HOT 100 2014: Robert Stewart, Stewarts

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In the past Robert Stewart has described his business as “just on a small street in Leicester” competing with a London-centric UK watch industry, but of late something has changed – Stewart’s The Watch Company, with its alternative offering of niche watch brands, has gone national.

“The encouraging thing has been seeing the business flourish as not just a local watch store but a national watch store,” he says. “So much of our business now comes from all over the UK and with the work we have done with our website, this has really turned our business into a national destination.”

And people are buying, with Robert reporting dramatic growth as he moves into his fourth year of trading. “Being only three-and-a-half years old, and starting completely from scratch, it was very difficult to get a firm idea of how things would go, but from the past 12 months of trading, it is clear that the business has shown the potential for what I originally hoped,” he says.

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Robert, who enjoys spending his evenings sipping whisky and listening to records, or cycling and cooking healthy food when he feels like he should be investing in a bit of healthy living, believes that the success of his business model has been to offer something fresh. He prides himself on offering watches that can’t be found elsewhere, such as the fledgling Habring² for which Stewart’s is the only UK stockist.

He admits that taking on brands such as this can be risky but the strategy is paying dividends as the store gains a reputation amongst watch connoisseurs for offering something a little more exciting than your average watch shop. And what’s life without a little risk and excitement?

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