After leaving university Mark Ryder bulldozed through 15 jobs – some for as long as a year, most for a matter of months – before finally settling on a job he liked. But once he found that coveted position, he stuck fast and has now been working at Swico for seven years.
Mark started his career at the company working with brands Lacoste and Tommy but for the past five years he has been charged with building up oversized watch brand TW Steel in the UK, and says it has been quite the whirlwind ever since.
“I’d been at Swico for about a year and was asked just to help out with TW Steel and it grew from there,” he says.
A start as a helping hand soon escalated and Mark is now TW Steel’s UK brand manager. “It has grown so quickly. It’s an exciting brand and I enjoy it because it’s new. It is headed up by Jordy Cobelens, who is only 30, and he likes to do things differently, and you can make your stamp.”
Exciting stamp-making projects for Mark have included strong partnerships with morotsports, and Mark says that signing as a sponsor with F1 in 2009 had a seismic impact on sales. “It made people take it seriously as a brand, believe that it is here to stay. A lot of brands come and go. F1 made people realise the size of the brand globally.”
This year the brand has switched tack somewhat and has struck up an alliance with Hollywood, becoming the official UK watch partner of the latest Superman movie Man of Steel, something that Mark describes as “really good for us”.
Despite describing his extracurricular life when first asked as “pretty boring really”, Mark is a bit of a Man of Steel himself, or at least an Iron Man. He is a triathalon junkie, and squeezed in 25 hours a week of training around his working life for last year’s Iron Man competition in Nottingham. He is also a qualified sailor and rides a motorbike. Good thing his wife has just qualified as a doctor.
And for him, TW Steel is also in training. As a young brand he believes the only way is up and when asked about how the future looks for the company, he answers excited “pretty good”.
TW Steel UK brand manager Mark Ryder was a CMJ Brand Champion in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.