We met with Andrey Lomakin at the yacht show in Monaco - the main event in the industry. His company West Nautical successfully participated in the exhibition for the fifth year in a row, and Lomakin himself celebrates the anniversary of work in this field. In addition to the traditional questions in such cases about the secret of success in one of the most beautiful and difficult businesses, we talked about how things are going when the golden rain of the 2000s has passed. And, apparently, everything is very good. West Nautical today is an international holding with seven offices in different parts of the world.
- What will you remember about the exhibition in Monaco this year?
- West Nautical is participating in the Monaco Yacht Show for the fifth time. We represented the interests of our clients who decided to put a boat for sale in Monaco and we have always had 100% success. Everything we exhibited was sold within months of the show. The sales were based on the visits that took place during the exhibition. The largest yacht we sold was the 60m Benetti, there were several Mulder and other yachts. In addition, here you can see some of the brands we distribute on the CIS market - these are Sunseeker and Sanlorenzo.
Yacht Sunseeker Manhattan 52 © press service
- It turns out that you are engaged in both the management and sale of yachts and construction? I heard that you have a fairly successful office in France.
- Yes exactly. The French office has been operating for eight years. The West Nautical Group includes two main areas: distribution of the world's leading manufacturers (12-40 m in length) and the superyacht division (30-180 m), which builds yachts, and then manages and charters them, if the owner has such a request. We provide classic services for our clients in the "custom" section and in the section for large yachts from 30 m in length. The principle is about the same as with houses and cars: a person needs someone on his side to be engaged in a project. In construction, this would be called performing the function of a general contractor or technical customer. That is, I would immediately like to separate myself from brokerage houses, where the main task is to sell. Our main task is to build and operate,helping the client to enjoy their yacht vacation carefree.
Each distribution project in our company has its own division, marketing strategy, customer interaction system, and so on. For example, we represent the Sunseeker brand only in the CIS, Fairline also in France and Monaco, and Sanlorenzo also in Cyprus.
Yacht Sanlorenzo SD96 © Thomas Pagani
- Where do you find personnel for such a complex task? Are they Russian specialists or foreign ones?
- In the sea house West Nautical 90% of the employees are Europeans (if you can count the British as such at the moment). The Marine House is headquartered in Newcastle, England. This place has historically been considered the center of commercial shipbuilding. After the crisis, the volume of construction of commercial ships decreased, in the labor market high-quality specialists became available for very reasonable money. We have an almost unlimited human resource, thanks to which we can professionally and efficiently help a client build a yacht, honestly defending his interests in front of the shipyard. And at the same time, our services will cost the client less than the services of most of our competitors.
- So there are offices in France and England. And yet the main headquarters is in Moscow?
- If we talk about the distribution of Sunseeker, Fairline, Sanlorenzo and the recently joined Bluegame, then, probably, the main offices are in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there is also a service office in Sochi. In the near future we want to focus on the Black Sea. If we talk about management, then our main center is in London and Newcastle. If we talk about crew selection, inspection of ships, organization of refits (refit - equipment or re-equipment of the yacht. -), then this is an office in Antibes. If we talk about the distribution of Fairline in France, then this is an office near Cannes in Mandelieu-la-Napoule.
- If we consider your entire business, what direction do you consider the key, what is called a locomotive?
- Probably, it would be difficult to single out a single locomotive. We do not have "trailers" that need to be pulled. Every plant or division can have ups and downs due to market conditions or the success of individual models or projects. Let's say that in one year the unit operates at maximum speed, and the next year it can return to cruising speed. For example, a few months ago we signed a contract with Bluegame and the project is only picking up speed. But taking into account the fact that a year ago it was a company with one model, now there are three of them, and at the dealership conference they announced to us that the model range would consist of 11 boats. I think it will be a very good and interesting business. Fairline, Sanlorenzo, Sunseeker projects are very interesting, and this year we managed to find several clients,who ordered these medium and larger yachts. Of course, the high season on the market will be successful for these destinations. The past year was also very successful for West Nautical Group, which carried out several large deals and several management and refit projects. I would not offend any of my directors or partners by saying that this business is profitable and profitable today, and this one is not very good. I would not measure success in money, I would measure it in terms of the number of satisfied clients.but this one is not very good. I would not measure success in money, I would measure it in terms of the number of satisfied clients.but this one is not very good. I would not measure success in money, I would measure it in terms of the number of satisfied clients.
Yacht Bluegame BG62 © press service
- Did you have a specific development strategy when you came to yachting?
- I have never created a business based on considerations of market conditions at the moment. There has never been such a thing that I said to myself: "I believe that it will develop there, I will go there." It always started with my needs. For example, in the early 90s I bought a cell phone, my friends started asking what it costs, where to buy, how it works. He advised some, opened a store to others. The result was the small JetCom and JetLine networks. The first provided MTS services, the second - Beeline. After that, I started buying cars for myself, drove the first one from Germany - this is how the Opel salon appeared. Then I bought myself a boat, began to ride, my friends began to ask - I went to one of the Regal factories (by the way, one of my favorite brands so far), bought ten boats, and brought them to Russia. There was no analysis at that time. It turned out like thisthat I buy for myself what I like, and this is what my friends and clients like. And so the business began.
- What boat do you have now?
- For all the time I have owned seven Fairline yachts, then I built myself a custom Dutch yacht Mulder 94 Voyager. At the exhibition in Monaco, there was a buyer for it, and I went to the Sunseeker 80 Yacht for a while. Now I have ordered the yacht Fairline, which will be based in Moscow, and I am thinking about which yacht to buy for the Mediterranean Sea.
Yacht Firefly Mulder © press service
- That is, personal hobby has grown into a profession, and as a result - into a large holding. What principles did you follow when building your own company?
- First of all, this is what I love. And I want to make a company that will be the best in the yachting market. Best for clients. The first principle that was introduced in the company is honesty with clients and contractors. Second, clients are ready to pay not for the yacht itself, but for the opportunity to get a beautiful and comfortable vacation without any problems. The third is to be grateful. At one time, it was necessary to change the entire system of personnel motivation and the entire culture of the company. It was like rebuilding a house from the foundations. March marks 20 years since yachting became my main business. In my entire professional history, there has not been a single dissatisfied client. There is no West Nautical in the whole group, and I hope there won't be a single dissatisfied customer.
- Is the change in approach related to changes in the market?
- Of course, there is a huge difference between the time when we started, in the early 2000s, and what we have now. First, the situation in the country has changed, the consciousness of people, the way people now earn money - that's all. Second, there are still two types of culture in business that are fundamentally different. There is an approach when a businessman creates a company, where his main motto is: "I created a company to make more money for myself in this market." But our clients are fine with flair, analytical thinking and understanding of the business. They immediately read such intentions and do not want to be a lamb with which three skins will be stripped. If you start a business because you see that people have a need and today it is not closed by any other company, and you believe,that your actions in the market will lead to customer satisfaction and achievement of goals, you will get a business that will bring both recognition and money. This also changes the attitude to work, because everyone wants to work with you because you have an honest, transparent, high quality, you are worried about how the client had a rest on the yacht today. And do not forget about it immediately after signing a contract or shipment. Until 2008, business in Russia developed at a tremendous pace and the winning strategy was ingeniously simple: the market is "golden rain", you can earn money if you stand under it with a hat. One little hat (you represent one brand) - you earn a little. If you stand with a big hat (you have a package of 10 or 20 brands), you earn a lot. As soon as the golden shower ended, this logic stopped working. When the market changed and turned into an extremely competitive one, where high professional service is important, everything changed. In principle, today people understand that on an 80-foot yacht, if the client is all right with friends, family and life spirit, he, in principle, will have a good rest everywhere. And if the yacht delivers aesthetic pleasure, does not annoy with malfunctions, and besides, a certain company takes care of the wishes of the yacht owner - the rest becomes wonderful and carefree. In this direction, the market has changed, which allows only high-quality and honest service providers or manufacturers to work.he, in principle, will rest well everywhere. And if the yacht delivers aesthetic pleasure, does not annoy with malfunctions, and besides, a certain company takes care of the wishes of the yacht owner - the rest becomes wonderful and carefree. In this direction, the market has changed, which allows only high-quality and honest service providers or manufacturers to work.he, in principle, will rest well everywhere. And if the yacht delivers aesthetic pleasure, does not annoy with malfunctions, and besides, a certain company takes care of the wishes of the yacht owner - the rest becomes wonderful and carefree. In this direction, the market has changed, which allows only high-quality and honest service providers or manufacturers to work.
Yacht Fairline F-line 33 © press service
- How difficult has it become to find clients in Russia lately?
- During the period of "golden rain" every successful person realized that buying a yacht is a must have. Someone understood a yacht as a 60-foot sports yacht, while others meant a 70-meter megayacht. The yacht was an attribute of status, and purchases were made fairly quickly. Things are different today. Now status purchases are coming to naught, and people who rave about the sea, love the sea, and relax on the sea become customers. That is, on the one hand, there are fewer customers, and on the other hand, it is not difficult for us to find them, since we do not have a single dissatisfied customer and they often return for the service or for the next purchase, bring their friends to us. Market statistics show that one dissatisfied discourages 11 potential customers, and a satisfied one, on average, brings two. Therefore, the flow of people who come on recommendation is the main one for us. Of course,I always want to increase it, but there is a certain number of orders for both construction and service, which we can satisfy with the proper quality. We are already working almost to the extent of our capabilities. Therefore, we are constantly looking for high-quality specialists and managers in order to have time to train them in the standards of our work, before entrusting them with the management of a client's order. That is, we now have a challenge from the other side.
It turned out that I buy for myself what I like, and this is what my friends and clients like. And so the business began.
- Do you plan to expand your geography, attract more clients from Europe and America?
- If you look at the list of our clients and the distribution of orders by nationality, then we have more than half - clients not from the CIS. The most interesting thing is that the yacht market today is so mobile and lively that statistics from year to year show a very different picture. Expanding our presence in different markets, we act on the principle of the golden core. It consists of a director and employees with key competencies. When the market grows, you can get client managers who will work with incoming clients. When it starts to decline, you can always cut back on the least productive. In our company, it is the gold core that ensures the stable quality of the work of each division. In the near future, we will begin to look closely at the American market, but honestly, until we understand the set of benefits and procedures,to enter this market and have a high chance of success. The American market is extremely competitive.
- How do you recover after the exhibition? What helps you get in shape?
- Sports. Summer bike, winter hockey. You recover instantly.
- Where do you rest on the yacht?
- The Black Sea this year was a pleasant exception, I usually rest in the Mediterranean, more often in the western part (France, Italy, Spain), and a few years ago I preferred the eastern part (Greece, Turkey). The Black Sea is Sochi, we also went to Gelendzhik and Anapa. It is a great joy that a large yacht club is being built in Gelendzhik, a very ambitious project. I think it will be completed at the end of next year. This year, information began to appear in the press that the number of yacht clubs on the Black Sea coast will increase as part of the state support for yachting. And then, I am sure, the Black Sea has every chance to become one of the best pearls of yachting holidays.>