Hot 100 2013: Jane Paine, Fish Brothers

What can you say about Jane Paine? As soon as we got in touch to ask about a location for her WatchPro Hot 100 portrait she was on the phone to Chelsea Football Club enquiring whether the pitch was free to use. Remarkable, considering she’s not connected to the club and is just a fan – albeit a remarkably devoted one. 

It’s that sort of think-big mentality, wed to an utterly infectious enthusiasm, that has marked her out for a cast iron spot in this list. For, as marketing director for Fish Brothers, she has helped a relatively modest retail footprint to punch way above its weight this year. “It’s more about ambition than size,” she says. “And we have big ambitions.”

Over this year those ambitions have translated into very real successes with Jane masterminding a series of pop-up shops and events that have turned heads in the trade and – crucially – got customers’ feet through the door, particularly at its Charles Fish branch in Canary Wharf, a bellwether store that has helped Fish Brothers to scale up its average sale. Where £5,000 was once its marquee price, those transactions are now three- and sometimes five- times higher, helping the company to post an 11% year-on-year hike for the first quarter of this financial year on a comparable volume of unit sales. She explains that a carefully curated line up of slightly unusual premium watch brands has helped the store to become a destination. But it has been her energetic, detail-obsessed and innovative marketing that has seen it get the word out.

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With a seamless approach to all platforms, she has got the social media and online messages, press involvement and brand tie-ups all helping to, in her words, “amplify everything to maximum value”. She says her biggest breakthrough moments were when international brands – notably Zenith and Hublot – came to trust her and Fish Brothers with such depth they earnestly support her plans. And, of course, help fund them.

Fish Brothers is a dual business, with pawnbroking running alongside retail. Jane is passionate about both and next year the company will build the pawnbroking business and hopefully take it online. What else? “We will add new watch brands to the list and develop the own brand jewellery. Finally, we’re getting the website firing on all cylinders. There’s a lot on our plate but that’s how we like it.”

So – what can you say about Jane Paine? Simply this: if you haven’t got a Jane of your own, do try to get one.

The Retail Titans category was sponsored by Bremont.

To see the digital version of the Hot 100, click here

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