Red Elephant Imports, the new South African distributor of Karakal and Ashaway racket sports brands, will need no introduction to their products. It is headed up by Justin Schunke (above), who was the brand’s account manager at Brand ID, who recently announced that it is dissolving its participation in the South African sporting goods market after it took over several brands from Super-Brands in 2013.

Schunke has formed a partnership with businessman Wayne Hinde to form the Johannesburg-based Red Elephant distributorship, which will start distributing Karakal and Ashaway stock held by Brand ID from September 1.

Wayne Hinde. Image supplied.

“It is extremely important that we are focused and driven to offer service levels that retailers expect,” Schunke comments about the opportunity to represent the UK based Karakal and US based Ashaway brands in Sub Saharan Africa. “Having been in the industry myself, representing multiple brands under the umbrella of Super-Brands and Brand ID for more than ten years, I promise Red Elephant Imports is ready to deliver!”

“Since arriving in the UK to head up Karakal the realisation of how strong Karakal is worldwide has been an eye-opener,” says Steve Gallienne, who was head of the Dunslaz Division that supplied the brands at Super-Brands as well as Brand ID, before being appointed global head of Karakal.

“I believe the South African squash, racketball and even recreational tennis players have been missing out on many of Karakal’s high performance and world-class products, which are perhaps less well known than its famous Karakal grips (which were available in South Africa).”

New stock is on route, including new ranges, “so all retailers should be confident that they will be in good hands,” adds Gallienne.

“Ashaway appreciates the support the South African market has afforded the brand over the years and looks forward to getting some continuity back in the market with a consistent, reliable supply to the racket sports enthusiasts and retailers, who love our brand and our strings’ performance characteristics,” says Ashaway founder Steve Crandall.

“Worldwide Ashaway is performing exceptionally well, and we do not want the South African market missing out on any of the action — both stringers and players alike.”

Crandall and Gallienne agree that a focused new distributor offering both the brands under one roof is a good fit for retailers looking to buy their products and be serviced from one source, “like in the good old Dunslaz days.”

World Squash Day support

In the UK, Karakal is a partner of England Squash in one of the biggest development initiatives to promote World Squash Day (WSD) on October 12 this year. Their hope is that all squash clubs across the world will attract a million new squash players over the next decade through this WSD initiative.

Karakal is offering equipment bags, including 18 rackets, plus a grant of £250, to the first 100 clubs to sign up and open their doors and hold a free taster session called The Big Hit on WSD.

The initiative will be supported by social media campaigns and a new WSD website.