T. Burkhardt of Marchon says 50% of their frames will be ‘green’ by 2025, as Asia bounces back
US eyewear producer Marchon has celebrated its 40th anniversary in business by deploying an ambitious sustainability plan and welcoming major new names in its portfolio, among them Paul Smith and Shinola by Flexon. FashionNetwork.com met with Marchon’s President Thomas Burkhardt at the latest edition of Milanese eyewear show Mido.
FashionNetwork.com: Are you celebrating this key milestone with special launches and projects?
Thomas Burkhardt: There is no better way to celebrate the anniversary than by highlighting our ‘Eyes on Tomorrow’ sustainability plan, based on three mainstays: first of all, creating frames, lenses, and packaging solutions that are more sustainable for our customers, using materials such as Eastman Acetate Renew, sustainable acetate, recycled plastic and plant-based resin. Currently, 25% of our frame portfolio is made from increasingly sustainable materials, but our goal is to grow this share to over 50% by 2025. Secondly, we’re innovating the way our company produces, transports and stores products in order to reduce the impact of all these activities. Finally, we’re striving to create an inclusive environment for our workforce and partners, and to contribute positively to the community. Besides preserving the planet for future generations, we want to help consumers from all backgrounds to see the world.
What are the main novelties you presented at Mido?
We are excited to begin our partnership with Paul Smith. Marchon was already the label's glasses distributor in North America. The partnership has now been extended to an exclusive global license, and Marchon will oversee the design, production and worldwide distribution of the [Paul Smith] glasses collection. We have also launched Joy for LiuJo, with four different styles and 18 unique colours, and our latest collection for Lacoste, created from a material containing state-of-the-art carbon fibre and bio-based elements derived from castor seeds.
Are you planning to raise prices to stem the increase in costs?
We have tried to cover most of the cost increases related to inflation and the supply chain by means of more efficient internal processes. This allowed us to limit price increases to about half the inflation rate, keeping them at 3-4% across all our range in the USA and the EMEA region. While at the same time maintaining our top-notch fulfilment rates and service levels.
Which brands are driving your revenue?
Marchon has a broad brand portfolio covering the fashion, lifestyle and performance segments. Our leading global brands are Nike Vision, Salvatore Ferragamo, Calvin Klein, Longchamp and Lacoste. In addition, we have a significant number of regional brands and our own brands, among them Dragon and Flexon.
How have purchasing habits changed in the post-pandemic period?
I believe people are becoming more aware of their vision. I think the time we spend watching screens, whether it's Zoom meetings, reading on a tablet, gaming or watching television, is affecting our vision. People will continue to turn to their ophthalmologists to find elegant solutions that can help improve their eyesight.
Do you have plans to invest in output capacity?
In recent years, we have invested to accelerate our digital transformation, especially in product design and development, merchandising, forecasting and marketing. Our teams are working in a way that is very different from that of three-four years ago, with better systems and support and fewer administrative tasks, making time and space for greater creativity and for focusing on our clients’ needs.
What are your main markets?
The USA are strong and remain a key market for Marchon. EMEA, notably the UK, Italy and Germany, is also doing well. The outlook for Asia has improved, since Covid restrictions have been lifted and international travel has resumed. We're excited about the growth opportunities for brands like Paul Smith, Converse, Lacoste and Zeiss.
Marchon Eyewear employs over 2,000 people in more than 23 countries, with 3 regional offices in New York, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, plus major facilities in New York and Puos d'Alpago, Italy, and in Hong Kong. The group’s products are distributed via a global network of subsidiaries and distributors serving more than 80,000 clients in over 100 countries. Marchon was a stand-out exhibitor at Mido’s 51st edition, held on February 4-6 2023, and was awarded the 'Stand Up for Green' prize for its modular stand made of recyclable materials. The stand’s lighting system consisted exclusively of LEDs with no heat/UV output, while the ceiling of the reception area and office space was made in Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified material, treated with halogen-free flame retardants.
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