Fossil Group's head of brand for Michael Kors shares her views.
Professional Jeweller: Tell us more about Michael Kors as a brand and about the involvement of Mr Michael Kors in the collections.
Zoe Uhrmacher: Michael Kors formed his fashion label and launched his ladies clothing collection in 1981 and it wasn’t until 2006 when the watches were launched. Since this time more and more facets of his collection have been introduced and jewellery was one of them. Michael Kors is a designer lifestyle brand and therefore each classification of the collection; be it watches, jewellery, sunglasses or clothing is to build on the ‘Jet Set’ world of Michael Kors — enabling the brand to be both desirable and accessible for everyone.
A huge success for the brand has been the fashionable designs, phenomenal marketing campaigns and the incredible celebrity following. Michael Kors himself has a huge influence on all the seasonal collections. Michael is honorary chairman and chief creative officer at Michael Kors and continues to drive the vision and inspiration behind the brand. This is a key factor to the success of the brand today.
PJ: Are there any particular jewellery lines that are driving sales at the moment?
ZU: Wrist wear is a key sales driver for the jewellery, with some of our most successful lines being the Padlock bangle and the Astor bracelet. There are a lot of influences within the jewellery that are also reflected within the Michael Kors handbag ranges – such as the padlock – and this has proven to be a great success. Michael Kors jewellery is the perfect complement to a Michael Kors watch and handbag. The affordable and attractive price points also make the jewellery a great first step to a girls Michael Kors collection — gifting is a very strong element and a key focus for us in the future.
PJ: Are retailers encouraged to stock both jewellery and watches? How does that process work?
ZU: The application for watches and jewellery are totally separate; if a store stocks Michael Kors watches they will still need to apply for the jewellery. It may be that some watch stores are declined for jewellery and in other instances some jewellery retailers with the correct adjacencies are approved for the jewellery and not the watches. This protects the brand integrity and ensures we protect and control distribution.
PJ: How do you see the brand developing in the coming months?
ZU: There is still a great amount to come from Michael Kors. The plans for the jewellery and watches are extremely exciting and the collections continue to evolve. You can expect a lot of supporting brand awareness campaigns, retailer collaborations and first to market activity. Now that we have reached this phenomenal level of sales success we are going do all that we can to strategically continue to grow. This actually applies to all of the Michael Kors categories.
PJ: Do you think jewellery sales will ever compete with watch sales?
ZU: All that I will say is that we have seen fourdigit growth and the jewellery collection is still in its infancy. The jewellery sales have taken everyone by surprise. Who knows what the future holds, but the team work extremely hard to help make the brand what it is today and we still see huge potential for both jewellery and the watches.
PJ: How significant is rose gold in the jewellery collections — considering how popular it has been in the watch category?
ZU: Interestingly the significance is virtually the same across both jewellery and watches.
PJ: What brands do you see serious competitors or has the brand achieved such recognition that it no longer needs to focus on the ‘competition’?
ZU: I don’t think that you can ever disregard the competition, whether it be an existing or emerging brand. At the end of the day we all want the best space and distribution possible. We spend a lot of time analysing the market and developing our strategies accordingly.
This interview originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Professional Jeweller. Read it here.