I wrote the script shown below over 4 weeks ago as I always do before filming for the Inside Marloe Watch Company series. About a week afterwards I developed a stinking cold which meant filming was off the cards - no-one wants to see a snotty, red-faced Scotsman bleat on about how miserable he is. It took about a week to get over that to the point I’d feel happy talking on camera, but by then things had taken a slightly more perilous turn.
It feels a bit redundant really, when thinking about the difference between our struggles of getting production over the line and turmoils of designing watches for a living, and I’ve been glued to the news cycle every day since the conflict began. To film myself talking animatedly about how awesome our pipeline is looking was a struggle, because in the back of my mind I have the feeling of being a bit helpless in all this. There’s not a lot I can do from the comfort of our office here in Kinross, other than be informed enough to feel like I’m supporting those at the incoming end of the wedge.
It feels a little selfish to carry on as normal, but I also have a family that depends on me to support them and I do that through designing, and talking about, watches. It might seem a bit redundant, but this is still my passion and I love what I do. I also love communicating with all you guys and discussing what we’re up to, so whilst there’s far more important things happening in the world, we have an update for you on where we’re at. Stay safe everyone, and keep together.
Another year comes to pass and with it the renewal of spirit for the new year ahead. The winter season is filled with symbolism in a way - the slowing down of things, the cold setting in, darker days and longer nights. Rainy, windy and a wee bit miserable! Sometimes winter is a great comfort, arriving at heated homes, softly lit rooms, the excitement of Christmas and the celebrations that follow. For those of us in the business of retail it’s also a bit of a crazy time. The lead up to Christmas and the preparations for the big day lead to a ramping spike of busy-ness, culminating in a crescendo of last minute panic buying and frenzied shipping deadlines. Then, once we’ve squared away the many Christmas lunches and snoozed in a wine fuelled slump, the turn of the year brings a fresh start, rekindled promises to get fitter or eat healthier, and starting looking at finances a bit closer. It’s only natural then that those in the retail business can find January a bit of a trudge. It’s a long month too, so we find ourselves coming back with a bit of radio silence for company. But it’s a golden opportunity on our accelerating conveyor belt of life to step off and take a moment to think about things.
So where are we at then - what’s happening in the world of Marloe? Well there’s loads of good stuff. Our business has been buoyed for the past 2 years with the surge in online shopping - lockdown and worldwide travel restrictions have afforded some to reposition their expenditures accordingly and we’ve benefitted from that situation. It’s been a sunny time in general for online businesses but as we face the most challenging start to a year in a wee while, it’s looking like the spending public are getting back to some semblance of normality. We’re prepared for it, so it’s not too stressful for us, but it’s certainly a good indicator of how the shift in spending is now looking.
We’re settling into our new premises in Kinross now, with the guys at LBA giving us great support to get our systems up to speed and our future plans in place. It’s a wonderful place to work - it takes me around 4 minutes to get here in the morning in my wee electric car - there’s charging points here too. The view we have of the hillside is spectacular on a daily basis - my phone is full of quick snaps of amazing light on that hill or a rainbow, snow, gliders… and I thrive on the community aspect of being around other creatives.
In the design office, I’m really excited about our future pipeline. I think what’s changed for me recently is that I’ve finally started unburdening myself of the pressures that come with expectation. I’m becoming more focused on what I would wear as opposed to what I think other people might wear, and the results are clean, interesting designs, kind of what we founded this company on - “everyday watches”. I rarely wear dressy watches because I’m not in an environment to wear those types of watches. So, I always gravitate towards more relaxed, daily wearers and our direction is very much heading down this path at the minute. It’s interesting though, to look back on the number of times I’ve toiled with designs and it almost always has been because I can’t see myself wearing it.
Designing objects like watches can sometimes be like running a marathon - you’ve got the goal somewhere in the distance and you feel fit enough to get there, but along the way your ankle starts complaining or you find yourself out of breath. Or on other days when you’re in the right mood, frame of mind and have the energy, you feel like you’re floating along without touching the ground, everything working in harmony.
That’s what’s wonderful about design - you are constantly learning and applying that learning, adapting and shifting, finding the thinnest of threads to pull until you reveal something that resonates or is fresh and exciting. But having the presence of mind to recognise when things are not working can be hard to see.
One of the challenging elements of watch design is that we operate on a 9-month-ish production cycle - where I’ve finished a design that we’ve handed off to the manufacturer, then there’s a huge gap in my connection to that project, during which time I am learning more new things and applying that learning to new designs. When the 9 months is up and I see that project again, I can’t help but see ways to improve it with my new learnings or see a better way to do things, and want to start all over again. Such is life!
Speaking of production, things are looking great. The Astro production samples have arrived and we’re really delighted with them - each one is slightly unique to the other and looks fantastic. The square watch as a concept is quite rare but we hope our take on it resonates with you all. The Sceptre and Tay (35mm) projects likewise - we’ve signed off the production now and we’re in the holding pattern waiting for samples to arrive so we can get started on all marketing phases. The fallout, from the closures and lockdowns 2 years ago, on our supply chain is, like most manufacturing based places, starting to show now. Our various production runs are seeing a 4-6 month delay and our submitted projects approaching production are facing elongated schedules - it’s just all stretching out a wee bit but, with that expectation in mind, we can manage it and it gives us a bit more time to get behind each launch.
So we have our production runs happening, our new designs to look forward to and the various sample cycles we go through to check details and sign off for manufacture. We are aiming to launch the Astro, Sceptre and Tay this year and we’re planning the schedules now. We have our new office to grow into and develop within this space a number of new ideas we have. But generally we’re just getting on with it - we have quiet periods and we have busy periods - it’s just about how we manage that, keeping ahead of the numerous hurdles that keep appearing in our path and looking with excitement to the future. We have a great team all producing wonderful work.
Thank you to everyone who has joined the Marloe family over 2021 and to those continuing to support us. Stay in the loop by signing up to our newsletter - we use that to notify you all about upcoming launches and interesting things we’re doing.