Interview with Mr Don Fletcher

Face2Face
Mr Don Fletcher
Mr Don Fletcher
CEO
SVP Worldwide
SVP Worldwide

SVP Worldwide represents world’s best known sewing brands-SINGER, HUSQVARNA VIKING and PFAFF, thus making it world’s largest sewing machinery manufacturing company. In 2006, these three established sewing machine lines were brought together under one umbrella to provide the broadest range of high quality household sewing machines to the world. As a global company headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, SVP Worldwide conducts business through its affiliates located in over 190 countries. Mr Don Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, SVP Worldwide, leads its global operation. Prior to this appointment, Mr Fletcher served as Chief Executive Officer, Singer Worldwide. Heading most established brands, which have pioneered sewing technology for more than 150 years, Mr Fletcher directs team of 4,100 employees and three overseas manufacturing locations selling over 10,000 different retail locations. He holds an enviable and a proven track record for enhancing business growth and value creation, amply demonstrated through his 25 years experience at managing global operations for a variety of industries. Before joining the sewing industry, Mr Fletcher spent 15 years in the automotive industry where his last assignment was President at TRICO Products Corporation, a leading worldwide manufacturer of windshield wiper systems. Having dabbled in engineering, technology, sales, and quality areas, Mr Fletcher now proffers added value and expertise to SVP Worldwide. Face2Face team, catches up with Mr Don Fletcher who throws more light on the global sewing machinery, its market potential, and the challenges present.

To begin with, could you provide a glimpse on the major episodes in your company’s history?

All three of our brands, Singer, Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff have been around for about 150 years. The brands have been known and loved by consumers globally for many years. In recent history, 'Kohlberg and company' acquired Singer in 2005, and added the Viking and Pfaff brands in February 2006. Thus, SVP was formed creating the world’s largest sewing machine company.

How has juxtaposing multi-companies synergies helped SVP Group establish itself in the global sewing machinery market?

Through our three brands we are able to meet the needs of all consumers starting with the learners and progressing to the proficient, and ultimately the enthusiasts. We have the widest range of products and sell these products in 190 countries. We have the premier R&D organization in the world that allows us to develop and to deliver to customers and consumers sewing machines that meet their needs and satisfy their creative urges.

On the global level, how do you view the artisan sewing machinery market?

Our primary market is the consumer market place where we have strong consumer loyalty and the leading market share globally. We participate in the artisan market in several countries and have recently taken steps to strengthen our position in this market in key countries.

With a mad rush for prêt-a porter fashions, do you feel consumer sewing machinery market getting sluggish?

Consumer sewing is making a large resurgence through programs such as Project Runway and our long term endorsement deal with Martha Stewart in the United States. Magazines, Newspapers and Television stations are frequently running stories on the popularity of sewing. Consumers are focused on fashion, home décor, quilting and utility sewing all of which are growing and leading to more consumers entering the category and experienced sewers trading up to more advanced machines.

Easy to handle’ and ‘low maintenance’ are the foremost criteria for consumers’ choice today. What is your say?

You are correct! Consumers tell us that they want simple and easy to use sewing machines. In fact this past year, we launched the new Singer Inspiration sewing machines. These machines were designed by the consumers to meet their sewing needs. Our machines feature 'No error threading,' was simply fast and error free. We also have 'one way insertion bobbin' which enables the consumers to only be able to insert the bobbin in the correct direction and eliminate any errors. We have also incorporated simple and easy to use features on our more advanced Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff machines.

Which geo-regions do you foresee faster growth within your sector and why?

The potential for growth and the actual growth is happening around the world. With the consumer resurgence in sewing and our products that allow them to meet their creative urges, we see a positive outlook for many years.

To what extent does used machinery market add to your challenges?

As a manufacturer and marketer of sewing machines our focus is on bringing new users into the category and trading up the experienced sewer to one of our more advanced machines.

Can you delve out more about recent innovations at your company?

New Singer Inspiration line of machines is already mentioned in my earlier comments. I would like to add that I just returned from Dallas Texas where we recently launched the new Pfaff Creative Vision machine - the most advanced consumer sewing machine in the world. Retailers and consumers response was absolutely amazing. This new machine is accompanied by a full line of new accessories and software to support all of the consumer’s sewing needs.

Published on: 08/10/2007

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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