Brexit Q&A: Leon Rhodes – Country Manager, Obaku

Leon Rhodes, UK manager for Obaku.

WatchPro: How has ‘Brexit’ affected Obaku, both in the UK and the rest of the world?

Leon Rhodes: Obaku is represented in more than 60 countries worldwide, but is only just starting up in the UK market place. For Obaku as such, Brexit has not as of yet had a direct effect on our international sales, as those are mainly driven by the more or less favourable local market fluctuations. Naturally Brexit has contributed to a larger degree of uncertainty in our markets, that are already plagued by many uncertainties. July 1 2016 Obaku took over the direct sales to the UK, delivering from our warehouse in Denmark. Due to Brexit we may have to change to a UK stock location sooner than we expected, as international trade may become harder in the years to come. However, the direct and practical impacts of Brexit in that respect are yet to be seen. In regards to placing our brand with independent UK retailers, so far this is going beyond expectations, and the sell-through in the stores are extremely good. So if Brexit has affected the UK independent retailers, we have so far not felt it for Obaku.

 

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WP: What are the biggest challenges that Obaku currently faces?

LR: In the UK Obaku is just starting up, and our biggest challenge for the years to come will be to get the right market coverage. We know from experience that if we can enter a store with the right collection, on the right displays, merchandised in the correct way, Obaku will sell through. I am excited about this challenge ahead because I know, once the success stories start spreading, more doors will open for us, and I look forward to Obaku having the exposure in the UK that we have in many other markets worldwide.

 

WP: What changes have you noticed taking place within the watch industry?

LR: Lately new brands have been popping up ‘out of nowhere’. Targeted at a younger fashion audience and driven by social media, some of these new brands are actually great for the watch industry in general, as they get fashionistas interested in wearing watches again.

 

WP: How has Obaku adapted to these changes?

LR: At Obaku we are really happy to have a great following on social media and to work with several different fashion bloggers.

 

WP: How important will the UK watch industry be for Obaku in the next 12 months?

LR: With the fantastic start Obaku has had with our new launch in the UK, we expect the UK to become one of our most important markets in a very short time span. The interest for Obaku from stores and end-consumers has been tremendous so far, and we are very excited to build the brand in the UK over the year ahead.

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