Things clicked this year for Claudia and Giuseppe Ferro, the co-owners of Argento Fine Products.
Claudia says: “We have been working for over 20 years, introducing ?ne products, not necessarily known to most, but nonetheless of real value and aesthetically of sophisticated taste. Suddenly, this last year, what used to be niche seems to have become interesting to a lot more retailers.”
That’s been particularly true of Swiss watch brand Frédérique Constant, which saw UK sales lift 175% in 2012, only its second full year with Argento as its distributor. The brand itself has been quick to praise the Argento team, with Ralph Simmons, Frédérique Constant’s global head of sales telling us that previous distributors had not understood the best way to position it and always led with price. By contrast, the Ferros’ approach has been just right. First they sell it as a luxury brand to retailers, then they shock them with the price.
Argento will build on the success and next up is “sister brand” Alpina. “It [has] a great potential, too,” says Claudia. “We are now working to launch it in the UK, as its long history and the high quality of the watches at a very reasonable price offer an irresistible chemistry.”
It will be the latest in a long line of products that Argento is backing for UK success. But just how do they figure out which products will be successful?
Claudia says: “Well, we can’t say too much otherwise everyone will do it. We believe it’s a balance of many ingredients. We apply our attitude to food – it has to taste but also feel good.”
Sounds simple, of course, but in this easy statement is hidden a mixture of instinct and experience; things the Ferro duo has in spades. “We think it’s an on-going process of getting to know and getting known over the years, but also maintaining our integrity so that the right brands come along. You see, a brand is more than just a product.”
Looking ahead, the excitement is building. “At the top of our portfolio, Manufacture Royale is working on some important developments and, who knows, we might add an intriguing new range of timepieces.”
But the final word must be reserved for this remarkable partnership. Claudia says: “It’s one of those things that it either works or fails miserably; after 20 years it must mean it does work for us.”
Claudia Ferro and Giuseppe Ferro, Argento were selected as London Watch Show Power Players in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.