New Bowens manager plans ‘radio-tech’ flashes & increased market share

Bowens has appointed a new manager promising "a sea change" in the company's operations including a focus on product development.

Emerson Roberts, Bowens MD

Emerson Roberts, Bowens MDBowens, the British lighting manufacturer, has appointed a new manager who promises “a sea change” in the company’s operations. Emerson Roberts, aged 40, is the new managing director of Bowens International and plans to shift the firm’s focus away from cost-cutting toward product development and research.

Roberts — poached after a successful stint as sales and marketing director at Brompton Bicycles in London — said that the Essex-based lighting company will “invest heavily” in development of new products to increase its global market share through “a raft of new strategic initiatives in the coming months”. Research and development will be a priority, both for Bowens stills photography lights and the Limelite continuous video lighting brand.

In 2014, the company will release a new series of “highly advanced ‘radio-tech’ monoblocs”. Until now Bowens flashes have been a bit behind the curve when it comes to wireless triggering — with their latest lights featuring built-in basic radio receivers but still not offering radio remote control of settings, unlike rivals Elinchrom and Profoto.

Roberts also promises to expand Bowens’s UK-based research and development team, and improve international distribution based on the USA MAC Group model.

“It’s time for a sea change in the way we do things at Bowens,” he said. “We need to have a sharper focus on product inventory and expansion rather than be permanently obsessed with cost reduction tactics.

“Just look at this company’s outstanding heritage. Bowens is nothing if it isn’t doing something important with technology. Frankly, it’s what is expected of us.

“There are dozens of ‘me too’ manufacturers in the Far East who can just copy what is out there and push down on price. What we offer are far more compelling workflow solutions for our photographer customers.

“There is no reason why we can’t operate very successfully as a two-location business, taking advantage of lower manufacturing costs abroad and still retain the core of our expert team here in the UK.

“But now we must drive on and rebuild. R&D will be my priority, alongside freeing up our gifted and award-winning marketing team to create and fulfil exciting new campaigns and promotions to exploit our growing portfolio. We do not need to concede on price. We build premium products.”

For more information on Bowens, visit their web site.

David Selby
David is a keen photographer and has been editor of Lighting Rumours since 2010. When not writing about lighting, he works as a data scientist at the University of Manchester, UK.