Obaku is a Scandinavian watch brand that appears to be flying in the face of any post-Brexit doom-mongering. WatchPro’s publisher Daniel Malins caught up with its UK country manager Leon Rhodes to find out what the magic formula is.
WatchPro: How has the launch of Obaku gone so far?
Leon Rhodes: We’ve had a fantastic launch. We are working with many forward-thinking retailers – retailers who appreciate the importance of replenishing best-sellers regularly; this increases their sell through enormously. Our Air-towers, counters and islands have been extremely well received and the performance of Obaku within this environment has been quite outstanding.
To what extent has this exceeded your expectations?
This has vastly exceeded our expectations. We are the number one selling brand in many stores. One of those stores being HS Johnson where the owner Steve Mason said: “We currently stock 15 watch brands in store and Obaku is our number one selling watch brand and has been since we launched Obaku in July 2016”.
What patterns of behavior have you noticed from UK consumers?
Leading on from Brexit, consumers are certainly more cautious in spending money. In my opinion consumers are looking for quality, but at an affordable price, which is exactly where Obaku fits into the market. Times are tough for many retailers and suppliers alike but so far we’ve experienced substantial growth, which we expect to continue over the upcoming months/years.
What percentage of Obaku’s sales in the UK are online and what percentage are in stores?
About 80% of our current sales are from retail stores and 20% are from online. Obaku is a relatively new brand to the UK market meaning a lot of our sales are from impulse purchases in store. We feel the reason consumers are impulse purchasing Obaku is down to our beautiful, simplistic designs, our quality and our attention to detail, not to mention our tailored look, which consumers love when trying on our watches; they then realise how affordable our price points are!
How much do you expect Obaku to grow in the UK for the rest of the year?
We expect to see huge growth throughout 2017. In fact we are now expanding our team to cope with the demand. We want to be as supportive as we can of our existing retailers by not over-distributing Obaku, therefore going forward we would like to work with key retail partners in each area. This should then result in each retailer being the only stockist in their town or their part of the city, meaning less stores selling more watches.
One of our key retail partners, TH Baker, has already experienced a strong launch with Obaku. TH Baker’s area manager Nigel Oliver said: “We have been extremely impressed with the sell-through of Obaku so far; I can see Obaku being a big brand in the UK over the coming years.”