As the 3rd ITMA ASIA + CITME got underway in Shanghai this week Heinz Peter Stoll, President of leading German flat knitting machine builder Stoll gave his views on his company’s latest products, Asian markets and other international markets for flat knitting machines.
Mr. Stoll, how important is ITMA 2012 in Shanghai for the Reutlingen, Germany-based company of Stoll with its long history?
HPS - Outside of Europe, ITMA 2012 in Shanghai is the most important trade show for us. We’re expecting visitors from China and all over Southeast Asia and India.
You are exhibiting at ITMA 2012 with a completely new brand image, a new slogan - Knit Ahead, and a redesigned trade show booth. What has prompted these changes?
HPS - In a lengthy strategy process, Stoll has developed a new positioning that sums up what we offer our customers across the board: namely, continuous, coordinated, forward-looking action and top solutions.
Our new brand image and the slogan Knit Ahead, both reflect our high technological standard as the world market leader and our commitment to always staying a step ahead of the competition. Where our logo is concerned, we have only modified it to give it a more contemporary look.
Our motto for ITMA 2012 is Knitting Performance by Stoll. A range of knit patterns and our booth’s special architecture and design will immediately let our customers and guests know that ‘knitting performance’ is a way of life for Stoll.
With our extraordinary, innovative knitting technology, our extensive expertise, and our striving for perfection, we create a steady stream of new patterns and structures that inspire and fascinate customers. It’s an impressive showing.
Mr. Stoll, you are showcasing a prototype of the latest new Stoll machine, the CMS 530 HP-ADF, on an exclusive basis at ITMA 2012. What is so special about this new flat knitting machine?
HPS - The prototype CMS 530 HP-ADF that we will be exhibiting at ITMA 2012 is a high-performance, high-output intarsia flat knitting machine that offers users attractive new possibilities for making intarsia patterns.
How important are fashion and technology for STOLL, and what roles do your international showrooms play?
HPS - The main functions of our Fashion & Technology Knitting Centers in New York and Reutlingen are to monitor and evaluate fashion trends in order to identify new and future patterns, colours, materials, and gauges. We develop our Trend Collection twice a year in Reutlingen. These collections, which we put on display in our showrooms around the world for customers to see, anticipate future trends in knitted fashions.
They also serve the purpose of building relationships with indirect customers such as international fashion companies and purchasing organizations. Another very important aspect is passing on technical knowledge and skills by training machine operators right on the machines.
We offer knitting and design training at the New York F&T, in Reutlingen, and in all major markets worldwide. We also collaborate closely with the world’s leading fashion colleges to support training in the field of knitted fashions.
Some of our biggest customers in Asia and Europe regularly visit our F&T in New York to cultivate their relationships with buyers and forge new contacts. Because it is located at the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District, designers based there can easily take advantage of it to program new designs and make test knits.
How do you see STOLL’s market prospects as compared to your competitors’?
HPS - Our product portfolio is truly outstanding in terms of quality, knitting possibilities, and productivity. It fully meets the expectations of makers of knitted products. So we are excellently positioned compared to our competitors, in addition to enjoying the largest customer base.
How important is the Asian market for a longstanding German company like Stoll?
HPS - Asia’s markets will continue to be the most important ones for us. We do expect our sales volumes to shift somewhat from China to other countries in the region such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
In your view, how is the international market for flat knitting machines developing?
HPS - Apart from the Asian market, we are currently seeing a surge in demand in countries like Turkey and Romania. Italy will always play a major role in the field of high-quality designer knitted apparel and can therefore be expected to continue being an important market for flat knitting machines.
Author: Billy Hunter