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Sewing up the competition Featured

1:27pm EDT June 22, 2004
Successfully merging three competitive brands can be a tricky proposition, unless you're Bengt Gerborg.

Under president and CEO Gerborg, VSM Sewing Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds, and revenue has steadily rise in recent years -- sales of sewing machines and accessories grown for 18 consecutive years. For 19 years, Gerborg's innovative thinking and strong belief in marketing and branding has transformed VSM into a worldwide leader in the sewing machine industry.

VSM Sewing began as Husqvarna Sewing Machines in 1872, evolving into VSM. It acquired White Sewing Machine Co., and in 2000, acquired the German brand Pfaff Sewing Machines. As part of his strategy, Gerborg maintains three distinct identities for each brand by operating separate marketing departments for each, creating positive in-house rivalries while sharing best practices among departments.

Merging three strong competitive brands has only enhanced the position of VSM Sewing, says Gerborg. With the brands all under one roof, VSM has combined back office functions to create a streamlined and efficient organization, which has helped control costs. He created strategic alliances, most recently with JoAnn Stores Inc., where VSM has set up shops, bolstering sales.

Another Gerborg initiative is called "edutainment." Created with the idea that sewing can be both educational and entertaining, he has pursued the concept with vigor. VSM now offers seminars on sewing and has a hand in the production of television shows on PBS that promote the craft.How to reach: VSM Sewing Inc., (440) 808-6550 or www.husqvarnaviking.com