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Interview


developed an iron that you can remove the water tank. That just makes it easier to fill and empty, as opposed to shaking the iron upside down over your sink or carrying it around. That’s a small detail, but something where, once we learned that pain point for consumers, we had a great solution. That’s an item that has gotten good reception so far.


VB: [Since 2012, have your growth initiatives] worked the way you expected it to?


Trepp: Not exactly. Back to being a good thinking-focused and learning organiza- tion, we’ve adjusted as things have worked and some have not. “Only the Best” is growing nicely. In the new markets, some are working really well, while some are really challenging. We moved into Brazil right before


they had their worst recession on record … That’s been one that has been more chal- lenging than we thought, but our products are selling well, and we’re getting distribu- tion. We are getting back to the long-term


focus, and we are just going to keep on working on it. The economy has stabilized, not where it needs to be yet, but stabilized. We’re growing and doing okay.


VB: E-commerce is about 25 percent of your total sales right now, correct? Where do you expect that to go in, let’s say, the next five years? Trepp: It’s tough to say, but we have seen some industries where it’s grown to 35 percent of the industry. Electronics is one of those examples. Right now, in our market, the data


isn’t perfect, but e-commerce is around 25 to 30 percent of the industry. We think it will go somewhere in the mid-30s. It could go higher, as high as 40 percent. It’s hard to tell exactly. Consumers are still clearly interested in buying products from brick-and-mortar stores. You’ve got a lot of retailers who


are doing both well. So, we think it will balance out between 30 and 40 percent. Certainly if it goes further than that we’ll adjust, if it goes backwards — which I don’t think it will do — we’ll adjust there also.


Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is this Palladian inspired masterpiece called Edgemont —a home whose design is reputed to be the only remaining private residence attributed to Tomas Jefferson. Sited on 572 roll- ing acres with tennis court, pool, pool house, guest house, and a full com- plement of farm improvements. MLS#576150 Steve McLean 434.981.1863


VB: Your operations are all over the world. Have tariffs [imposed by the U.S. on imports from China] affected your business? Treppp: Yes, they have. [Before early September, tariffs affected] around 4 percent of our revenue. [Additional tariffs imposed in late


September affected another 7 to 8 percent of the business, making more than 10 percent that has been impacted.] It affects the whole industry. We’re


supportive of the opportunity to make things better in certain ways. If things don’t get resolved and things stay in place long term, we’ll have to adjust and figure out how to run our business that way.


NORTH WALES- Historic, 1,466-acre Virginia estate with c. 1776 stone manor home, two-story Georgian Revival-style stone carriage house, exten- sive farm and equestrian improvements, a guest house, additional residences & a shooting preserve. All improvements have been carefully restored and placed on the Historical Register. MLS#558296 Steve McLean 434.981.1863


503 Faulconer Drive | Charlottesville | VA | 22903


office: 434.295.1131 | email: smclean@mcleanfaulconer.com WWW.MCLEANFAULCONER.COM


54 NOVEMBER 2018


VB: Another thing that’s in the news is the federal tax cuts approved by Congress last year. How will it affect the company now? Trepp: That will be benefiting us. We will probably be around, we estimate, a 26 to 28 percent tax rate this year, which is around 10 to 12 points lower that it was last year. So, our shareholders will definitely see a benefit to that.


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