For Ashley Pugh the past year has been all about embracing new horizons and keeping up with the ever-increasing pace of business. As an authorised Rolex and Omega dealer, Ashley has the luxury watch market sewn up in Eastbourne through 130-year-old W Bruford, but he also has the fashion watch market in hand with spin-off retail venture Inspired by Brufords.
This newer fascia has two stores in the Eastborne Arndale Centre: one dedicated to fashion-forward jewels and the other to zeitgeist-capturing watches, although Ashley has “pivotal” plans to merge the two into a single megastore housing more than 40 brands.
With a strong offer secured at both ends of the market, Ashley has turned his attention to the web. “Coming from a traditional retail background it has been really challenging to do business in this completely different way,” admits Ashley. “We are just about to launch our third version of the sites and feel we are now just about getting it right. It has taken a team of three people several months to get to this stage.”
One member of that team is Ashley’s 18-year-old son Ben, who has been putting his A level in computer software development to good use. He has also been joined by 19-year-old brother Harry, who is learning the ropes on the shopfloor.
“I hope that they get the bug and feel the passion for the business that I have,” says Ashley, whose other passion is golf (one his watch brand contacts are more than happy to help him indulge) “I was fortunate enough to play in the BMW Pro Am at Wentworth last year as a guest of Rolex. It was probably the most nerve-racking thing I have done and certainly the most challenging. I actually played with Matteo Manissero, and the chance to walk around the course and see that level of commitment and concentration was most inspiring.”