Interview with Micha S. Siebenhandl

Micha S. Siebenhandl
Micha S. Siebenhandl
Huber Holding
Huber Holding

In Japan, the most mature market in Asia, consumers are willing to spend money for good lingerie...
Micha S. Siebenhandl, CEO of Huber Holding speaks about Asian lingerie markets during his conversation with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi. Synopsis: Huber Holding is an Austrian lingerie manufacturer based in Gotzis in Vorarlberg. The company started in 1908. What started as a small family business has turned into a multinational bodywear group across the years and has become a fixture in the brand landscape of our world with a product needed by everybody but with greatly differing expectations. Its brand's are Skinny Bodywear, Hanro International and Huber bodywear. Micha S. Siebenhandl is the CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board at Huber Holding AG since April 2014. Prior to this, from October 2012 to March 2014, he was the Vice President & General Manager Eyewear at Rodenstock in Munich, Germany. He started his career as a Sales & Marketing Director at Marchon GmbH in June 1997. Excerpts:

How has HUBER HOLDING grown over the last two years? What were the company’s most significant achievements during this period?

The company’s achievements are:
  • Market analyses and also dealing with the past and the resulting changes in the collections
  • Flexibility in handling customers’ wishes (e.g. 70 per cent of merchandise is adapted for customers before it leaves the factory)
  • Restructuring of processes from a pure wholesaler to processes close to the POS with IT support
  • Reorganisation of finished goods warehouse with high IT integration in order to improve the service level (adjustments)
  • Streamlining of the supplier structure in Asia
  • Encouraging the fully integrated manufacturing of our goods in Europe (from the thread to the finished piece of underwear)
  • USA subsidiary success

What are the major challenges faced by leading lingerie retailers across the globe?

So far the major challenges are:
  • High level of quality.
  • Working in partnership with suppliers and customers.
  • Developing specific sector expertise in order to provide advice as a wholesaler for vertically structured customers.
  • Promoting our own vertical integration and acting as one of the driving forces in eCommerce on the increasingly transparent market.

How is marketing for lingerie different from that of other segments?

Marketing for lingerie has to be sensitive to the fact that lingerie is a very intimate and delicate product; it is not something people generally talk about and is also not visible in public. This has consequences for the selection of images and models, and also for public relations and outdoor campaigns.

Please tell us about the ups and downs in the costs of raw materials faced by lingerie manufacturers over the last two years.

In our segment (mainly medium-grade cotton), the procurement prices of natural fibres have steadily gone down over the past few years after practically exploding in 2010 and 2011 as a result of speculation and targeted shortages. Over the past few months, however, we have noticed an increase in the price of fine and extra-fine threads (Supima, Giza, etc.). The synthetic fibre segment has remained relatively stable for our product groups.
Published on: 17/07/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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