About our company from the interview to Farvater magazine.
— How did Losttoys company appeared?
— This year we are turning 10 years. Our first 7 years were in the times of the crises. It is very difficult – to build a company in conditions of declining market. 2014 was the most difficult year: there was no even a question about yacht purchase because of the revolution. Nevertheless, since the year 2015 the rise began. I hope that in 5 years our company will be a high quality enterprise. For many years we’ve been producing Cobra, Scandinaval, and Finnsport motor boats in Kharkiv together with Brig Motors. Now there is a demand for bigger boats.
It was the beginning. We sold a first 36-foot Intermare of an Italian brand (they are not produced anymore, didn’t survive the crises). Then, we were selling any models which our clients for asking for during several years. In 2012 we concluded a first agreement on official dealership in Ukraine for Greenline brand. We are still selling them in Baltic countries as well, and from now in Sweden. What about the company name origin, it appeared the following way. In 2012 (if I’m not mistaken) there was a world cup F1 on boats. And we were offered an advertizing space on a racing boat. I started to think that it’s not right to advertize Greenline on a boat which is not “green”. I remembered Lost Boys ad from 90th on a car Formula. Why shouldn’t we use a trade mark LOSTTOYS? Many kids played with boats in their childhood and now we will help them to find them – only this time “the toys” will be of other size.
-Which brands do you offer today? And why?
- Greenline was the first one. These are the only hybrid yachts of serial production in the world. Of course, you can buy them as ordinary ones on diesel fuel, but the majority of our clients choose them because of solar panels. It allows to enjoy the rest on water without engine roar.
At that moment Greenline was limited by 40 feet model line. We started to look for a brand which would have the same quality, with beautiful and comfortable design and would be not very expensive at the same time. Five years ago the top players in this segment were Italians and English, French caught up later. We’ve chosen Absolute. At those times they had no decisive influence on the market but we’ve evaluated their potential and they – ours. As we can see, we were not mistaken, and I hope that they are also satisfied with our co-operation. In any case, last year we were entrusted to open an office in Monaco.
In recent years a lot of clients started to ask about catamaran ships and sailing ships (they are especially loved in Estonia). That’s why since the end of the previous year we became representatives of Lagoon (No 1 in the world in their segment) in Baltic countries and in Monaco. It’s a totally new business for us as sailing ships are sold in a different way than motor boats. Nevertheless, I’m sure that we will conquer this segment on the market.
We’ve also been selling Parker motor boats; their line (from 20 to 30 feet) takes the segment till the minimal Greenline size.
We always choose ourselves which brands we would like to represent. We are guided by the following criteria: correlation price/quality, uniqueness, potential, and financial stability of the yacht yard.
- For which categories of buyers are the brands named by you and what are they interesting for?
- We’ve built our business in such a way that the brands which we represent are not competing between themselves. There are “intersections” but they are minor. For example, Greenline and Absolute have 48-feet yacht. But these are totally different boats – by price, design, and concept. Both are high quality yachts and navigable, but Absolute will be bought by a person who would like to get a top brand but he has to pay 30% extra for that. A Greenline will be bought by a person who appreciates nature, loves quiet family recreation time, and in addition he will get maximal comfort with a perfect design at moderate price.
In 2015 after the change of the owner Greenline introduces “customization” – which is a very convenient function when a client can express his wishes concerning the yacht and the factory, if possible, and for extra price adds it. For example, the system of solar batteries on the roof allows to have 220V aboard all the time without a connection to shore power supply. Since this year this system and also an air-conditioner are available in all models (I’ll underline it – in basic configuration).
Today, according to the estimates of the world press, Absolute is in TOP-5 among the pleasure yachts brands – at the same level with Sunseeker, Azimut, Princess which means a lot. During last years the sales of this brand increased by several times and now Absolute can be ordered only for the year 2020. You won’t find nor bald plastic nor sharp edges in Absolute – all the details are thought trough and performed on the highest level. New Absolute model – Navetta 48 will be represented in Cannes in autumn. I was lucky to see it at the final stage of production – I was astonished by the interior design and the level of performance which are as good as ones by Sunseeker 86 or 28m. By the way, Absolute factory as the Greenline factory has no debts, their owners are particular people. And surprises like “up – and disappeared” as it happened to Bavaria this year are excluded.
Parker motor boats are also one of the best in their segment. I can not say that they are expensive but their price is higher than of competitors’, nevertheless, the quality is obviously better. The motor boats are produced from high strength materials and have excellent operation indexes. Many models have the speed of 40+ Knots, and are very stable at the same time. Parker 750 Cruise Cabins, for example, are bought for security of the heads of many countries. In Scandinavia it is sold under the name Askelladen. (Essentially, this brand is a joint enterprise of Norwegians and English).
If to talk about prices in more detail, Parker is up to 100 thousand Euro, Greenline – from 100 till 700 thousand, and Absolute from 700 thousand till 4 million Euro.
- How did you earn such a trust to represent Absolute in Monaco?
- In year 2015 we stepped on a way of extending the geography of our brand’s sales. The market of Ukraine is highly limited and perspectives at those times were not promising. That’s why we went to the countries where according to our estimations we could reach success, because the competition was low there, we knew the language and culture. These are Baltic countries where I’m from, Scandinavia, where I got my education (Stockholm University), Caucasus with excellent cities for yachting such as Batumi and Baku.
Monaco became an entrance into a Mediterranean region for us. Then Absolute had no dealer there. And we asked if we may enter this market. They, of course, had doubts about our strengths but we participate with our stand in Monaco Boat Show second year, which is very cool. Monaco Boat Show is an exhibition of a high level where before allowing a company to participate the prestige of the company and brand which it represents are being evaluated. We were told: “You won’t last long in Monaco”, “it’s very expensive”, “you don’t know French” etc. But now we not just last and cope, on the contrary – we are developing! Now we have a right to represent also Greenline in Monaco. Last week we participated in Monaco GP F1 as a sponsor.
Today we have offices in Kyiv and Odessa, Vilnius, and Tallinn, in Stockholm, Monaco, and Batumi. This year we moved the head office from Tallinn to Amsterdam. This is the office of our holding company. It’s located in marine but hasn’t sold yachts yet: we don’t have the right for Benelux brand.
We plan to open offices in marines of Sukosan (Croatia), in Athens (Greece), in Limassol (Cyprus), and in the Romanian capital Constance.
- A good company is first of all its people. Could you tell us about your team?
- During many years the company consisted of three people – Yura, Sasha, and I. I was selling, Yura was dealing with technical issues, and Sasha was maintaining and repairing. I even gave it a name “a crew of welcomers and screwers”. We did everything by ourselves. Today over 20 people work in 10 countries (it would be right to say – live doing the mutual business, our company is like a second home for them). I often call us “organization”: Losttoys is not just any abstract company but the company which sense of activity is to organize something.
We have a very strong Back Office which provides services in all countries (IT and marketing). We also have around 20 web-sites which we manage ourselves. We also have employees in financial sphere – today many people not just want to buy a yacht and navigate it. They are ready to pay to the managing company which will organize them rest time on their yacht for their money, it will deal with maintenance, yacht-club search and other questions. And also to give yacht in charter to a third person which will turn it from the source of expenditures into a yacht that “pays for itself”. That is why right now we are working on the opening of Charter Management Company in France. It will be a new challenge for us as in France it’s not easy to do business, the market is bigger there.
- Which yachts do Ukrainians choose, what do they value especially?
- In general, the requirements to yachts on all our markets do not differ a lot, everybody wants approximately the same configuration. A Latvian and a Lithuanian choose approximately the same options as a Ukrainian. The Swedish do not buy an empty yacht. They pay more attention to ecology as well.
Our people have a caring attitude to technique: old yachts which we take into trade-in are very often in excellent condition. That’s why we give a guarantee for 3 month and if a client buys a yacht in spring (in the beginning of a navigation season), he can navigate with a guarantee like on a new boat. That’s why I recommend or previously used yachts.
- Where can the Ukrainian client see and test the whole line of your brands?
- Now Greenline has it’s quay in Portoroz Marine (Slovenia), where they have their main base and it’s possible to have a test-drive of all the models together with a dealer. We also have all the models in Ukraine except for 48. There are test models in Baltic countries and Sweden. Annually Absolute organizes a week before the Cannes festival in Varazze (it’s in Italy, not far from Genoa) “seatrial” days. We suggested to organize this event in Monaco in 2019 before the Royal Yacht Club Monaco – we’ll see how it works out.
Also you can see all models in Cannes each year. But it won’t be possible to organize the test-drive. From my own experience I will say that test-drive doesn’t decide everything. Today all top yacht models are good, and an “ordinary person” doesn’t feel any difference between them. Nobody navigates these yachts in storm, and if he suddenly is, everything depends on the skipper. Yachts are very enduring. Today people pay more attention to design, ergonomics, interior, and comfort. My friend who has been selling yachts in Monaco for 25 years said that he was asked about the test-drive only 4 times…
- What are your plans for the nearest future?
- We will support sport and fashion. In Kyiv yacht exhibition will be attended only with children – to look at boats or fishing lines. That is why to promote yachting into masses we plan to participate in different events. It will be “Absolute open days” in Odessa, in Tallinn, and in Monaco. Or participation in Monaco GP, or Ukrainian Fashion Week. Or Greenline Owners Club in Sweden or Hybride Yacht Club in Monaco.
First of all we plan to extend the network of our offices so that our clients feel comfortable in all the seas of Europe. I think that it will be pleasant and comfortable to come to these offices like to their home to consult or just to speak their language. And to definitely know that in case of a breakdown they will receive maximally fast help and support. Our clients in Ukraine helped a lot for the development of the company – in the most difficult years they believed in us and provided support. That is why I think that now we have to “pay them back” in its best meaning.
By the way, we’ve been co-operating with Farvarter magazine since the first days of our arrival to Ukraine. It’s been more than 10 years and we are very thankful to you as well.
Secondly, we are intended to suggest the owners to lease their yachts in charter (right now only in Cote D’azur), and owner of mega-yachts started to ask us for management.
This year is rich on events. Besides everything we’ve opened a company on small yachts transportation in Europe. And everything started when we needed this kind of transportation ourselves. Now we develop this direction. By the way, we’ve already been asked about transportation of a yacht to Ukraine.
We’ve been also selling yacht clothing Slam for many years. Now we have two stores: In Kyiv (Top Yachts Division) and in Odessa (Yacht Club Sauvignon) – it is also one of priorities for our development.
As you can see we have a lot of plans and many ideas, development strategies, and intentions. But it’s early to talk about them.