We spoke to Tony Hutchinson, Managing Director of Vitavia Garden Products Ltd, to find out how he feels about celebrating Vitavia’s 10th Anniversary in 2018.
- This year we celebrate Vitavia’s 10th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
It’s quite a milestone and I’m very happy that over the last 10 years Vitavia has become a major supplier to both the UK and European greenhouse markets. Sons Robbie & John and daughter Andrea have all joined Gay & I in the family business and I feel we are in good shape to take on the future challenges of the changing trading environment.
- What made you start Vitavia? Where did you draw inspiration in order to start and build this business?
When the offer came to start the UK company and join our European partners in the Vitavia business, it was an opportunity not to be missed. It was an exciting time, starting a business and working for ourselves, but we drew confidence from OPJ in Denmark and EPH in Germany who were already well established in their own markets and also that we had a dedicated supplier in the part owned factory in Qingdao, China.
- What were your visions in 2008 and how have you met them or even surpassed them?
I had already worked in the greenhouse industry for a number of years, mostly in export markets, so the UK was a new area for me. We have worked hard over the last ten years to become a significant supplier to both the UK and other European markets.
- In what different ways have you grown Vitavia over the past 10 years?
The trading environment has changed dramatically over the last ten years, with the emergence of the internet and web retailing. Over 90% of our business now involves home deliveries and our logistics team has had to adapt accordingly. Our marketing strategies have also had to adapt to the arrival of Google and google ads, facebook & twitter.
- What do you see as the biggest accomplishments since your start in 2008?
I guess just making it to our 10th Anniversary is commendable these days and having Robbie, John & Andrea join Gay & I in this growing business.
- What is your favourite part about your job? What excites you most?
We are part of a truly international business and can arguably claim to be the market leader in Europe. It is very satisfying to work with European and Chinese colleagues in developing new products and strategies under the global Vitavia brand.
- What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received?
When working for yourself in your own SME, attention to every facet and every detail of the business is vital. No job is too small and never be afraid “to get your hands dirty.”
- Where do you expect to go in the next 10 years? In what ways do you expect to grow?
We have already had to make significant changes to our business model with the arrival of the internet & web retailing. With Brexit looming the future is uncertain, but I feel the company is well placed to manage the challenges we will undoubtedly face. With the support of and cooperation with our partners, I can only see further growth both in the UK and Europe.