Named president and chief commercial officer of Safilo North America last May, Steve Wright has almost a year on tap at the frame maker, plus an impressive wealth of industry tenure. He has held a number of positions with increasing responsibility within VSP Global, such as president of Altair Eyewear and senior VP of the Americas for Marchon Eyewear. Most recently, he served as president of VSP Global Omni-Channel Solutions. Here, we catch up with Wright to learn more.
#1. What does your role involve?
There are three areas of responsibility: Safilo North America, our wholesale frame business; Smith Optics, our global sports organization; and Solstice, our luxury retail sunglasses business. The main focus for me is to really rebuild the infrastructure internally at those organizations, and rebuild the competencies for Safilo in the domestic market.
#2. How does your background aid you in your new role?
The benefit of my experience is that I’ve made my mistakes already and I’ve learned from those mistakes because it’s a complex business. My experience in this area is important because not only are you managing product but the market itself is also evolving. There’s a lot of third-party influence as well as consolidation occurring. So, it helps to know, and have relationships with the key players—and what tools and solutions are needed that you can bring to the table.
#3. What are your goals for Safilo NA in 2019 and beyond?
Our main focus is to rebuild the trust and confidence in the company, primarily from a delivery and service standpoint. The three main targets are reducing complexity, improving speed to market, and becoming a much more customer-centric organization. Reinventing ourselves so that we’re known as being the easiest to do business with and one of the best organizations to work with and for! The leadership team that we’re building, to all our employees throughout the organization, is helping us address these areas.
#4. The most valuable tools + resources Safilo offers ECPs?
The demands of the customer and consumer are getting greater. It is incumbent upon us to deliver what we say we’re going to, and then also build solutions that help ECPs become more successful. Consumers want authenticity, quality, and products that align with a greater purpose. Safilo is best suited to deliver on all those points.
At Vision Expo, we’re unveiling a new booth [#2749] and sharing a future look at what Safilo North America is evolving to become—more inviting, more open, more inclusive, more engaging, as well as bringing in experts to help educate the ECPs on important business opportunities. Ultimately, Safilo’s capabilities from a product standpoint are undeniable, and typically unmatched. Our goal now is to deliver the best service and other elements ECPs can use to become even more successful.
#5. Best advice for ECPs to thrive today?
I think the only thing you can count on is that change is constant. Stay abreast of new ways to engage your patients, because the emerging consumer is being inundated with information. The ECPs really need to work on the winning formulas that are still the basics—you have to provide the right service and the right care—but you have to augment that by adopting, and adapting to, the emerging technologies that the consumer is becoming much more comfortable with. —ERINN MORGAN