Anton Tomchev, VIVA: It takes a lot of effort and financial resources to build a good trade mark

LightingNewsSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2014

Anton Tomchev, Manager of VIVA

Mr. Tomchev, would you please describe briefly the activities of VIVA?
VIVA EOOD is a 100% Bulgarian manufacturer of lighting fixtures. The company’s products are marketed under the brand VIVALUX. Over the last few years, the product portfolio of the brand has been developing and expanding taking into consideration the trends in quickly developing new technologies in the lighting sector.

The Bulgarian market is, indeed, affected by the world and European trends in this sector. However small our market may be, the greatest and best known brands that set the direction of development of lighting products are present. Like in any other country, we, the smaller Bulgarian companies trying and building our own brands, do our best to become and remain competitive in terms of diversity, quality and price levels of our product portfolio.

A good brand requires a lot of efforts, including significant financial resources for research and development, and marketing. On the other hand, the local market is mostly oriented towards low price products, thus significantly restricting the possibilities for development of the brand.

Is there equilibrium between trade in imported lighting fixtures and local manufacturing and offering of solutions?
I think that we have enough Bulgarian companies that are in no way inferior to foreign manufacturers in terms of structure and technology. Given the small size of the local market, Bulgarian manufacturers are extremely flexible and offer lighting fittings of highly competitive quality and technical parameters. They could be even more successful on a larger market.

How does the extreme rate of development of technologies in the area of LED lighting affect the market and should companies make radical changes to their commercial policies?
LED lighting is probably the fastest growing technology over the last few years. New LED products are launched on the market within very short term. They come too quickly to replace the existing commercial products. In other words, the life cycle (market launch, market growth, maturity, and decline) of products is too short.

This applies to the highest extent to the light sources market. Trade companies like ours, which are oriented towards the consumer market, need to be extremely flexible in terms of logistics and marketing in order to always maintain the correct stock at competitive price levels.

According to you, is the Bulgarian lighting systems market competitive to the world trends of the last years?
I think that manufacturers and distributors are prepared to react to the market demand in terms of technology. It’s rather the lack of sufficient resources in Bulgaria that prevents the implementation of more energy-efficient projects in the lighting sector. There is no doubt that the competency and initiative on the part of private businesses for implementation of such solutions in the building of new and the reconstruction of existing investment projects is at a very high level.

On the long run, what should be done to get over the compromises on quality and energy efficiency of products that are still quite common?
To make it brief and clear: improve the control on every new product before it is launched on the market; strict application of the EU directives concerning lighting products. Other EU Member States have achieved significant success.