement industry.

If you have any questions, our team will be happy to advise you.

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