HOT 100 2013: Robin Kamal, WatchHub

Robin Kamal is ahead of the times. That is what sets him apart. He’s also a realist and something of a battler. 

As the founder of WatchHub he has spent three years building up a business that is taking a steadily increasing share of the e-tail spend on watches, despite the many hurdles in his way.

“In spring of last year a piece I wrote for WatchPro talked about how the big brands would be gunning for the online discounters,” recalls Robin. “I’m not sure everyone saw that coming but it’s happening now.”

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He continues to talk about how the brands are taking more control than ever before, how every brand from the high end to the fashion level is looking to sell only alongside suitable adjacencies. “The danger is that eventually all retailers will have similar offers,” he argues. “If that trend develops to a point where the retail watch offer is more or less homogenised wherever you look, then that will have a big impact on the best ways to retail watches.”

He says that for starters there will be no way to win on price. All the other retail factors will become more important, like imagination and personality – two areas that WatchHub majors on.

“It’s good news for us because we can differentiate ourselves but if the big companies are sweeping the industry with a big brush then we may lose some of the smaller guys.” For now, Robin is happy to keep on pushing his non-corporate business forward.

In six months time, WatchHub will be rebranded. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes in our growing period,” says Robin, exhibiting typical candour. “The rebrand is our opportunity to put all those things right.” Like invigorating the store with new SKUs on a more regular basis and even revisiting the logo.

He notes too that the site will be more interactive. “That’s all I can say about it at the moment because as far as I know ours will be the only site in our industry to use this feature.” Once again Robin, and his ever-evolving business is forging ahead of the herd.

The Retail Titans category was sponsored by Bremont.

To see the full version of WatchPro Hot 100 2013, click here. 

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