LEWITT proudly announces that, effective August 2015, it will be exclusively distributed by Electric Factory - ELFA in Australia.
In our quest for improved distribution, we're obviously happy when we can work with a bigger, better distributor in a territory - and our success in getting quality, high-profile partners like ELFA behind the LEWITT brand testifies to the business proposition it represents. So in this spirit, we're pleased to announce that ELFA has become our exclusive distributor for Australia effective August 2015.
Mike van der Logt, LEWITT Head of Sales, had met Nick Mitchell a while back and begun discussing with him the possibility of teaming up. So at the most recent Frankfurt Messe exhibition, we arranged a meeting where Nick, Matthew and Ray were present. We showed them all the LEWITT models in detail, and after a few months' negotiation, we finalized the distribution agreement.
For more details on ELFA and the reasons why, see the interview below.
[LEWITT] How did you wind up in the distribution business?
[ELFA] Electric Factory was started in 1972 by Maltese immigrant Sperry Gruppetta. He started selling records after gigs at a local hotel, one of the first hotels in Melbourne to offer entertainment 7 nights a week. It wasn't long before Sperry started manufacturing "ELFA Amplifiers" for guitarists and bass players. And within a few years, Electric Factory was incorporated and began sourcing musical equipment to distribute into Australia.
[LEWITT] Was the decision fueled by your passion for music, or was it business-driven?
[ELFA] Electric Factory is mostly staffed by people with a keen interest in music. Managing Director Ray Kimber, spent most of the 1980's touring in rock bands. All members of the sales staff have had professional or semi-professional careers performing or recording music. And Nick Mitchell, our marketing manager, still works as a live sound and recording audio engineer and producer.
[LEWITT] When did you start, and have the business and the market changed since then?
[ELFA] The music products business has changed dramatically over the 40+ years Electric Factory has been in business. The demise of record companies, brought about by the proliferation of music piracy, has seen the industry shift into a different gear. In addition, online games and computer games in general have presented children with an option for "immediate gratification" than learning an instrument just can't offer. And this is a big challenge for the music industry as a whole.
[LEWITT] How did you hear about LEWITT, and what was it about what you heard that made you go for LEWITT?
[ELFA] LEWITT was brought to our attention by Mike van der Logt, who was introduced to us socially at the Winter NAMM show a couple of years ago. At that stage, we hadn't heard of LEWITT before. What impressed us about LEWITT was the quality of the product and the fact that, unlike all the other major microphone brands, it was a company run by a just few people—which made for an actual business relationship. The opportunity to grow the brand together with the manufacturer was a real hot button for us.
[LEWITT] When choosing brands, what kind of rationale goes into the choices you make, since there are clearly more manufacturers and brands than there are customers to buy from them?
[ELFA] Electric Factory is only interested in "Tier A" and "B" brands. Our point of difference is that we distribute only quality products or products with strong brand currency. LEWITT certainly has the quality down, and we can see the potential for the brand. So LEWITT's marketing, industrial design and quality inspired us to partner with them to take on the Australian market.
[LEWITT] What's your take on the online e-tailers, and can you put this in perspective with brick and mortar? Are they a threat or an opportunity? And how does modern distribution figure into today's landscape, which is obviously changing?
[ELFA] Online retailers are part of the present and future. But what manufacturers need to realize is that if US or European e-tailers are allowed to sell into smaller overseas markets like Australia, the brand won't thrive like it should. US retailers can usually operate on a far smaller cost footprint than an Australian retailer. So if US retailers are allowed by a manufacturer to sell into Australia, it makes it very difficult to inspire brand loyalty on the part of local retail channels. Especially if the Americans can sell at a price that makes local retailers look too expensive.