Guess the year: Charles married Diana, the first London Marathon took place, Bucks Fizz won Eurovision and Mark Winter went from market stall to wholesale when he set up Inter City Watch Company. No? OK Mark, take it away…
“I set up the business in 1981 and it grew from a wholesale business to importing. We started with private label, moving into branded products and licences, and the business continues to offer these services today on a bigger scale. I’m proud to say ICG still remains owner managed, which sets us aside from most other watch businesses in the UK.”
He has every right to be proud and this year has brought yet more success. He points to a fruitful BaselWorld that delivered a significant increase in international sales and meanwhile he continued to add to the portfolio of brands that makes Inter City Group such a successful fashion operation today.
With Police, Timberland, Ben Sherman, Lipsy, French Connection, Morgan and Oasis already included in an impressive line-up of labels, he has added the rapidly maturing Superdry to his stable of licences and picks out the latest Karen Millen collection for special praise. Just a quick glance at such a list and you can see he has brands that speak to a huge spread of demographics, making most of the UK potential customers.
Add to that the dedicated brand Roamer and in 32 short years he has built up a company that is impressively creative and productive.
But how do you balance such a weighty portfolio brands? “With a strong design and management and careful planning. We have built our standalone watch design studio into what I, and many in the industry, believe to be the strongest in the UK. We also have teams dedicated to specific brands to ensure they have a thorough knowledge and great relationships with those brands.”
He speaks with genuine enthusiasm about the people he has working with him and so it is little surprise when he says his proudest career achievement is those people. “To have a strong, loyal and dedicated team makes the business what
Mark Winter was selected as a London Watch Show Power Player 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.