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INTERVIEW: Building an empire, with Goodman Bros

GB

Goodman Bros is an established family company focused on care. It has grown substantially over the last century, building a reputation based on education, support and quality, and bringing together a portfolio of impressive brands that can help take retailers’ service levels up a notch.

We speak to Philip Goodman at Goodman Bros to find out how the company has continued to expand in 2020 and how hospitable service will remain key to its success.

You have been an established family business since 1909, can you explain how the company has changed since then?
My great grandfather, also named Philip Goodman and his brother Jack emigrated from Scotland to South Africa where they formed Goodman Bros and became the first agents there for Omega and Tissot watches. Some of the brands which followed included, Audemars Piguet, Mont Blanc and Dunhill.

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My father David Goodman was the third generation where the company focused on service brands Hirsch and Connoisseurs. With Hot Diamonds he introduced branded jewellery to the South African market. Thomas Sabo, Nomination Italy and Engelsrufer were some of the other brands carried.

During this time retail experience was gained through owning multiband and flagship retail stores in South Africa.

In 2007 I, with my sister and mother, opened the first Thomas Sabo monoband franchise store in the UK in Cambridge which we owned for seven years.

During this period, we learnt a lot about the needs of a retailer and what they expect from a supplier.

We learnt how important service was to our business and by providing this we gave customers great experiences.

This led to improved customer retention, extra footfall, and incremental revenue streams.

The services which we introduced included Connoisseurs jewellery cleaning consultations and cleaning events as well as instant instore engraving, watch battery, and strap replacements.

To add retail theatre our sales team would always clean the new jewellery while packaging it. At this point the consumer would be educated that jewellery requires specialised care products.

The importance of homecare would be stressed in order to maintain, care, and protect the new purchase.

In addition, the consumer would be made aware of our professional instore services which we offered.

Through our successful experience selling Connoisseurs in the shop, we realised the huge potential that existed with this brand and how superior it is to competitors’ products.

In 2014 together with my brother-in-law Gavin Merrison we secured the Connoisseurs distribution for the UK and Ireland. Goodman Bros became the company name and so the fourth generation.

The foundations and focus of GBros remain: service, good value and quality brands.

During the last six years we have grown for zero customers to over 3,000 doors.

Because of the success achieved with Connoisseurs in the UK we became the European master distributors for Connoisseurs and global distributor for Lox.

Due to our service expertise we secured the agency for Inverness in the UK and Ireland as this is the ingredient necessary to make a success of this market-leading brand.

Which brands make up Goodman Bros and how did the company select each one?
GB has always been very selective on the brands that it represents. Their brands have always been the world leaders in their field and those that have never compromised on quality.

This has been the defining feature sought after when choosing which brands to approach. The GB logo defines itself today as “The Service Brand Company”.

All the brands carried are service orientated the levels of which are enhanced by GB own philosophy.

What support do you offer your retailers and across what level?
Goodman Bros supports their partners on every level. This includes staff training, national advertising, staff incentives and promotional events.

Display and marketing material is provided for all the brands in order to ensure that every opportunity is taken advantage of.

GB expertise offers solutions for retailers to their service problems by using their exclusive and unique brands. Customers can generate extra revenue with added value sales to maximise every transaction.

Extra footfall can be driven to their stores by offering the best service and we agree with the notion that “people buy from people first”.

The best customer experiences can be created through great service such as ear-piercing and jewellery cleaning which will create lasting positive memories and associations.

Full support and easy ordering systems are provided telephonically, by e-mail or via the new B2B platform with delivery times of two to three working days.

As part of our continued support, we have dedicated account managers here at Goodman Bros.

This means that we are on hand to assist all partners from training, stock management, point of sales, ordering and other marketing materials.

Partners can also choose a preferred method of contact. We aim to make business as flexible as possible for them. Our goal is to communicate faster and a time that suits them and their business.

Communication can be flexible and interactive, from FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, to pre-recorded videos. Appointment bookings can be scheduled outside of trading hours with your account manager.

What brands are suited to what size company? For example, would a smaller retailer benefit from a certain brand better than a larger chain?
GB customer list consists of all sizes of companies and the turnover is equally spread throughout them all. Through the versatility of all the brands and the level of service provided to all our customers, GB have success with all sizes of customers.

During the last six years we have grown from zero customers to over 3,000 doors”

The key that affects the success of each customer is the enthusiasm they have to profit from the service category. All that is required is for the retailer to identify and embrace the service opportunity that exists and GB will find an offering that addresses it.

A unique and appropriate solution can be found for a single store as well as for a chain store with hundreds of branches. The best ongoing customers are those that have seen the value that the GB brands bring to their businesses and how providing service benefits them.

The services available to retailers can add real value to their portfolio – can you give an example where retailers have added a new revenue stream through your services?
Ear-piercing was traditionally a service provided more or less exclusively by the jewellers. Over the years this business was taken over by gift stores who specialised in it.

Since taking on the Inverness brand GB have reminded the jewellery trade of this service and why it is so valuable for them to offer it.

Inverness, due to its superior quality, provides the jewellers with the perfect brand with which to satisfy this market. With GB providing the service and marketing, every aspect with which to easily re-enter this market is taken care of.

Ears cannot be pierced remotely so this is a certain way to get consumers into the stores. The demand for piercing ears has never weakened and in fact with the trend for multiple piercings the opportunity has never been better.

As documented in the article about Matthew Stephens in PJ (November 2020), a real-life example demonstrates that monthly turnover of over £4,000 to £5,000 p.m. has been achieved. Along with this there all the advantages of 400 customers coming to the shop in order to have this done who would have gone elsewhere.

What have been some of the success stories this year for the business?
The number of retailers stocking Lox secure earring backs continued to grow as they realised how valuable and versatile the product is due to effectiveness and affordability.

Lox keeps your earrings safe and secure, fits any earrings including studs, screw backs and swan necks.

The Covid epidemic has resulted in face masks being worn. This has resulted in many more earrings getting snagged and lost. This problem has led to an astronomical increase in the sales of Lox which stop this from happening.

Cleaning is on the forefront of everybody’s mind and is more important than ever at present. Connoisseurs has benefitted as consumers are asking how best to clean jewellery and watches. This has led to a general increase in demand for all the specialised products in the range.

What are the future plans in 2021 for each brand?

Connoisseurs and Lox
With over 2,500 doors in the U.K and Ireland our focus is to continue to grow the business which is untapped with our existing distribution. Our challenge is convincing more of our existing partners to take advantage of the opportunity for sales growth which exists. This has been proven by individual stores selling over 300 products per month.

Connoisseurs and Lox Europe
Goal here is to find a distribution partner for Germany and other countries where we currently do not have one.

Inverness
Aim is to get more retailers back into the lucrative piercing business and double our doors in 2021.

B Protect and PolyWatch
Wherever watches, watch batteries and straps are being sold these products offer the opportunity to easily increase revenue and service levels.

ABOUT GOODMAN BROS’ EXCLUSIVE BRANDS

CONNOISSEURS | Makes Jewellery Sparkle!
Essential jewellery care products which clean, polish and protect. Connoisseurs are the world leaders in jewellery care. For generations professional jewellers have been using Connoisseurs products to clean jewellery and watches. Connoisseurs cleaners are formulated to clean every type of jewellery safely and effectively. The brand is established in over 60 nations throughout the world. Connoisseurs is renowned for its product innovation and has transformed the jewellery care industry with products such as the Jewellery Wipes and Diamond Dazzle Stik. Connoisseurs products are fast, convenient, and effective.

INVERNESS
Inverness is The World’s Safest & Gentlest Ear-Piercing System. Inverness allows jewellers the opportunity to enter the piercing business seamlessly. Now jewellers can pierce with confidence, offering a professional, premium, and unique piercing service to their customers.
Our system safely and quickly piercers ears in 3 easy steps using a gentle, hand-pressured instrument and sterile, pre-sealed, hypoallergenic piercing earrings. 1.Clean… 2. Mark… 3. Pierce
Only Inverness has fully enclosed sterile earring capsules and exclusive Inverness safest back TM.

LOX | Secure Earring Backs & Watch Integrity and Hygiene Seal
Inventors of the Secure Earring Back and Jewellery and Watch Integrity and Hygiene Seal. Patented, British design and manufacture. Secure Earring Backs are hypo-allergenic, non-slip, comfortable, safe, and secure. Unique integrity and hygiene seals allows jewellers to offer the best service and close more sales.

POLYWATCH | Time to Shine
The specialist in the sector of innovative surface technology for watches. Setting new standards in use, application ease, environmental compatibility, and product marketing.

polyWatch | Watch Protecter and Plastic Polish.
B PROTECT | Premium Watch Glass Protection
B Protect Watch Glass Protectors are pioneers in watch protection films, providing durable watch glass and watch surface protection for traditional and smart watches.
• Ultra-Clear
• Scratch Resistant
• Water Resistant
• Anti-Fingerprint Design

Tags : Goodman BrosPhilip Goodman
Sam Lewis

The author Sam Lewis

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