Hero Meets: Andrew Jennings, Co-Founder of Larsson & Jennings

As part of our series in partnership with Luxury Briefing Magazine, we talk with leaders in retail — from founders, to designers and beyond — to get their insights on the future of the industry.

In this edition, Hero CEO, Alistair Crane talks to Andrew Jennings, one half of the pioneering British-Swedish contemporary watch brand, Larsson & Jennings to discuss smart watches, Swiss inspiration and connecting with new audiences.

How did Larsson & Jennings come about?
My interest in watches started after inheriting a vintage Rolex at a young age from my grandfather. That’s really what piqued my interest in horology. I spotted a real gap in the market to create high quality watches at an accessible price point.

What prompted your career move from working in the City to starting out with your own venture?
I grew up watching my father build and run his own business. I’ve always wanted to work for myself and enjoy the independence that comes with it.

The original foundation for Larsson & Jennings was solely based online, what prompted you to expand into bricks and mortar?
Moving our business into a physical store presents Larsson & Jennings with the opportunity to offer customers a physical experience. You can achieve a lot online but our stores will always be able to offer something more — such as Fika Fridays, where we invite our shoppers in Covent Garden in for complimentary coffee and Swedish breakfast cakes.

This year marks Larsson & Jennings’s fifth year, what changes have you noticed in the watch making/retail market since starting out?
Customers are far more aware of disposable fashion so we have benefited from this by offering a five-year warranty — our watches are made in Switzerland to last. Smart watches have gained prominence with the arrival of the Apple watch and this is something we’ve been working on at Larsson & Jennings. The technology has been developed and the connected hybrid models are due for release later this year.

Where do you find inspiration for your watch designs?
Our design team is based in London and here we take inspiration from the local culture and architecture. We recently released our Sloane watch, which was named after the founder of the British Museum and inspired by the pattern on its roof for example.

You have a significant number of followers across your social media platforms, how have you used digital as a tool to grow your brand?
Social media is an important tool for any Millennial-focused brand – it allows us to interact and learn from our customer on a level never previously possible. Social media is particularly valuable for our brand because it creates a direct line of communication with our customers, giving them the opportunity to share their feedback and thoughts on new products and campaigns.

Do you see differences between your customers that buy online and customers that choose to shop in store?
Our in-store customers have usually hunted down our store and are avid fans of the brand – but all our customers enjoy the multi-channel experience and take the time to consider their purchase. We have a lot of cheaper competitors so our customers value the quality we offer and expect the same excellent customer service in store as they receive online.

Social media is an important tool for any Millennial-focused brand — it allows us to interact and learn from our customer on a level never previously possible

Do you have a personal favourite Larsson & Jennings model or collection?
If I had to pick one right now it would be our latest Meridian watch, which was inspired by the concept of exploration. It’s a new design for the brand that references vintage pilot watches, a watch designed around the concept of exploration. It’s our thinnest watch face yet and a modern take on a vintage design.

What does the future hold for Larsson & Jennings?
We have some exciting new watch designs releasing throughout the year to add versatility and depth to our collections. We are also introducing a couple of new product categories, which I am very excited about. Releasing in the summer.

What one piece of advice would you share with a luxury brand trying to connect with the ever- increasing Millennial market?
Authenticity and transparency – Millennial customers are more informed than ever and they value honesty and integrity more than ever. We have put a real focus on our customer service for 2018.

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