There are many clothing and textile companies of various sizes and types in Lithuania. Some of them of Lithuanian capital, others develop their activities with the help of foreign partners and their experience. We will review the path of LATIA Export Development cluster companies in Lithuania. One of them is the company of Algirdas Valiuškis. We invite you to read an interview with the head of the company Algirdas Valiuškis.
How was your company established?
In 1995, we noticed a great need for zippers, so we were buying them them from sewing companies and reselling. We soon realized that this was a great niche for business, so after buying a few production machines, we started making zippers ourselves. At present, Algirdas Valiuškis company manufactures VVK brand spiral, plastic, metal, water-repellent zippers for the clothing, footwear, haberdashery and upholstered furniture industries. The company has almost 50 employees.
Have you changed production over time?
In order to maintain the trust of our customers and offer them the best quality and services, we strive to improve our skills, introduce new technologies, upgrade equipment and add to the product range every year. Inevitably, we have to adapt to the wishes of our customers, which is why we have recently opened two new lines of plastic and spiral zippers in response to the demand for larger zippers.
Today, it is no longer enough for a zipper to perform only a direct function of "pulling". The zipper is becoming an accent of products, a decoration and a multifunctional accessory. With modern technology, we can meet almost all customer needs.
In which markets are your customers located?
Most of our products travel to Western European countries, some to Lithuanian sewing companies. Neighbouring countries - Latvia, Estonia, Poland - also know us well. We also have representatives in Russia.
In which markets are you looking to expand?
We strive to be known everywhere, so we are open to all markets. We participate in Lithuanian and international exhibitions, where we find potential customers. It is most gratifying when existing customers or partners recommend us to potential customers. This is the best proof that we produce quality products and are able to serve customers professionally. 25 years in the market, the stability of supply and quality naturally attracts a significant number of customers.
Why is it important to export and participate in a cluster?
If Lithuania was a large country with a population of 10-20 million, it would possibly be not necessary to export. At present, the Lithuanian sewing industry has shrunk and purchasing power has fallen sharply. The demand in the west is several times higher.
The textile cluster provides us with an excellent opportunity to increase the export of products through participation in international networks, exhibitions and the implementation of active marketing measures.
What are your future plans?
Probably like everyone else we want to improve and expand. New zipper improvements, new technical solutions are constantly emerging in the world, which we are constantly implementing. We are planning to continue to proceed like this. We want to create more jobs.
Our next goal is to find as many distributors in foreign countries as possible who would distribute our VVK brand zippers.
How do you assess the European, global clothing and textile market?
If we disregard the situation with COVID-19, the market situation is improving. In the West, goods are becoming more expensive, so Lithuanian and Eastern European factories have work to do. There are also increasingly more and more opportunities to expand. If a company closes with us, a similar one opens in a foreign country. Naturally, everyone needs to prepare, consumerism is increasing, so it is certainly not possible to predict a market decline.
How is this industry developing in general?
In Lithuania, the market is declining if we compare it with the situation 10-15 years ago. In terms of textiles alone, the decline is even greater.
It is gratifying that new technologies are emerging and sustainable and smart textiles are becoming increasingly popular. It is to such textiles that we, as manufacturers, will need to adapt and adapt our production processes over time.