It is no secret that manufacturers, retailers and distributors need to find new ways of meeting consumers’ evolving expectations in luxury and fashion markets. Paolo Marai is the president and CEO at the Timex Group Luxury Division. He manages the timepiece business of Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versus Versace Watches Men. This led to the MadaLuxe Group being appointed its U.S. distributor.
Although the new arrangement was announced in January, the companies spent nearly a year developing a strategy before making it republicans and democrats in November. This multi-tiered strategy focuses on the consumer experience in-store.
We started in January, but we wanted to have a honeymoon period to get to know each other and to understand how we work together. That’s why we didn’t make it a huge event at the beginning. In a recent interview, Marai stated that we should work together for a few months to build a strong team.
These companies spent the year hiring managers who are experienced in the fashion and Swiss watch industries. This includes people who have worked with Fossil and Tom Ford, Fossil and Tag Heuer. They work on product pricing, sales training, inventory management at store level, in-store displays, and after-sales services that are uniform in their experience. This is not an easy task because watch brands can be found in department stores, specialty shops, and boutiques. This is why it’s so important to build relationships in order for the effort to succeed.
Although this year was a transitional year, we see very encouraging signs that 2018 will be a great year. He said that there are two things that make 2018 a great year: first, the new products we have coming and secondly, how we organized ourselves to ensure a smooth transition to not disrupt the market. “I believe that 99 percent of the time, we are completely aligned on what needs to happen.”
MadaLuxe Group, a family-owned business with a 30-year history, is one of the largest suppliers of luxury accessories and fashion. It produces, designs, buys and sells accessories, apparel, and home goods from high-end luxury brands. The company is new to the watch industry, and has been looking for talented republic plumbing. This company is well-respected in providing solutions to luxury fashion brands, with an extensive distribution network that includes approximately 300 retail stores across the U.S.
Sandy Sholl, the CEO, and Adam Freede (the president), co-founded the company. It has seven divisions. The luxury segment of their company was created seven years ago by Sandy Sholl, CEO, and Adam Freede, president. They see it as a growth opportunity because of the younger customers who are educated and curious about luxury.
Sholl stated that he believes more Americans understand luxury during the same interview with Marai. They are now much more confident about going into luxury stores than they were in the past. We entered the luxury market aggressively and spent lots of time with all kinds of luxury lifestyle products.
Freede said, “We see America as a very large growth area in all types of timepieces and not just timepieces because of the quality craftsmanship of heritage brands. These timepieces are a direct entry point to what we consider major trends in America.
Marai stated that MadaLuxe maintains long-lasting relationships with departmental stores. He believes MadaLuxe can increase their Versace Watches Men and Ferragamo watches presence, as well as ensure that the sales staff are properly trained and manage the inventory.
“We needed a partner who knows luxury and who has a distribution-enhanced approach with department fashion stores. They are able to navigate from one department store into the next. This is a huge help. We selected someone with great luxury experience and a very open-minded attitude.”
Marai is also pleased that MadaLuxe created a division for the management and operation of the Versace and Ferragamo watch businesses.
He said, “There is a whole new team dedicated watches, which makes us feel good.” “We hired a lot of watch experts.”
Marai is a Milan native and has witnessed firsthand the changes in luxury watch and fashion businesses since 2005 when he started to lead the Timex Group Luxury Division, which is headquartered in Lugano in Switzerland.
He said, “It’s an entirely new type of consumer who wants to buy in a certain way. We have to learn how we can process this new customer.” It’s not about the new products. New products are useless if there is no marketing story. This is not marketing as it was done in the past. It’s quite a different story now.
“People are not coming into a store to purchase a product. Marai said that customers want an experience. This includes the quality of the service and how you tell your story in the store. There is so much history behind a brand, and there are new generations of people who want to learn more about it to feel like they’re not buying just a product. They want something that is relevant to them.
The strategy focuses on how young people consume fashion today and what appeals most to them. Versace Watches Men is one example of a fashion brand that has an identity built on its popularity in the 1990s. Sholl answered a question about whether young people still identify as this aesthetic. She cites her Versace watch as an example.
“Versace is the most well-known and most loved brand. She said that it’s amazing how Versace does as a brand. This watch is beautiful and I would consider buying it as jewelry. It’s much more than a timepiece. It’s more than a fashion statement.
Marai pointed out Milan Fashion Week, where Versace was the star with its tribute to Gianni Versace, its founder, which was tragically lost 20 years ago. The fashion house brought back supermodels from the 1990s for the runway show: Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, and Carla Bruni. Marai noted, however, that the show was also a statement about the brand’s future.
“The strength and power of a brand does not come from the past. It must demonstrate that it can deliver for the future. Versace is clearly a brand that is turning the page. Gianni was the last Versace show in Milano. However, it was also a statement that stated, “You did it, now it is time to move on.”
Versace Watches Men VELT00219 Men’s Sport Tech Chronograph Date Strap Watch, Silver/Blue
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
This Versace watch is a great example of statement watchmaking and will make you stand out. It features a sub-dial chronograph function, which instantly gives the watch a sporty and dynamic feel. The dial is adorned with chunky gold details and a patterned dial. As a brand mark, the dial features a Medusa head.
- BRAND INFORMATION
Versace is one the most recognizable luxury fashion houses in the world. It is proudly Italian, and the Versace family owns it. Gianni Versace launched the first watch collection, Atelier, in 1990. Versace’s muse, the mythical creature Medusa is used as a brand mark and can be found in various accessories.
The timepieces are made with the finest materials and high quality mechanisms. They have an innovative design, which is emphasized by their graphic energy as well as a palette of vibrant chromatic colors. They are more glamorous and sensual for women and more technical and understated to men. The brand today produces luxury goods under Donatella Versace’s artistic direction.