The Ice-Watch has simply exploded in the UK and the man behind it is Paul Harry, sales and marketing director of distributor Pees Hardy. Remarkably the whole thing got started off the back of a friendly recommendation.
“The brand was recommended to us by an old friend and colleague who had been working with the ?rst distributor for Ice-Watch. He didn’t feel that their structure was right to support the brand as necessary and my MD and I met with the Ice-Watch owners and put the Peers Hardy distribution agreement together. That was nearly four years ago.”
But how did he know he could make it a success? “Although not watch specialists at that time, we loved the passion that the owner Jean-Pierre Lutgen and his team had for the brand. Their passion has been the major factor in the Ice-Watch global success. As for the UK, the time was certainly right for a dedicated colour watch brand which was accessible in terms of distribution and price with a genuine brand identity.”
And the future for Ice-Watch, he says is more marketing, which will be good news for stockists. But do not imagine that Peers Hardy is a one trick pony – or for that matter a one-brand company. Far from it. “In addition to the growth of Ice-Watch, we have built on the successful launch of Radley watches with the brand challenging the sales numbers of more established watch brands of many years standing. We are also building our own brands and have paid special attention to the kids market with the development of new products and the signing of some very well known licenses.”
He has certainly got the hang of this watch retail business and has just inked two deals that could just see him replicate the Ice-Watch success story. We have just signed two new distribution agreements, one for Daniel Wellington, one of the fastest growing new brands in Scandinavia, and the other Betsey Johnson, a quirky US designer. We always ensure that new brands complement our portfolio rather than compete with brands we already take care of.” It sounds complementary indeed.
Ice-Watch sales & marketing director Paul Harry was a CMJ Brand Champion 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.