E Gluck Vice President Global & Travel Retail Sales Robert Robertaccio says that Anne Klein Considered is uniquely positioned to appeal to returning cruise travellers

American watch distributor E Gluck Corporation has launched Anne Klein Considered, a new watch range that offers stylish and sustainable timepieces at accessible price points. According to the company, the range addresses the growing demand for more eco-conscious products in the watches category.

E Gluck Corporation also distributes watch ranges from Armitron, Nine West, Juicy Couture and Vince Camuto, among other brands. The company has also recently acquired the growing direct-to-consumer brand, Torgoen.

Inspired by pillars of genuineness, thoughtfulness, cultivation and community, Anne Klein Considered takes a more conscious approach to eco-friendly fashion. It is distributed to independent operators in North American and Caribbean travel retail by Duty Free Dynamics; and directly distributed to key accounts by E Gluck’s in-house travel retail division.

The Anne Klein Considered collection uses responsibly engineered, cruelty-free vegan leathers made from a variety of organic byproducts such as apple peels, pineapples and cork.

The range also foregoes the use of traditional plastics and instead opts for a non-petroleum cellulose acetate made from natural cotton and wood fibres. Every watch in the Considered range is powered by a solar battery that is fully rechargeable, which further minimises its environmental impact.

Anne Klein has traditionally enjoyed a strong presence in the cruise channel, which has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We sat down with E Gluck Vice President Global & Travel Retail Sales Robert Robertaccio to discuss the deepening financial and social impact of the pandemic, the thinking behind launching E Gluck’s first eco-friendly watch range and how the company is weathering the COVID-19 storm.

Tell us a little more about the Anne Klein Considered Collection. What factors led to the creation of a more sustainable watch line? 

Today more than ever, we believe design is about more than simply meeting women’s fashion needs and that sustainability is becoming more and more important to the average consumer. To address this growing demand, our design team set out to create the Anne Klein Considered collection.

The name was chosen because the average watch, by nature, isn’t easy to produce sustainably, so the goal was to design a product that takes the environment into consideration. The team started sampling sustainable materials, which included vegan straps made from apple peels and pineapple skins, cork, and lead-free Swarovski crystals.

What they found was that they did not have to sacrifice on style or durability to produce a considered range. They were even able to achieve this level of sustainability and maintain the accessible price points of the Anne Klein brand. The Considered collection starts at US$95.

Stylish, accessible and sustainable: Anne Klein Considered offers eco-friendly timepieces at reasonable price points and features organic and recycled materials

The cruise channel is a particularly important distribution network for Anne Klein. How has the pandemic crisis affected this – and what will your travel retail distribution look like in the near term? 

As expected, the pandemic crisis has heavily affected the cruise industry. However, the bright side is that we are already looking forward to a positive recovery. The regular cruise traveller wants to travel again as soon as possible; and we are hearing reports of bookings trending upward for 2021. We anticipate that travellers will be looking for value across the board, as we expect them to have less disposable income.

Our Anne Klein brand is uniquely positioned for this as our products are designed with accessible price points, the majority of which are below US$100.

A sea of opportunity: Robertaccio sees plenty of potential in offering travel retail-exclusive designs for cruise travellers

How important is travel retail to the Anne Klein business today? What opportunities do you see in travel retail in a post-COVID world? 

Travel retail is very important to the Anne Klein watch business and when things normalise, we still expect it to be one of our biggest growth opportunities.

In travel retail, we see a tremendous opportunity in offering a more exclusive product to the traveller. Our core product will always be important, but giving customers something unique, something that they can’t find anywhere else, makes their vacation purchase just that little more special. Just before the pandemic began, we shipped our first collection of onboard exclusives sold only to our cruise industry partners. It creates a great call to action for cruise customers, since they know they won’t be able to get these items after they leave the ship. We expect to see great results from this programme as soon as ships resume operations.

In what ways are you innovating to adapt to the ‘new normal’ in travel retail? 

We believe that travel retail will take some time to bounce back because it will take some time for the customer to feel safe travelling again. We are doing our part to strictly follow all government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety regulations in our warehouses to keep our employees safe, and limit the risk of transmission with any shipments.

Travel retail remains a core channel for the Anne Klein and E Gluck businesses. Robertaccio predicts a slow but cautious recovery, with sustainability as one of the key trends.