LONDON – One of the questions I often get asked about BoF is how we decide what to write about. Sometimes people say to me, “That’s crazy, I was just tackling topic X, and then the answer came to my inbox thanks to your newsletter.” How do you know what questions I’m trying to answer? »
Our process is quite simple. We don’t rely on the incoming pitches we get from publicists, repeating the stories their clients want us to tell. We write about what interests us, often based on feedback from our community.
This week, our editorial team came across a piece of data from our weekly editorial performance data that shocked us. For some time we have noticed that each time we publish a story about luxury watch prices, engagement, readership and registrations are off the charts. Why is this, we wondered?
We know that Google Discover – which is kind of like the new Facebook feed – regularly promotes stories to our readers based on what they search for and what they click on. But we also knew that wasn’t the complete answer, so we kept thinking about what might happen.
Indeed, many of our story ideas come from discussions we have among ourselves. Our “editorial pods” that cover our core businesses — luxury, retail, marketing, direct-to-consumer, sustainability, workplace and talent, technology, global markets and beauty — are in constant contact with each other.
Each week, BoF editors and senior correspondents meet to discuss topics from our weekly briefings and review data from previous weeks to understand what matters to our readers. And we always talk to the leading thinkers, experts, and operators in our community. also to get their point of view.
To understand who reads luxury watch stories and why, I went straight to Ben Clymer, founder and executive chairman of Hodinkee. Ben started writing the authoritative watch blog in 2008 around the same time I started writing BoF.
“Mechanical watches have always been important to a small group of influencers, but until 2020 it was something that was effectively kept quiet,” he wrote in an email when I told him. asked about the renewed interest in luxury watches.
“Then, when the Covid boom hit all collectibles, and we saw what many saw as remarkable investment potential in contemporary watches, the world at large woke up. Suddenly, the wristwatch became a cultural cue to get in. If you could just get hold of a rare watch from Rolex, Audemars Piguet or Patek Philippe, it would give you credibility as a person.
“We started seeing them on more well-known wrists than ever – and people in general started taking Hodinkee’s “Watch Spotting” section like theirs and dedicate entire Instagram accounts to it,” he continued. “Seeing the remarkable attention there has gotten more people to pay ‘more than retail’ for watches – and the second-hand market has simply exploded.”
Demand for luxury watches has far outstripped supply, pushing people into the second-hand market, creating the kind of hype cycle in luxury watches that we more closely associate with fashion categories like streetwear. , with particular interest from collectors, who tend to skew very young and very masculine.
“There is a huge financial stake in the prices of used watches. You have the general interest in the space because of the cultural ebbs and flows and the hype associated with particular models – think Tiffany Nautilus which sells for $3 million and up when the retail price is 52,000 dollars. he added. “You have significant entities around the world that poured institutional dollars into the category hoping prices would still go up. So when a major publication cites an increase or decrease in the price of watches, consider it fodder for dozens of investment analysts to prove or disprove their investment thesis.
In short, Ben says the watches have reached the mainstream. “While there is simply something charming about them as a beautiful, enduring totem of achievement or relationship, they are now layered with a more subtle game of cultural one-upmanship, layered with an even less subtle ambition for a comeback. on investment – and putting it all together makes for a really compelling story to follow.
And that’s where our regular luxury watch contributor Robin Swithinbank comes in. This week, Robin examined the growing hype cycle and cultural credibility of luxury watches in his latest, From Jay-Z to the White Party: How Culture Energizes the Swiss Watch Industry. It’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in space or obsessed with watch prices!
Here are some other picks from our fashion, luxury and beauty reviews:
1. What Birkenstock’s IPO Reveals About the Future of the Fashion Market. News that LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton is plan an IPO The iconic shoe brand’s valuation at over $10 billion has our team wondering what this means for the wider fashion industry. With Skims, Shein and likely many other brands also eyeing IPOs, is the Birkenstock news an inflection point? Cathaleen Chen did the analysis.
2. Premier League football team Crystal Palace are hiring a creative director. Daniel Yaw-Miller has announced that the London-based team has hired sports marketing veteran Kenny Annan-Jonathan to oversee its clothing line and brand partnerships. This follows up on the previous story of Daniel asking Do Sports Leagues Need “Creative Directors”? The answer seems to be yes!
3. Create a rewards program that keeps picky customers coming back. Rewards programs have become a key way to engage loyal customers and collect data about their preferences and behaviors. But brands can no longer rely on a traditional points-based offer to drive repeat purchases. As Malique Morris writes, loyalty programs that don’t rely on discounts can help brands retain customers and increase sales without hurting margins.
4. Adidas Yeezy Surprise Kick Unboxing. After cutting ties with Kanye West following his anti-Semitic outbursts and controversial fashion show in Paris, Adidas was left with $1.3 billion in unsold stock. Instead of destroying it (which would also be against European Commission rules), the company decided to sell the excess merchandise instead, starting with an initial drop in May. According to our correspondent Marc Bain, it turned out to be the right decision as demand for the sneakers was very high. Adidas lowered its expected operating loss for the year and forecast another drop for August.
5. Brands that bring Indian fashion to the world. Indian designers like Gaurav Gare are exhibiting in Paris and others like Sabyasachi are opening flagship stores in New York, London and Dubai – but how many will become global luxury brands that will appeal to customers beyond the diaspora? Designers need to localize their product line and operational strategy in overseas markets without eroding brand equity or undermining their core values and identity, writes Praachi Raniwala in Mumbai.
The BoF Podcast
I first met Tim Brown in the early days after he co-founded Allbirds. We recorded a podcast episode for our special series on entrepreneurship called Conduct and he spoke at our BoF West event in Los Angeles in 2019. I have always found him to be very caring and intelligent.
So much has happened in the world since those days before Covid. In November 2021, Allbirds went public, valuing the company at $4 billion. But the company has faced a number of challenges recently and as of this week its market capitalization has fallen to just north of $200 million. In May, Tim stepped down as Co-CEO and is now Chief Innovation Officer.
A few months ago, I came across a post Tim shared on LinkedIn about how he overcame some of these challenges – and the negative media attention that comes with it.
On The BoF Podcast we often focus on the tops of work in the fashion industry. This week I sit down with Tim to learn how he leads through some of the downs.
Have a good week-end!
Imran Amed, Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The business of fashion
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