Tom Benincasa, director of sales and marketing: Verosol is the originator of pleated shades having introduced this category in 1975. Pleated shades helped catapult Verosol's worldwide recognition for quality and innovation. Recently the management team, consisting of Sam Crossman, Ralph Jelic and myself, executed a management buyout of Verosol USA. (D&WC, July 1997)
Verosol has approximately 90 employees and operates out of a 100,000-square-foot facility located in Pittsburgh, PA.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Benincasa: Pleated shades were Verosol's first product introduction. Today pleated shades continue to be a major offering along with Crescendo Roman shades and Seylon sun shades.
In January 1998 four additional products will be added to our collection: cellular shades, two-inch composite wood blinds, a unique mini-blind collection and a sheer privacy shade.
D&WC: Do you offer any products other than window coverings?
Benincasa: No. Verosol's dedication is totally focused on the window coverings industry.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Benincasa: Verosol's organizational structure, which is void of multi-levels of bureaucracy, allows us to react to our customer needs in a timely and effective fashion.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Benincasa: Verosol traditionally markets products through wholesale fabricators and distributors who sell to window covering retailers and designers. Verosol also sells and services the OEM industry.
D&WC: Do you educate your customers?
Benincasa: Training is a vital ingredient for Verosol's success. In order for a customer to evaluate a product and company, they have to be made aware of the value they are buying and/or selling. Training is the only ingredient that always precedes the level of success. It is important to Verosol to participate in as many training opportunities as possible.
D&WC: How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Benincasa: We have experienced pleated shades when they were the fastest growing segment of the window coverings industry and made up 90 percent of Verosol's sales. Today, with the addition of Verosol's new product introductions and the popularity of alternate window covering products, pleated shades make up a smaller part of the industry's product mix but continue to be a strong contributor to Verosol's overall growth.
D&WC: What trends and cycles do you see occurring in the industry? How is your business addressing them?
Benincasa: The industry trend we have focused on is the thirst we all share for new product development and innovation. Only a few times in the last two decades has a truly unique product emerged. I am dedicated to directing resources in product development that will result in a new product having a similar impact that pleated shades had for Verosol.
D&WC: Where do you see yourself and your company five years from now? Are there additional areas within the industry that you would like to get involved in?
Benincasa: Our goal during the next five years is to build on our commitment to quality and service and to accelerate Verosol's industry contribution to the development of new product innovations.
D&WC: What are your strengths in the marketplace?
Benincasa: Verosol's strength in the marketplace has been and will continue to be our commitment to excellence. The Verosol name has worldwide recognition and our products are synonymous with high quality.
Verosol has found its niche through its ability to maintain a high quality company profile and differentiate its product offerings by using the most talented group of product design engineers in the industry. D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success? Benincasa: Our growth and success is directly related to our commitment to expand Verosol's current products and to aggressively develop new products.
D&WC: What advice would you give to other window coverings professionals?
Benincasa: We wouldn't want to give advice to other window covering professionals, but would like to share our observations in regard to the industry's success.
Each management team must stay focused on growing the profitability of its company. This allows for re-investment and expansion, which is necessary to stabilize our industry. Too many times we have heard the battle cry "Bigger is better," and high sales growth becomes a company's mission without the proper attention to profits. Sales growth is not necessarily synonymous with higher profits. Higher company profits will bring long-term industry stability. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a big sale that isn't financially justifiable.
Set goals connected with profit growth, then direct your sales to meet those goals. If profit grows and sales remain the same, it should be considered a successful year.
215 Beecham Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Manufacturer of pleated shades, Crescendo Roman shades, Seylon sun shades, cellular shades, two-inch composite wood blinds and mini-blinds.