And it's for the best! After a short spell with Pentair Pool Europe, Stéphane Ledru is back as sales manager for Europe at this company which has shown the true sense of innovation in the world of swimming pools, with truly amazing equipment, at an affordable cost.
Interview with Stéphane Ledru
Are you back just at the right time?
S.L: "It is definitely a particularly good time. While I was away, which was only for two years, Poolstar's turnover increased from 32 to over 80 million euros, while its workforce grew from about fifty people to more than one hundred. Poolstar also changed category, moving from a small company in Aix-en-Provence to a well-known player on the market. We now work with the biggest names in swimming pools, but not only them (eg: DECATHLON group). The goal is therefore to keep this momentum going by breaking the 100 million euros mark, by developing in France but, above all, our exports. While 70% of sales are now made in France, leaving only 30% for abroad (essentially in Europe), our goal is to make these figures the same. We have already had an excellent model for 4 years with our facilities in Spain, which have their own sales office and after-sales service. We now wish to replicate or adapt this strategy by creating subsidiaries or offices (depending on the market structure) to grow our business substantially in Europe across the main countries. Germany is currently our top priority for development".
Reinstating the duties of sales manager (a role which incidentally remained open during my absence) is going to allow me to achieve these goals
Poolstar is now a wide-ranging company in the field of swimming pools... but in other areas too.
S.L: "Actually, 1/3 of turnover is generated by the swimming pool sector, 1/3 by the wellness sector and 1/3 by boardsports. This balance is strategic, just like our distribution policy which allocates different ranges, developed according to the distribution channels. We are now able to develop specific own brand products, at the same time featuring exclusive characteristics, design and, even for certain ones, technologies. Our clients really appreciate our flexibility, being able to stand out on the market and develop their business. Premium for professionals, entry-level or mid-range for the Internet and large-scale distribution. As they know that having a presence in specialist superstores, supermarkets and home improvement superstores allows Poolstar brands to raise their profile and visibility. It is therefore not about avoiding all the distribution channels, but only giving them appropriate equipment and the best product innovations".
However, it is a complicated time to guarantee all these areas for development...
S.L: "Of course, but the market is really booming and we are staying true to our policy of making equipment affordable. This is why we have chosen not to pass on the price increase in 2022 so we can stay very competitive with the best value for money. We have prepared and optimised our upstream supply chain".