HOT 100 2013: Ron Jones and Kelly Best, Signet

Jones and Best: sounds a bit like the latest maverick crime fighting duo to hit your Saturday evening TV schedules doesn’t it? But if you’re into watches, this duo’s job is more important than that. 

Much more important. Because Ron Jones and Kelly Best are the powerhouse buying duo that put together the watch offer for Signet’s H Samuel and Ernest Jones stores. And that means what they do pretty much defines what most people see as a typical high street watch offer.

The responsibility is not lost on them. Ron says: “It is not something you take lightly. Satisfied customers are the motivation, reward and benchmark for the way we work.”

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And Ron can chart some serious success. Indeed he says his greatest achievement is the introduction of and perennial growth of the fashion watch category since 1996.

So we had to ask – just how does he source the brands and how does he know they will work at retail? “Knowledge of the watch industry, the people and experience – both good and bad,” he says. “Plus remembering that retail is detail.”
He adds shoppers look for a balance of the same three things depending on the individual: brand, cosmetic design and price.

Kelly says that gender does nuance that process. “Men are brand driven. They like technology and something a bit different to talk about down the pub. Women, however, buy more on emotion; they want something that looks nice first – brand and price come in second to looks.”

With all these things in mind, she teases that the next 12 months will be exciting and she is looking forward to introducing some new brands to the UK.

By the way, when we asked Kelly what she would be if she had an alternative career she said: “Probably a detective. I have always been fascinated by crime investigation and so would have also loved a career in the police.” Ron said lawyer. So there you go, maybe there was something in that crimefighting duo after all…

This article first appeared in the WatchPro Hot 100. To see the digital version of the book, click here

Retail Titans was sponsored by Bremont.

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