José Garcia Garcia: Vertilux, Ltd. began operations in Miami, FL, in 1983 with the objective of providing U.S. distribution of textile products manufactured by our sister corporation, Vertisol International in Barcelona, Spain.
The company headquarters is located in Miami, which includes a 70,000-square-foot warehouse and more than 70 employees. We also have distribution centers in Texas, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico, Brazil and Australia. The European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian markets are served by Vertisol International in Barcelona.
Company sales have steadily grown during these past 14 years and from $2.5 million in 1994 to $42 million in 1998. These numbers do not include our distribution centers in other locations, which also have maintained constant growth over the years.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Garcia Garcia: In 1983 our product line was limited to a fabric collection for vertical blinds. Due to client demand, we began increasing our variety of window coverings products, and today we offer what may be the most complete line in the industry. It includes not only the materials needed to manufacture vertical blinds but also Venetian blinds, horizontal wood blinds, roller shades, Roman shades, pleated shades and cellular shades.
Vertilux also offers our own exclusive mill-direct fabric lines for vertical, pleated, Roman and roller shades, as well as private label fabrics for specific customers and an exclusive line of PVC slats for vertical and horizontal blinds as well.
Our star product, without a doubt, is our fabric for vertical blinds, which represents 25 percent of the market. This success is due to our most unique collection of fabrics in the industry.
D&WC: Do you offer materials to support your products?
Garcia Garcia: We offer our customers a variety of collateral materials to support our products. We always tell them, "If you don't show it, you won't sell it." So we provide catalogs, brochures, detailed technical sheets, marketing and advertising assistance, technical support and point-of-sale displays for their offices or showrooms.
D&WC: Is your business computerized?
Garcia Garcia: Since its beginnings, Vertilux has been committed to giving our employees every tool they need to make their jobs easier. We have been known as an industry leader in the use of computer technology for accounting, inventory and other aspects of our operations.
Vertilux has a computer communications department under the leadership of Jesús Blanco, who oversees our Internet Web pages and processes the many requests we receive daily via e-mail. Our presence on the Internet gives clients easy access to us and keeps them informed of new products and developments. We have a T1 server to maximize the efficiency of our Web site and e-mail system.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country and the world do you service?
Garcia Garcia: Our clients are blind fabricators all around the nation, although the bulk of our business is concentrated in Florida, Texas, New York, Michigan, Illinois and California. In addition to covering the United States, we serve more than 70 international markets through our numerous distribution centers.
Our textile buyers include large and small companies that desire an exclusive product line with the great variety we can provide; our model capacity truly has no limits.
D&WC: Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
Garcia Garcia: Our objectives for the next five years are very clear. Our priority is to surpass the $100 million mark in U.S. sales. We will continue creating new product innovations to meet the demands of our window covering fabricators. We are implementing new marketing strategies and already see positive results. We are committed to achieving all our goals.
It is important to note that our new marketing strategies include hiring sales representatives in various regions of the nation to offer faster and more personalized service to our clients.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Garcia Garcia: There is a great difference in positioning between the biggest companies in the industry, of which there are only a few, and a large number of medium and small size companies. We see ourselves in the middle of this spectrum, fulfilling the needs that have emerged in recent years. We are a great alternative for fabricators that need a reliable supplier but want to maintain their independence without being tied to a specific brand.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Garcia Garcia: Our success is a result of maintaining a firm and consistent policy in terms of quality, service, innovation and adaptability to different territories and clients. Vertilux is a very flexible company, always able to offer clients what they need when they need it. For example, our large inventory gives our clients the luxury of being able to venture into sales of new or different products with only a minimum, low-risk investment. We are able to keep the inventory our customers might need and ship the product to them in 24 hours.
D&WC: What advice would you give to other window coverings professionals?
Garcia Garcia: We advise fabricators to take more control of their businesses. Successful fabricators offer consistent quality without cutting prices or selling inferior products. Establish your market and differentiate yourselves from your competitors. You may feel the need to compete on price or to carry only the products carried by your competition, but neither of these practices will make your business more profitable. You must carry a wide assortment of products to meet customer demand, then set your prices and back them up with service and quality.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Garcia Garcia: Some of our direct competitors use price strategies constantly. This only brings short-term benefits to their customers. Vertilux prefers to offer programs that will give our customers positive mid- and long-term results. The clients who have trusted us are now enjoying growth and success.
In regard to the competition with the industry's leaders, the biggest difference is our flexibility to implement new programs or make adjustments to existing ones.
D&WC: Do you offer any products other than window coverings?
Garcia Garcia: Vertilux also offers a complete line of PVC folding doors and aluminum ceiling systems. Bandalux, our sister company in Barcelona, Spain, offers a wide range of ready-to-install window covering products made to the highest European standards of quality, including Roman and roller shades.
These products have been very successful because they are vastly superior to competing products, which are made in Asia, in terms of quality, packaging, finishing and, especially, reliable service.