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Sonus Faber: the handmade sound
Roma - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - In Latin, Sonus Faber means "the artisan of sound", a way of making high fidelity loudspeakers of the highest possible quality. It was with this idea that Franco Serblin, in 1983, began an entrepreneurial experience that was unique in Italy and in Europe. Today, Sonus Faber, with Cesare Bevilacqua as its president since 1989, in addition to its founder, Franco Serblin, who is now honorary president and chief designer, is a small but solid industrial establishment. In 2003, its earnings amounted to 8 million euros, with 80% coming from the foreign market, especially the United States and Japan, where it is certainly not easy for an Italian firm operating in the consumer electronics sector to gain a reputation and a large part of the market.
The ingredients of this success story are many. First of all, there is the exceptional quality of its products, which are made using the most advanced technology while never forgetting that, in the end, a loudspeaker most seems a lute and therefore must be built without ever rejecting a certain intelligent craftsmanship. It is not by chance that the products of Sonus Faber are named after some of the greatest violinmakers of the past: Guarnieri, Amati and Stradivari. The second ingredient consists of excellent design and the choice and working of wood of the highest quality. The third ingredient consists of a managerial tandem that is as heterogeneous as it is effective. Serblin is known throughout the world as one of the best designers of high fidelity equipment and a man devoted to invention. Bevilacqua is a young man of 39 who entered Sonus Faber when he was only 24 with behind him a family of entrepreneurs and higher studies in business economics. His objective, achieved with great success, was to construct a business.
"Bevilacqua, in the consumer electronic market, the range of products changes every year. Why do you keep in your catalogue certain pieces of equipment that are more than ten years old?
"It is a choice", Cesare Bevilacqua replies, "We are aiming at a very high segment of the market made up of sophisticated buyers who are not impressed by novelty and who care a great deal for the quality of the product."
"It is not easy for a small company like yours to enter the international market. What strategy did you follow?"
"It was not easy. Today we export to forty different countries and achieving this result involved analysis and selection within a very complex market. We tried to understand the needs of each single situation, to take advantage of the niches still open and find the most trustworthy distributors, those who believed in our product. To sell well, it is necessary to know and appreciate what you are selling."
"During the last fifteen years, were there any difficult moments when sales fell?"
"No, never. The only year when our earnings did not increase was 2002.
It was an effect of the attack on September 11, which was especially felt by us because we export a great deal to the United States".
"The prices of your products range from 30,000 euros for the top range to 900 euros. Have you ever thought of making low-priced loudspeakers?"
"I've been tempted to do that but to be successful in the wide consumption market, you have to have large volumes of production, distribution and sales. In this way we would lose our reputation of being partly artisan, to which we owe a large part of our success."
"Bevilacqua, what are your challenges for the future?"
"Not to lose the passion and care with which we make our products and which are the elements our customers value the most. We will continue to grow, certainly, but without forgetting our vocation."
Sonus Faber spa
Via Meucci 10
36057 Arcugnano (Vicenza)