Andrew Block has a plan to grow the TrueFacet business.
Block, a member of the pre-owned designer jewelry and watch site’s advisory board since 2015, has been named the firm’s president and partner. He was previously president and chief executive officer of global luxury consultancy Second Time Partners, and before that spent over 20 years at Tourneau. His last position at the watch firm was executive vice president, marketing and advertising. He reports to TrueFacet founder and ceo Tirath Kamdar.
“If you look at the watch and jewelry business, the way people have bought watches and jewelry — in bricks-and-mortar and at the mom-and-pop — the core of that meant delivery has been through a broker. Online is where this industry is going to attract the next buyer,” Block said.
For TrueFacet, that means getting in front of the Millennial consumer, the firm’s targeted age base. “We want to be the place for Millennials to go and buy. We’re working on some strategic partnerships, such as our American Express partnership,” Block said. He noted brand partnerships are next.
The American Express partnership that began last month allows American Express rewards members to use points and buy a curated selection of pre-owned watches and jewelry. Block said the Millennial consumer base is most likely to buy, sell, trade-up and then repeat the process. “We take trade-ins towards a purchase. This generation loves to buy and sell, and the buying cycle is a lot more active than before,” he added.
The newly minted president said the tail end of the baby boomer generation — often thought to be at that stage where they have discretionary income and are not yet in retirement — have been spending their hard-earned cash in other luxury categories focused on experiences, such as vacations and fine dining.
While many are instead selling pieces of jewelry they no longer want, the downturn in their spending in the category is a problem for the luxury watch industry.
According to Block, “Relevancy is an issue. To bring relevancy to Millennials in watches and jewelry, we need to [first] go where they are.”
That means focusing on the online community, and then figuring out how to explain relevancy to grab their attention. Some of the learnings Block brings to the table from his Tourneau days include marketing to the Millennial mindset.
“We moved away from describing the watches as a fine example of artistry, craftsmanship and technology. That has limited appeal to new watch buyers. We get them to think about how they define their personality. The watch is a statement of their lifestyle, is what we came up with. What you need to bring to the next generation is an understanding of why they have to own watches and jewelry,” Block said.
He explained the move away from telling time is because that’s easily available on one’s smartphone. Having Millennials think about the concept of wardrobing and how watches and jewelry can reflect their personal brand of style is more appealing to this age group, Block said.