Fossil fashion brands

October 2008

The Fossil Group is one of the watch industry’s biggest and most successful, with revenues in 2007 near US$1.5 billion. Fossil has an interesting mixture of its own brands (Fossil, Relic, Michele, Zodiac) and licensees (Adidas, Diesel, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Michael Kors, Philip Starck, Frank Gehry and Burberry). As the fashion watch category is one of the company’s biggest strengths. I caught up with Steve Woodward, Senior Vice President of Fossil, to discuss this segment.

Europa Star: What is the mission for Fossil when it comes to fashion brands?
Steve Woodward: Our mission for the fashion brands is to support sales and distribution growth within the brand image. To create quality product that exceeds the customers’ expectations and fits the perception of the brand.

ES: What distinguishes the various fashion brands in the Fossil Group?
SW: Diesel is distinctive and edgy, DKNY is elegant and inspirational with great price value and Michael Kors is fun, sporty and ready for the ‘jet set’ using innovative combinations of materials.


ES: Who is the customer for each of these brands?
SW: While we have a great deal of cross-over of customers, the primary customer for Diesel is a person looking for a creative and defining style that’s bold and edgy. The primary DKNY customer is looking for everyday wear-ability with an elegant look, offering a distinctive look for a reasonable price. The Michael Kors customer is well travelled and wants high fashion combinations of materials and understands the current fashion trends.

ES: What is the price range for each of these brands?
SW: Diesel is US$100 - US$600, DKNY is US$95 - US$375 and Michael Kors is US$120 to US$400.

ES: What is the best performing fashion brand right now in the Fossil Group?
SW: Both Diesel and Michael Kors are beating plans with DKNY hitting their numbers.


ES: How does your team work with the fashion brand when it comes to design and marketing?
SW: Each brand has its own individual design and marketing team.

ES: How do the fashion brands differ from the other brands in the Fossil Group?
SW: All of our brands have a fashion component so each brand has both fashion and core styles.

ES: How do you determine what fashion trends to incorporate?
SW: The brands create style guides for their brand and then Fossil interprets those style guides for watches to create exciting products of excellent quality that the customers want.


ES: What are the important considerations when designing fashion watches?
SW: The most important are to reflect and stay true to the brand identity.

ES: How many designs does Fossil come up with in a year?
SW: Across all the brands, we create hundreds of new styles each year. For each brand there are four primary seasonal product launches that have as many as 20 to 60 new styles per season.

ES: How many designs actually get made?
SW: Not all styles or designs turn into actual product. Some are edited by the designers themselves, some are edited by the brand approval process and others fall out due to price point or construction concerns.

ES: Do any designs not make it one year but then get made another year?
SW: We do reserve some product for a future date that may have merit but was ‘before its time’.


ES: Do fashion watch brand customers move on to other watch brands or do they stay loyal to the fashion brands they like?
SW: They do both. Most customers have loyalty to certain brands but also look at the competition for inspiration and often purchase other brands. Brands are evolutionary and ever changing and must stay on course with the customer.

ES: What are the unique challenges facing a fashion watch brand?
SW: Staying true to the brand and offering new unique fashion right styles, over and over again.

ES: What do you think the Fossil Group fashion brands do well?
SW: Design integrity, brand integrity and excellent price value.

Source: Europa Star August-September 2008 Magazine Issue