Gina Arcari, managing director of Dita Eyewear Europe, the global distribution centre for eyewear company Dita, discusses international growth from a Dublin base.
What is the background to Dita Eyewear Europe being set up?
Dita was founded in Los Angeles the US in 1995 by two childhood friends, Jeffrey Solorio and John Juniper, who saw a niche in the market to design, manufacture and distribute luxurious fashion eyewear for both men and women.
Since then the company has grown due to its unique designs, use of some the best materials available and Japanese-based manufacturing.
It was restructured in 2011, setting up its global distribution centre here in Dublin, which is now the global logistics centre for the Dita Group worldwide.
There are now individual logistics centres in Dublin, Yokohama in Japan and Costa Mesa in Los Angelos.
How has the business grown in terms of staff?
We started with one employee in the office on Harcourt Street building up to 17. Turnover has multiplied tenfold over the past three years and total staff numbers now stand at 80 globally in addition to a worldwide sales rep and distributor network.
How have you gone about entering and maintaining markets?
Networking has become a huge part of our new emerging world and an area which I have always shied away from in the past, but no more. I have had to personally attack this head on.
Through networking and contacts we have managed to establish key independent sales reps and distributors strategically placed around the world to maximise our sales in each region.
In addition to this it is important to maximise our exposure through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
It is important as part of the fashion industry to get as much exposure in the public eye as possible. We manage to increase this with the use of an in-house public relations (PR) team managed from each centre sensitive to each region’s varying anomalies, culture and taste differences along with a strong partnership with key PR companies in key areas.
What challenges have you faced with the international side of the business?
As our office in Dublin is almost totally dependent on international business it is imperative we have a strong operation on the ground supporting our field operations and distributors to maintain the growth momentum we have experienced over the past three years.
One of the biggest challenges we have faced are the issues surrounding the exporting/customs area. Customs rules and regulations are ever changing. In addition to this as fuel increases continue so do our costs exporting goods all around the globe.
As a high-end fashion distributor it is a continual challenge offering our customers the best possible and cost effective service.
What opportunities for growth do you foresee?
Russia and Asia offer huge growth opportunities. Improved communications between our governments and these countries’ willingness to breakdown borders will only aid sales growth in these new growing economies. The Dublin centre currently sells into all of Dita’s markets apart from the US.
What role has DHL played in your international growth strategy?
DHL has played a vital role in helping Dita to grow especially into the European, Canadian and Australian markets.
Most people when they order a pair of glasses want them ‘yesterday’. In order to facilitate this DHL has been able to meet our demands with 24-hour service door to door.
For example, we had one of our largest French customers place an order with our team in Dublin at 3.30pm one afternoon and by 10.30am the following day the customer had his full order on his desk. He phoned us querying his order as he could not understand how he could possibly have received it so quickly.
DHL is also one of the strongest logistics providers in terms of getting goods into more difficult countries such as Turkey and Andorra.