1. What is your company’s background story?
2.What impact has the pandemic had on your activities?
3. Is there still a promising future for independent watch distributors?
4. What investments in e-commerce look most promising to your company?
“In a post-Brexit UK, our role is even more valuable”
Monica Porracin, The Blue Company
In: United Kingdom
Brands: Doxa, Junghans, Maurice Lacroix, MeisterSinger, Mühle-Glashütte, Scatola del Tempo, SwissKubiK
1. I am the founder and managing director of The Blue Company, a watch and watch accessories distribution company, established in London in 2008. I started the company from scratch, as a foreigner and a woman with no industry connections or experience, in a male-dominated environment. However, I was lucky to be in the country of opportunity, the aptly named “Great” Britain, a meritocratic land where nationality or gender do not count for much. The segment we are active in is the mid-luxury bracket with fine watch brands whose price goes from £500 up to £10,000.
A significant milestone was the addition of Junghans to our portfolio seven years ago. Under our management, the brand was nominated for “The Rising Star of the Year” award in 2015,
I felt that was also the moment we received recognition for our work as a distributor in the UK market, from both retailers and brands. All the brands in our portfolio have a distinctive DNA and a rich heritage; this is by design and not by chance.
2. The UK is known to be an extremely advanced country when it comes to online platforms, and consumers here are very comfortable purchasing online, whether it is food or cars, which
has put this country in an advantageous position throughout the pandemic. Dynamic retailers have adapted very quickly to the situation and we have clients who have been able to ride
the wave and grow sales in 2020 despite everything. March and April 2020 registered a slow-down in sales for us, but from May 2020 onwards we went back to a “normal” monthly turnover and
even grew, registering a +10% growth at the end of the year.
3. I strongly believe there is a future for distributors. In the UK most of the major brands have their own offices in London. However, there are still independent watch brands out there
which prefer to work through distributors rather than open their own branches. As a watch brand, if you want to open a branch in the UK, it must be in London, and possibly in the
most exclusive addresses, which have a very high cost, and this is not something that is feasible or worth doing for every brand. This means there is still a necessity and space for a distributor to be in the game. And today, in a post-Brexit UK, the role of the distributor is even more valuable if the brand doesn’t have a presence in the UK, as they are the one sorting all the issues connected
to customs clearance once goods from Europe land in the UK. It is essential for a brand to have a representative who knows and understands the market. It is unrealistic to believe a brand in a country can be managed directly from a head office in Switzerland or Germany.
4. Currently, our web page is just a small step up from a digital business card. We don’t plan an aggressive development through e-commerce, we leave that to our dealers who are the experts. We have recently started to build up our e-shop, but we don’t aim to take any business from our partners; the aim is to increase visibility of the brands and direct traffic back to retailers.
EUROPA STAR summer issue 2021