HOT 100 2014: Annette Allen, Source Watches

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Last year marked a turning point for Annette Allen. After 15 years of designing watches for other people, she finally launched her own brand, and just a year into its development it has already achieved international success.

Annette spent seven years as a designer at Peers Hardy Group before setting up her own business, Source Watches, eight years ago. The company offers bespoke watch design and production for some of the leading high street retailers, and has given Annette plenty of experience with which to step out with her own brand OWL.
“My single greatest business achievement has been taking OWL watches to market,” says Annette, who has juggled the launch with bringing up two small daughters. “As my own brand, which I’ve designed, it was very personal to me.”

Annette was delighted to discover that this very personal collection resonated with UK watch buyers, and the brand soon snapped up a number of accounts with quality independents as well as some larger clients such as Debenhams.

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But when you’re a high flier like Annette (she undertook her first skydive in October), you don’t just stop at your home turf. “I took OWL to Hong Kong to exhibit and also had a great response,” she says. “From this I have delivered stock into Korea, Hong Kong and have two Japanese distributors interested in the brand.”
Annette has plans to extend OWL’s reach even further over the next year, setting out all the groundwork for a great British watch export in the making.

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