The start of this year saw the spotlight shine on independent lighting company Ovia, with Mike Collins, former Scolmore Group Sales Director, at the helm. One year on from the birth of Ovia, PEW caught up with Mike to see how his inaugural year went and what the plans are for the future of Ovia.
Q. How did you get into the industry and your current position?
The electrical industry is in my blood. My family have run an electrical contracting business for as long as I remember. I got my first taste at the age of 13 with a two week work placement at a large electrical wholesaler in Kent and was offered a job there on leaving school. I’ve worked my way up from there, through various sales roles to the position of Sales Director with a leading lighting manufacturer. I joined Scolmore Group in May 2019 as sales director to head up the development of the independent lighting company, OVIA.
Q. What is Ovia’s ethos?
If I had just one word to sum up Ovia’s ethos it would be teamwork. Our aim has always been to work in close partnerships with our customers, to make their whole experience in dealing with us an easy and enjoyable one. We make it our mission to understand fully how our customers operate. We maintain this level of interaction throughout the whole supply chain so that we can deliver a first class service, and this has been in place since day one.
Q. 2020 has been a challenging year. Have your expectations for Ovia been met?
As a business we have been fortunate to have ridden the storm so far. We made the decision to get all our Sales Managers back early from furlough and out on the road and interacting with customers remotely – and that has really paid off. We have exceeded our expectations for the first year as an independent business. Even with the challenges faced in the current climate we have invested in new testing equipment, expanded the team, and have also released the second issue of our catalogue with a whole range of new products.
Q. What have been OVIA’s highlights in its first year as an independent lighting company?
For me, it’s not a case of specific highlights, but given the year we have been through, I think the whole of 2020 has proved to a very successful one for us. The company has grown in size and reputation and continues to do so, and we have had some very impressive sales. When we started out a year ago, we had the domestic market pretty much covered with the products we offered. Our expansion into other sectors was always the aim and we have had some great success, particularly with our commercial and floodlighting products.
Q. What is OVIA trying to achieve in the next few years?
We will continue to build on the success we’ve enjoyed in 2020. The team has expanded, we’ve made significant investment in new equipment and we will continue to develop products that the contractors are asking for and to generate further demand from the specification teams working on major projects.