The boom They arrived last year with the Conga. "It exploded in the mouth ear. We believed that the maximum sales were 4,000 monthly. Now there are 20,000 and up, "explains César Orts. "It has placed us on the radar of the whole world."
It was at the end of 2016 when they found the perfect recipe for the robot vacuum cleaner, which already had older versions. The new one was equipped with a scrubbing tank, more absorption power, better batteries, advances in sweeping brushes … "We always try to evolve the product. We do not give a robot vacuum cleaner, we sell one that works perfectly and also scrubs. "
The Conca de Cecotec is not called like that by chance. "We thought it was funny, we liked the phonetics, the composition of the logo … We wanted the name of a dance. If you call it robot vacuum cleaner it does not sound so good, "explains José. That baptism was also a declaration of intentions: they wanted to beat the American model Roomba (the name comes from room, room in English) but in Spanish it sounds rumba, like dancing. "We did it for that," acknowledges César, "we wanted to make clear who we wanted to reach."
Aspirate, never better said. It seems that in the last months the battle is won by the Valencians. "In units we are surpassing the Roomba. In business we are equal because your product is more expensive. " We speak of the Spanish market, which according to the data that the Orts handle, is the second country after Japan where more vacuum robots are sold.
40 people, young engineers, designers, IT workers work in the department of product development at Cecotec … Much of this team is dedicated to continue improving the flagship product. "Conga, clean the crumbs under the table", is one of the possibilities offered by the latest laser-guided version that has just been launched and that is able to make a plan of the house to follow cleaning instructions of the user.
The Conga range accounts for 25% of Cecotec's turnover. In the rest there is a world of coffee makers, pots, fryers, toasters, blenders, irons, glass cleaner robots, electric scooters and even a competitor for the German Thermomix: Mambo (the thing goes dancing). The technological development and the design is all made in Spain, but the manufacture is made entirely in China. José is in charge of traveling to talk with suppliers and look for new technologies. "We have a very close relationship. There are our people there and I go every month. All the ships that come from China to the port of Valencia bring something for us ". How many? "In total we get about two thousand containers a year."
"To be competitive you have to manufacture in China because the competitive manufacturer of cables, motherboards, motors … is there. It's something of the industry. Apple does the same, "explains César. "Can it be manufactured outside of China? Yes, we can finish the product here and that would be made in Spain. It is a project. We would like to make televisions in Spain, but making toasters is unfeasible. "
When asked if 500 products are not already too many and if they consider reducing the range to 100, the answer is very clear. José shakes his head and his brother explains it. "Do not. In addition we are going to take two hundred more products. We are working a whole line of beauty: hair dryers, hair irons … We have to give satisfaction to the user, of course, but also to the distributor. A store does not want 29 different suppliers and we want to be one of the suppliers that nurtures them from the largest possible assortment. "
Because in the last year Cecotec is taking another leap: from the online world to the offline one. In the beginning, sales were mostly through the Internet. 80% Now that percentage is more equal, after reaching last year agreements with distribution chains such as Carrefour, MediaMarkt or Worten. "We are going to make an effort to be more present in stores. That's why we have just launched our first advertising campaign on television, so that the person who buys by brand considers us as an option. We want the client to be able to recognize us and place us within the technological ".
A walk through the eight naves, 28,000 square meters, four football fields full of small appliances waiting to be distributed gives an idea of the work these two brothers have done to grow and position themselves. "My brother and I are here bridges, vacations … There is a lot of sacrifice. This is not created with a magic wand. It is the effort of many people, "says César.
A concentrated effort in the last five years. Cecotec started in 2013 in the hands of newspapers. "The press began to recruit readers via promotional hooks like kitchen robots or fryers without oil at a very competitive price. 90% of the small appliance that was sold through newspapers between 2014 and 2016 was ours. We did not use our brand, but the development and design were done here. " That was Cecotec's main source of revenue until they decided to change course and start to exploit their brand. Since then, only three years have passed. The online sales experience they already had with Ollas GM, a company of a relative in distress that the Orts brothers successfully floated. The one of the pots is the sign that stands out in the façade when one arrives at the Cecotec headquarters, in an industrial estate in Quart de Poblet, 14 kilometers from Valencia. They moved a year ago but have already achieved another 14,000 square meters. "If you do not have a product, you do not sell," César argues.
To be competitive you have to manufacture in China. We would like to make televisions in Spain, but making toasters is unfeasible "
The next step? In a few years they think that they will triple the staff (now they are 180) and they will jump abroad. France will be your first destination. "Brands are based on the product setting. It can be a faster or slower process, but we believe in the process, "explains César. The two brothers seem to have a very clear road map. Given the path they accumulate, they have not lacked offers from investors.
Everyone has been told no. "We do not need an investor who puts money. Our financial position is comfortable. What we would consider is an experienced investor that will provide us with value. We want to grow outside of Spain. It could be someone who accompanies us in that, but if it does not arrive we will do it based on learning ", ditches César.
The brothers joke that they would like to have their mother in the quality department. "It is the most critical. He has tried all the vacuum cleaners and the plates because he says he likes to iron, "José confesses. "Here we are all very critical, we tend to perfectionism", adds César. "Our philosophy is based on two principles: we always give more for a fair price. Cecotec is that. "
Who do they want to look like? To an Ikea of the small appliance? César and José agree, although quickly, the small one for the house: "We would love to be the Mercadona of household appliances" … And the older one adds: "That is the concept we are looking for".
Well, Juan Roig and the Orts brothers still do not know each other.