House Brands Become ‘Global Collections’ Under Siebenhandl’s Direction

By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

 Micha Siebenhandl, vice president of Marchon’s global house brands.
NEW YORK—As part of a worldwide repositioning of their proprietary collections, formerly known as the Global House Brands, Marchon is revitalizing the company’s existing sub-collections, such as Flexon and Airlock, with a clear directive toward innovative, future collections under the newly named Global Collections umbrella.

“We are focusing our efforts on building a worldwide presence with our Global Collections portfolio,” said Claudio Gottardi, Marchon’s president and CEO. “Flexon, the number one optical brand in the U.S., offers exceptional global opportunities.”

Tasked with spearheading this initiative is Micha Siebenhandl, who was named vice president of Marchon’s global house brands in June 2011. Siebenhandl, who started as a sales agent for Marchon Germany in 1997, brings international experience to the project. In 2002, he became the sales director for Germany and since has held several senior positions including, commercial director for Germany and Austria, country manager for Germany and Austria, and regional business director, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Spain.

“Since joining the team, Micha’s intuitive brand and marketing skills have proven extremely valuable in building global positioning and expansion. We are expecting aggressive growth in the future as we continue to invest in this important category,” Gottardi concluded.

“The Marchon Global Collection is an iconic cornerstone in the American eyewear industry,” added Siebenhandl. “It is a standalone product that continues to transcend time due to its incorporation of innovative and original technology. We look to further secure our presence as a leader in the market by introducing our Global Collection worldwide to universal customers and accounts.”

As a first step, logos have been revamped. Marchon introduced the redesigned logos for the Flexon and Airlock collection this past March with new product being introduced at September’s Vision Expo West.

For Flexon, the logo is going away from using the word Flexon to only have the “O” icon. “The ‘O’ is actually memory metal bended to an ‘O’ shape and photographed,” explained Siebenhandl. In September, the company is also introducing a new tag line for Flexon—“Keep Moving”—along with a new Flexon booth at Vision Expo West.

“The Flexon collection is the number one selling ophthalmic frame collection in the U.S.,” he said. “It sells to the average consumer between the ages of 40 to 60 years old. What was missing was that 18 to 40 year-old consumer who wants a little more fashion, a little more color but still wants memory metal. We’ve really played with color and styling, as well as larger sizes, but the Flexon properties remain the same.”

For the new Airlock collection, the company’s three-piece mount offering, also introducing new styles for VEW, design details include the use of carbon fiber details and the addition of more color.

Additional branding and design aesthetics, including MARCHONYC (formally Marchon core) and yet-to-be-introduced higher end collections, will be launched throughout the remainder of the year and into 2013.

“Our Marchon core end consumer is between 20 to 80 years old but it’s the end consumer who is wearing the frame for vision correction,” clarified Siebenhandl. “He is not wearing the frame because he wants to look cool or he wants to make a fashion statement. That’s a very profitable business by the way. We are good in the 50,000 accounts where we are selling this very classic product but what we miss is the end consumer between 20, 40 and 60 who wants to have boutique styling, fashion styling and trend styling at an affordable price.

 Frames from the revamped Flexon Collection.
“That’s one point. The other point is that we as a company want to be a full supplier for our accounts,” he added. “We are not a full supplier for our accounts yet because we force our accounts to buy from all of these boutique brands. That’s what our customers are asking for. They want to buy more from us but they say we don’t have boutique, we don’t have fashion, we don’t have trend. So to expand into this arena it was important to change our logo and to change our name because ‘Marchon Core’ already just means core. So we came up with a more fashionable and modern name, MARCHONYC. We took our inspiration from New York City itself and we play with metal, we’re getting more sophisticated. So we’ve established our Classic collection and we’re adding on top of that 35 new boutique and fashion styles. We are nearly doubling the number of styles available in the collection.”

 Stills from the video Marchon produced to introduce their Global Collections. 
It’s a job Siebenhandl has been working on at a breakneck pace since taking on the VP role last year. “Many of our competitors are doing nearly 60 percent of their business with their house brands. We are only strong in the U.S. with our house brands, like with Flexon, Airlock and Marchon core. We may be the number one ophthalmic supplier in the house brand segment in the U.S. but in Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada we are not number one and therefore, we needed to expand our business.”

And Siebenhandl has a plan. “With your own proprietary brands you can do whatever you want and you can fit the market’s needs. We would like to stay in control of some of our brands and control what we want to do so we are much more flexible. Additionally, to increase our Global Collection business we need to build up a business in Europe, we need to have European dedicated design, we need to have Universal fit and we need to have testimonials from people who are working globally. The ultimate objective is to grow our business in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and the U.S. and to fill the needs of the market,” he concluded.