Behind the brand

Preparing for the unknown

CEO of Marcolin, Massimo Renon, and managing director for UK, Ireland and Nordics, James Gotch, tell OT  about its relationship with customers and UK investment

Victoria's Secret Eyewear

Can you tell me three interesting facts about Marcolin?

  • The company is known worldwide for the partnership we have with Tom Ford, but what people don’t know is that Tom Ford expressly wanted to sign a long-term agreement until 2029. That is a unique case in our profession
  • Marcolin is one of the few companies, if not the only one, with almost 95% of licence brands. We are the preferred partner to produce and develop brands in the eyewear category
  • Marcolin wants to be the number one eyewear company in terms of sustainable and eco-friendly policies. This is a target for the company in the next few months.

What makes Marcolin unique?

Massimo Renon (MR): The relationship we have with our customers is the key factor of success for Marcolin. Most of our clients will tell you that although Marcolin is not the biggest company, the relationship is strong and we are loyal. This is what we believe is our strength.

Marcolin Swarovski frame SK0257
Swarovski ‘SK0257’ by Marcolin

What are the company’s UK plans for the next 12 months? 

James Gotch (JG): The UK is a really key market for Marcolin. It is tough retailers in general with escalating rents, wage costs, migration between offline and online, and customers trying to find their way amongst that. But it is a moment in which Marcolin has decided to invest. We’ve built a showroom in central London, strengthened by our customer service teams and we’re putting a lot of our energy into being closer than ever before to our customers. When our customers face a challenge, it’s time for us to face it with them and to build a real partnership.

We’re expecting underlying growth in the core business. We’re starting to see a greater interest than ever in Marcolin. Historically, we’ve been known as the Tom Ford guys, but our expectations for growth are from our wider portfolio of brands. We have a list of brands that are globally relevant and particularly strong in the UK market.

The relationship we have with our customers is the key factor of success for Marcolin

CEO of Marcolin, Massimo Renon

What external factors are the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?

JG: We’re thinking very carefully about Brexit. The challenge surrounding this issue is preparing for the unknown. It is destabilising for our customers to have uncertainty. The point is less about what we do materially post-Brexit but how we support customers in a time of uncertainty. 

Also, we’re thinking about how we help our customers navigate the changing retail landscape. It is tough when stores close left, right and centre because of migration between different channels. What customers are looking for is a strong partnership in service levels, brands and the agility to help them. During this uncertainty, we will be listening closely and assessing what the market needs.

What is the latest Marcolin launch?

MR: We launched Adidas at Silmo, which is a four-year partnership. The brand is strong and it gives us the opportunity to work in two different streams. Adidas Original is about streetwear and lifestyle, while Adidas Badge of Sport is about technical performance. Both segments can reach the same consumer.

We also presented new styles for our existing portfolio brands, such as Guess and Swarovski, as well as Omega and Longines, plus Victoria’s Secret.