After restructuring its sales team and adding new product categories in the last 12 months, Naturana UK’s sales and marketing director Tom Kavanagh discusses the group’s financial performance and its strengthening relationships with key retail partners.
You recently restructured your business with a new sales team. How’s that going?
The new structure got off the blocks very quickly, with the new account managers making early contact with buyers and, more importantly, with new customers. Tanya Bulloch has already grown her business within her territory and made great progress with some new key accounts. Chelsea Vickers has developed new partnerships with current and new customers and is also tracking up versus last year. Richard Potter has further developed his partnerships and already opened some great new accounts for the business and Stephen Duncan in Ireland has further developed his business, with all four territories tracking up versus the same period last year.
How has the Naturana group performed financially over the last financial year?
For the first half of the year, business is up 11% in most categories versus last year. Our margins are also looking good and the new discount structure that will come into force from January will incentivise our customers to grow their business with us.
What are the key drivers behind this?
A new sales team who have the autonomy to make the right decisions for their accounts and our business. We’re also fully focused on core Naturana, our fashionable Cybele and new Blue Label collections and further growth opportunities with our new swimwear collection, which many retailers have said is one of the best collections that they have seen for 2018.
You recently launched a new brand, Blue Label. What was your inspiration behind this launch?
The business in Germany has done some fantastic work in developing this new concept collection using quality fabrics and designs with some really nice additional extras. The range offers a real opportunity for our retail partners to move up a gear by offering additional Naturana quality in some of the new designs.
How else have you grown the business in the UK?
It’s taken nearly five years to move things much further forward than before and the relocation [to new offices in Sutton Coldfield] did set us back a little last year. However, the most important thing has been the investment and the support that the UK has received from our German head office. We have also made positive changes at senior level and our new CEO Andreas Hoschele, who joined us last March, is beginning to have a real influence on our European business. His support for the UK has really benefited us with our sales drive.
What are your plans for Cybele and Naturana this year?
Cybele is key focus for us, so there is an unbelievable amount of work to do and with the development of much bigger cup sizes and a NOS programme in place for 2018, we believe that we can continue to attract a much younger consumer to this collection. Naturana will also offer new and bigger cups in some of the new styles and we have increased our maternity offering, which has been purposely developed for some of our new retail partners.
Where do you see the group heading in the next 12 months?
I only see us going in one direction and that’s towards a greater drive in sales and improved revenue. Solid partnerships with our retailers are also important to us and we are all working hard at this. My vision is to maintain our core business and to grow sales with our new product concepts. Short-term fixes are not want we want.