CANDID CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN VCPN’S BETH SCHLAU AND LEADING OPTICAL EXECUTIVES ABOUT THEIR PRODUCT STRATEGIES.
Micha Siebenhandl became Senior Vice President, Global Collections of Marchon Eyewear in June 2011. He joined the company in 1997 as a Sales Agent for Marchon Germany and was promoted to Sales Director of Marchon Germany in 2002. He has had other senior-level positions in Marchon Europe prior to moving to the U.S. to handle the restructuring of the company’s Global Collections. Here, Micha talks about the strategy behind the rebranding and expanding the collections internationally.
BETH SCHLAU: What led to the decision to reposition the Global House brands to become the Global Collections?
MICHA SIEBENHANDL: Marchon has an amazing and expansive global portfolio. Within the portfolio we have brands that span across designer and sport, and with Global Collections, we wanted to create a standalone identity directed to a more modern way for the future. With our new direction, we rebranded the Marchon core to provide consumers with boutique, fashion, and trend-oriented frames. By extending our portfolio into these arenas, we are able to increase our end-consumer portfolio, offering wearers all areas of design in addition to the classic styling we had originally presented.
BS: What elements are different in the Global Collections that weren’t there before?
MS: We will be introducing boutique, trend, and fashion collections globally. In the past, we did not have these higher price points or European styling in our house brands; we only had traditional styling and classic shapes. With the restructuring, we will feature more colors and modern, on-trend shapes. Flexon, for example, will have more fashion-forward shapes and designs, and a broader range of color options. This will enable the Global Collections to compete in both the domestic and international markets.
BS: What will be the focus of these new collections?
MS: The emphasis of the Global Collections is to build a full line that can be supplied to eyecare professionals (ECPs). In one umbrella we will provide them with trend, fashion, and boutique styling, high-end design and technology, with a higher price point to match. With Flexon, we will continue to focus on the fact that we are the original memory metal supplier in the eyewear industry and we will continue to prove that in terms of price and quality. We want to reaffirm to the end consumer that we are the Porsche of memory metal. We are now taking an international approach, where we reach customers around the globe, showcasing the different demographics to whom Flexon appeals. With Autoflex, we aim to reach young, hip, and cool consumers aged 18 to 25 who want to look cool and outstanding. This group demands double bridges and bigger frames made of plastic materials, all of which will be offered with memory metal temples.
Simultaneously, we will reach the 65-plus consumer who loves the comfort of memory metal and bigger frames. This broad demographic allows Global Collections to reach numerous people around the globe. It is not isolated to a specific income and/or region, but instead highlights the superior technology that is original to Flexon and offers it in styling that is demanded and expected of a high-quality eyewear brand.
BS: Did you hire new designers to work on the Global Collections?
MS: Yes, in rebranding Global Collections we expanded our design team to include even more industry designers and product development specialists who have an acute understanding of the eyewear industry and Marchon’s vision of the global marketplace. Additionally, we will be collaborating with eyewear designers who work for large boutiques throughout Europe to have them “guest design” on various collections under the Global Collections umbrella.
BS: When will the revamping be complete?
MS: The rebranding of Global Collections will be fully complete in March 2013. Leading up to this, in September 2012 we will debut MarchonNYC—a boutique, trend, and fashion collection, For Flexon, we’ll have a new design that will also appeal to our international market. We will do a complete relaunch for Autoflex with hip, cool, and innovative design, and for Airlock we will introduce revolutionary technology.
BS: Will you be introducing the Global Collections worldwide at the same time as you are domestically?
MS: Yes, both the Fall/Winter ‘12 and Spring/Summer ‘13 Global Collections will be released globally.
BS: In addition to new logos, how is Marchon planning to market the Global Collections?
MS: Our marketing strategy will include testimonials from reputable, well-known individuals (both dom-estic and international) and the use of models and imagery from an international approach. We will market the global collections, its price points, and its global design aesthetic to bridge into the international marketplace. We plan on introducing all collections through social media campaigns and with newly launched P-O-S materials. In addition, we will have consumer advertising and guerilla marketing to support Flexon.