Premium Beauty News - How did you adapt your production tools to support your increased service strategy?
Luca Bistoletti - We chose to strengthen first our European production tools and the control with our Asian suppliers. We have a minimum of three partner suppliers for each type of product to ensure optimum production and quality.
At Bechhofen, the headquarters of Geka in Europe, we have a storage capacity of 5,000 pallets which therefore enables us to supply our European customers in days. For example, we have developed with one of our retailer customers a replenishment activity. We handle the management of their stock of accessories and we are capable of restocking any product and to deliver it directly in stores. This is what sets us apart from our competitors. We are integrated in the organization of our clients and offer value-added services.
This year we have increased particularly our investments at Geka Asia Pacific, with our offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is primarily a commercial entity, but we want to be as close as possible to our suppliers based in China, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan, and manage the production related risks to limit flaws and ensure that our products have the highest quality.
Premium Beauty News - Have you already identified the first results of this strategy?
Luca Bistoletti - We have doubled in size in just eight years, and our sales in 2014 are in excess of 20 million euros. Our development is partly due to organic growth but also to winning over new customers.
Premium Beauty News - What types of products do you offer and for which markets?
Luca Bistoletti - Our offer consists of make-up accessories (brushes, applicators, sponges, false eyelashes, etc.), bags (kits, brush holders, etc.), haircare products (brushes, accessories, etc.), and products for well-being, body and face care. We also offer accessories for manicure and pedicure, technical and fine brushes (accessories for hairdressers). Everything is produced and packaged "ready-to-be-sold" at the POS.
We operate both on mass markets and prestige markets, through direct sales or as a custom manufacturer, with all the major beauty players.
Premium Beauty News - What is your main advantage on the market?
Luca Bistoletti - Our know-how is unique and prestigious. Beyond our products in Asia, we own a historical production site based in Bechhofen, for the manufacturing of shaving brushes, among others.
With the revival of beards and moustaches of all kinds and the 1920s/1930s coming back into fashion, our expertise is very much appreciated. We can produce a wide range of brushes depending on the desired level of personalization and the brand’s prestige.
Our craftsmen come from schools located within Bechhofen where the trade of "master brush maker" is taught.
Premium Beauty News - Finally, can you tell us more about your strategy in 2015?
Luca Bistoletti - We want to focus on marketing and innovation to increase our added value. We already have a good system in place, a good reputation on the market. We want to introduce a little more creativity, and in particular promote our local production. The "made in Germany" is an undeniable asset on the market, and we are looking at the fashion industry for possible opportunities.
Furthermore, Asia is becoming for us a destination market. The market is growing and local brands are strengthening. It will become for us not just a sourcing hub, but potentially a growing marketplace and we are working on several interesting projects that will allow us to tap into this market. More to come on this in the near future.
In conclusion, our expertise and knowledge of the market are undoubtedly undeniable assets to meet the expectations and requirements of the global beauty market.