January 22, 2019
“Finding new brands every year”
How long have you been attending Baselworld?
Ray Grenon: I attended sporadically in the 1990’s and then every year since 1999.
What importance does the show have nowadays for your company, which operates five Swiss boutiques offering the leading watch brands?
Ray Grenon: Crucial. It’s where I find new brands every year. That is the most important part of the show by far. I know a lot of people that just go to the big brands and then leave. They are missing out! I walk by every booth and look at every single window of every single display. That is where you find the gems.
What are the top reasons to attend Baselworld from your point of view?
Ray Grenon: To find new brands and also meet with brands I have existing relationships with to view new pieces. It’s about the people as much as it is about the watches. A watch can be beautiful but if the people behind the brand are not a good match for you, it won’t work. That’s something you can’t get from reading about these online. You have to go in person to get the complete feel.
During the past weeks, Baselworld announced many new concepts and measures for the 2019 edition. What are your expectations of the show?
Ray Grenon: I’ll be able to find a parking space! Will attendance be down? Maybe, but that just means more opportunities for me. I’m hoping the downsizing will motivate the existing exhibitors to step up their game in order to get more attention.
What challenges do you foresee for the industry and the trade in the next 5 to 10 years? How do you plan to cope with it?
Ray Grenon: Overproduction and the fight between brands and retailers are the biggest problems. I’ve stopped doing business with brands that open their own boutiques. They use the retailers to educate the consumers and promote the brand and then when it gets big enough, they bypass the retailers and sell directly. I look for brands that want to be my partner, not my competitor.
In terms of overproduction, if a brand has a glut of inventory online at a large discount, you know they are overproducing. One of the first things I do when looking at a new brand is search for the inventory online. If there is too much product out there, I’m not interested. I know to look for brands that have a good control over their inventory.
How do you reach the attention of new target groups and younger customers?
Ray Grenon: Of course social media is important so we post on all the platforms and engage as much as well can. Also, if you have an interesting product to sell and a story to tell, the people will find you. Lastly, but most importantly, take care of your existing customers. If you do that, they will be your best advertisement.