A sustainable feel good factor
CEO at Inspecs Group, Robin Totterman, tells OT about improving design, quality and service levels
Can you tell me three interesting facts about Inspecs Group?
- Inspecs Group was founded in London in 1988 and has traditionally been known as the British eyewear design house. Since 2017, the company has secured a massively enhanced international presence, having acquired the French-Asian Killine Group and its Far East manufacturing facilities. This means that the Inspecs Group designs and licenses from its UK and European headquarters in Bath and Lisbon, produces in London, Vietnam and China, and distributes from further global offices in the US, Hong Kong and Sweden
- The company is proud of the personal service we our offer to our customers and our happy team culture. We won Wylde IA’s Happiest Workplace Award 2018. A large body of our key staff will be familiar to customers, as they’ve given long service to Inspecs Group, often upwards of 10 years. Our staff take huge pride in providing a friendly, helpful and flexible service to all customers, big and small, around the world
- Inspecs Group sales representatives carry all of our branded eyewear collections, so when you make an appointment to see your local representative, you can view all commercial eyewear for every consumer group in one meeting. For ladies and petite fit, Inspec Group produces beautiful Radley frames. For an extra-large fit, there’s Caterpillar. Those looking for something fashionable should look to Superdry or our new men’s brand Farah. If luxury is an area that serves your consumer well, 18kt gold Savile Row frames, handmade in London, will fit the bill. And for licensing production, Killine is the industry pioneer, with the best and biggest selection of frames at many price points.
What makes your eyewear unique?
Inspecs Group has a recipe that our customers tell us is industry-unique. Our eyewear is designed, licensed and produced in-house. This means we can guarantee the traceability of each and every frame we supply. Our organisation is ISO:9001-accredited and this culture of benchmark standards runs through every area of the organisation. From on-brand, commercial product and marketing support materials, through to the personal service levels that our sales and operations teams offer our customers, we are here to support and grow our partners’ businesses.
Inspecs is proud of the personal service we our offer to our customers and our happy team culture
What is the latest collection that Inspecs Group has released and why does it stand out from the crowd?
The latest brand launch is the men’s Farah collection. Farah eyewear combines the classics of menswear with contemporary style, perfect for confident and culturally savvy men across the UK. It features the injection of colour, detailing and British identity that Farah is known for.
How are your customers responding to the latest eyewear styles?
We’ve just completed our autumn/winter show programme in Paris and Hong Kong, launching new branded collections and innovative concepts into our licensing offer. Our customers across both branded and licensing are placing more orders than ever before for the coming year, which tells us that we are hitting the mark for design, price and the quality that our customers seek out from a trusted eyewear partner.
How did Inspecs Group celebrate its 30th anniversary?
In our 30th anniversary year we were delighted to win the Happiest Workplace Award 2018. Having grown from its origins in a tiny London office in 1988 into a global company with 1300 staff and a portfolio of international brands, it was a huge honour to win an award that celebrates the culture of the organisation. A new signature design for our Bath, Lisbon and Hong Kong showrooms has been installed to showcase our work and welcome our clients. A new staff room was unveiled in December featuring British design furnishings and lighting that we were awarded for winning the award.
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?
To stay relevant in an ever-evolving market place.
People simply want more for their money, which means that we have to continuously seek to improve on design, quality and service levels. At the same time, we need to maintain a sustainable feel good factor within the company to help achieve these improvements.
Manufacturing brings a new set of challenges, which helps us be more proactive in the way we run the branded side of the business.
What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future and why?
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has been a key feature of the business landscape across all sectors for the past three years. We invested in an Inspecs European headquarters in Lisbon to offer our continental customers absolute certainty and stability, and allow our organisation to plan for the future regardless of the outcome in the coming months.
Are there any new products in development that customers should be aware of?
There are always new products in development. Some were unveiled at Mido, with more to be shared at Silmo 2019. Our design teams are constantly coming up with new and innovative solutions for both branded and licensed eyewear. Recent work with the trend forecasting agency, WGSN, means our teams are looking ahead to 2020 and beyond – so watch this space.
What are your predictions for eyewear trends this year?
We have noticed a surge in sales for our branded prescription sunglasses collections at affordable pricing under the Superdry, Radley, Farah and O’Neill brands. The consumer is seeking out fashionable alternatives to the traditional prescription sun offering. Inspecs provides branded display units and fully supported marketing materials with all prescription sun sales.
The movement towards sustainable production leads our consumer to be more interested in elements of natural materials like wood and acetate. But at the same time, we see a fascination with the digital world and precision, high-technology materials. On-trend colour and thoughtful print placement will be a feature of our eyewear collections this year.