The co-founders, President Bob Taylor and CEO Kurt Listug, joined Fender Chairman and CEO Bill Mendello, Andy Rossi, Fender’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales, and R&D, and Jon Gold, Fender’s Senior Vice President of International Sales, for an official announcement to music industry trade publications at a press conference prior to the start of the Winter NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“The world has become more and more flat, with cultural, currency and trade barriers becoming less and less. With the advent of the European Union, the adoption of a common currency and the free movement of goods across borders, a huge opportunity has been created to do more commerce at a higher level,” said Listug, in an earlier statement. “Fender has proven the concept of an American guitar and amp company successfully exporting their business model to Europe, and achieving much higher sales and brand awareness as a result.”
Listug said he approached Fender with the idea of distributing Taylor guitars in Europe, after learning from CEO Bill Mendello how successful Fender had been with their overseas sales model. “Bill shared his experiences in creating Fender Europe with me a few years ago, and invited me to see their European operations first hand. I spent a week visiting their warehouse, sales offices, and even their Düsseldorf custom shop showroom. I was blown away by their incredible success in Europe, and the huge potential of their sales model for Taylor.”
At the press conference, Bob Taylor agreed with Listug’s assessments and shared his own observation that the Fender and Taylor product philosophies are well-aligned. “As guitar builders, we are cut from the same cloth,” he said.
Mendello was reciprocal in his praise for Taylor, referring to Bob and Kurt as “two admired industry leaders who have built Taylor into a premier guitar brand. By providing our expertise in sales, marketing, warehousing and logistics, we look forward to enhancing their success throughout the European market.”
According to Listug, Taylor evaluated creating its own European distribution arm versus partnering with Fender. “We considered doing it ourselves, but distribution is expensive and requires specialized expertise. Having the opportunity to work with Fender, leveraging their resources and experience into much higher European sales for Taylor, is the best decision.”