Sunday, August 6, 2017

An Open Letter To Glycine

Dear Glycine

Longtime fan, former (and frustrated) Airman owner.

Today I awoke to find an email announcing yet another product flush disguised as an opportunity to purchase a unique and historically important timepiece (at a rock bottom price).  

PLEASE do yourselves and your customers (previous, current and future) a favor and STOP sending your watches through the grey market to speed the clearance of product.  You have failed to understand three very important things:

1.  Your brand was originally built on highly functional, reasonably affordable watches.

2.  Over the past 6 - 7 years you steadily ratcheted up the prices, and over the last 2 - 3 years you failed to pay attention to your retailers (particularly here in the US) as they continued to struggle to shift the product that they already had.  You failed to take into account price sensitivity and our old friend supply and demand.  Moreover, there was little to no communication about the brand, product, etc. 

3.  With the sale of Glycine to Invicta, many purists out there poo-pooed and felt the sky was falling.  I, for one, did not.  I thought that the new owners would understand that the integrity of the brand (although not where it had been maybe 10 years earlier) was still there and could still be salvaged and built upon.  But as of right now it seems that there is a more assertive effort to shift units, and that has been borne out in the large numbers of Glycine watches finding their way to online discount sites.
There is a very, very big difference between watches and milk.  While I understand that overstock needs to be cleared to improve cash flow, I also know that when you slash and burn prices on product across the board and in a very public way, you lose the support that you once had, and it bears mentioning, that support has been getting thinner and thinner over the past few years.  There are subtler ways to clear overstock - methods that are a bit less drastic, respect the retail partner and current customer, and achieve the same goal.  But that would require Glycine to:

1.  Open their own online store
2.  Actually go out and cultivate the market, visit and engage with retail partners
3.  Reconnect with their community of fans and supporters
4.  Stop selling to the grey, and soft grey markets
5.  Stop trying to solve several years of poor sales in a hyper-paced drive to purge stock in as fast a manner as possible

You didn't get into this situation overnight.  You won't get out of it overnight either.

The long game is always challenging.  But several brands out there have managed to keep going by not abandoning what they were built on, paying attention to what is going on, and making the necessary adjustments as the situations have necessitated.  

For a brand looking to shift product quickly and instantly stimulate cash flow, the grey market is probably not unlike heroin.  That first experience can be amazing, but it never ends well.

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