Fulling Mill set for major US push in 2016
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Fly manufacturer Fulling Mill is about to enter the US market in time for the 2016 season. The move follows the purchase of its own office and warehouse facilities in New Hampshire, which double the capacity of its previously rented space.
Sales and Marketing Manager John Wolstenholme relocated to the US earlier this year and has spent the past season getting to know the market.
“We have been servicing Orvis in the US for over 30 years,” said Vice Chairman Will Landale. “Now the time is right for us to establish the Fulling Mill brand in its own right in the States. We intend to launch sometime towards the back end of this year.
“The US is where we can effect a real game change in the business that can potentially result in double digit growth, although we have to keep a lid on expectation,” he explained.
“Having John there full time has been essential to making this happen. He has spent a season traveling the US from coast to coast, laying the foundations for the launch.
“Strengthening our infrastructure in the States is also helping us improve even further our service to our biggest customer, Orvis.
“This is not about making a quick buck, but rather a long-term growth strategy. We believe it may take five years to build up a real head of steam.”
After two years of market analysis and preparation, the bold plan has been timed to coincide with Fulling Mill’s launch of a new direct-to-consumer website, revealed in Angling International’s Communiqué Online on October 28th.
The move to make sales available online is designed to meet customer expectations, although the company has assured customers it has no plans to become an online tackle shop. The site will sell at RRP and there will be links to the nearest dealer. It will also incorporate an improved ordering platform for dealers.
Former Fulling Mill owner Barry Unwin sold his business to Atlantic Solway Holdings almost three years ago, a moved that triggered a hectic period of development. Landale has since become Vice Chairman, taking responsibility for markets outside of the US, with Rick Bowles, an Atlantic Solway Director, becoming Managing Director.
A new pricing structure has been agreed and the company has also significantly increased capacity by expanding its Kenyan factory by 40% and opening up a new factory in Sri Lanka.
“Serious growth has been the strategy from the outset, but in order to achieve that we first had to get our internal systems and processes in order and build our capacity,” added Landale.
“Having done that, everything is now geared to pressing the accelerator and growing the business. Now is the right time to expand.”