New strategy for family business
Company name: Estoli
Company size: Small
Company web site: http://www.estoli.com
Date of Foundation: 1980
Nr. of Employees: <50
Facing the possible disappearance of their Brand and increasingCompetition, Estoli, a family business, chose a strategy of diversification into New Products and discovered the indispensability of distinction inDesign. The two initial Design projects, working with professional designers, resulted in successful New collections, which avoided competing on price. One project area incorporated “Design for all” and the other created multi-space and multi-function modular systems which lead them also to develop Products outside of their traditional Market. ThisNew strategy was carried through to the introduction of a New corporateIdentity in order to reflect the fresh stage that the business had embarked on. The company’s Growth strategy will continue to be based o
From the product to the consumer
Estoli is a family business founded in 1980 when its main concern was the manufacture of toilet seats. In 2004, the company decided to make a strategic move toward diversification into new product lines. In so doing, it discovered the indispensability of distinction in design.
Until then, its main clients were manufacturers of sanitary porcelain for whom they manufactured under their own brand, and distributors of bath accessories to whom they sold products with the Estoli brand.
Reflecting internally, on the future led them to see their prospects as less than encouraging. They realised that their product – the seats – formed a part of a whole, which is the toilet. Therefore, there existed a real danger that sales would take place more and more through the manufacturers of sanitary porcelain. This fact could mean the disappearance of the Estoli brand in the bathroom accessories distribution channel.
They also identified a competitive advantage of great value: their brand had high name recognition in the bathroom sector. Alongside the threat of the possible disappearance of the Estoli brand, they could foresee that problems would be created by the arrival of Chinese and Eastern European competitors. This fact absolutely precluded strategies of competition on price. “All of this led us to base our growth strategy on design innovation,” said Imma Estapé, general manager of the company.
During 2004, they began two projects which, in principle, were related to bathrooms. With the cooperation of designer Mario Ruiz, they developed the Solid collection: a series of accessories for the bath that are aimed at people with mobility problems and therefore follow the criteria of Design for All. * Until that point, manufacturers of this type of product were not concerned with aesthetics and ignored the surroundings in which the products were located: the bathrooms of private homes with constantly improving interior design.
The other active project is called Modular Modules, which is being developed with Roviras&Torrente and is based on a bathroom stool that doubles as a cabinet. The success of the collection has led them to go beyond the bathroom walls and create a multi-space and multi-function modular system that has allowed them to focus on other sales channels.
The two projects were taken on in parallel, and it was the first time the company had cooperated with external designers. “That double effort demonstrated our determination to grow through innovative products where design plays a fundamental role”.
A new identity to reflect the investment in design innovation
The effort spent on the product had to have an equivalent in the company’s graphic communications, starting with its visual corporate identity. “While developing the new product lines, we realised it was necessary to accompany this change with a redesign of our visual corporate identity in order for it to match with the new stage we were beginning. So, we hired a graphic designer to give form to the new reality.”
The new image was implemented jointly with the presentation of the new product lines at bathroom trade fairs in 2005.
The development of the new lines has required considerable effort for the company’s project management and in terms of economic aspects. “We launched the different products on the market, and now we are beginning to see the fruits of the effort exerted”, said Imma Estapé.
The new direction begun by the company has gone beyond what was originally imagined. “We are sure our growth strategy will continue to be based on the introduction of innovative product lines developed by external designers for the home and for other spaces as well”, said Imma Estapé.
· Estoli currently has a production plant in Barcelona with a surface area of 5,000 m2.
· It has a staff of 54 workers.
· 50% of its turnover (over 8 million euros) comes from its exports.
Design has brought them recognition, renewal, a vision of the future and plenty of excitement.