HOT 100 2013: Tom Kennett, Kennett

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He’s still comfortably under 30 years old but Tom Kennett has single handedly set up his own brand of fashion-forward watches and swiftly turned plenty of heads in the trade.

You can credit his mix of switched-on design and an experimental approach to marketing that has seen him get his watches on plenty of A-list wrists and organise media-grabbing events like the flashmob at Glasgow Central Station that fizzed viral-style through inboxes. It has all helped contribute to the whirlwind of fuss over this young man’s company.

He, though, is fairly relaxed about it all. “I guess we have had a lot of change, a lot of things going on, lots of press and – for those that look – visible growth. We have lots of good potential.”

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This year he has whipped up international interest and started selling through Debenhams online and Watchshop.com, helping to create a sales hike of 35% to 40% year on year. He has doubled the size of the range from 25 styles to 50 and is taking it to Las Vegas trade show JCK to target the US market.

And the brand is maturing. He is even distancing it from some of its frothier elements, like the celebs. Instead he is growing a list of sports ambassadors and has people on the books that are “a bit more controllable – celebs aren’t”. He adds: “You can’t get them to behave how you want and they can be as damaging as they are beneficial. Plus we’re not a fashion fad so it’s not bad to move away from that.”

Fashion fads are definitely not Tom’s thing. Despite his youth, he has run a business before, the doomed clothing range Tkizzle (his youthful nickname). He is pretty open about its failure and says if it weren’t for that chastening experience – he was left with some debt to clear – then Kennett would not be such a success.

He may be young but he is dazzlingy mature in his outlook. And now he is transferring that sense of sophistication to the watches too, this year launching the first Swiss-made collection in time for December retail. Tom and his brand are growing up fast.

 

Kennett founder Tom Kennet was an Entrepreneur 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.

 

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