Versace Watches: Mark Friedman

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself? (How you got into this business, why you wanted to get into this business etc)
Mark Friedman:I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  Being directly involved in the growth and development of a business intrigued me.  The autonomy and the firsthand experience gained during my earlier ventures provided me the skill set that benefits my current responsibilities.  My own undertakings did not work out, but I saw great opportunity in our family business. At first I took on the sales, travelling nationwide to oversee accounts.  I realized this was my calling, as sales and working with people came naturally.
Sarah Velasco: What are your roles?
Mark Friedman:Over the years, I have grown into my current position of National Brand Manager.  Sales is still a priority in my role but I now manage a national sales team as well.  Securing new customers, vendors and building brands is a grand feat so my days are divided into all elements ranging from sales to advertising and public relations.  It is my responsibility to ensure every brand launched at Carmen Jewellery maximizes its brand potential and is available in all the premium points of sale across Canada.  Currently, Versace Watches is one of my current collections.
Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about Versace Watches? 
Mark Friedman:Versace has been an exciting acquisition for us.  We took on the brand August 2010.  The brand has incredible recognition internationally, and we’ve been honoured to be able to offer Canadians a part of that luxury brand experience.  The Versace watches are premium timepieces.  All Swiss made with exquisite details and the renowned Versace signature styling.  The watches are a true reflection of the couture Maison of Versace: opulent, fashion-forward, luxurious.
Sarah Velasco: What makes them different from other companies? Is there anything in particular that makes them uniquely Versace (ie a specific material, color, etc)
Mark Friedman:It’s all in the details.  The Versace watches are impeccably well made, that’s a given with high-end brands.  What sets Versace apart is the integration of its world famous design into its timepieces.  It is apparent that the fashion styling elements have been incorporated into every watch collection.  Like its signature fashions, the watches are bold, opulent, and rich in luxurious details like mother of pearl finishes and precious stones.
Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about your current collection?
Mark Friedman:The current collection is quite extensive.  The Perpetuelle collection is highlighted by an elegant sunray feature, the Destiny Spirit collection boasts unique moving mini spheres, and the Eon collection has revolving rings that transform the watch.  Those are only three of the many collections we have for Versace.
Sarah Velasco: What will we see next season?
Mark Friedman:The DV One. The new collection features leather straps, and change from the previous season’s ceramic bracelet and case.  The DV One “three hands” fuses classic with contemporary.  This will be a big seller.  Donatella is also planning to launch 100 limited edition DV One watches.  
Sarah Velasco: What is your #1 best seller of the moment?
Mark Friedman:The Destiny Spirit collection is very popular.  It’s the perfect expression of the femininity and sensuality of the Versace woman.  The Versace logo engraved frames the black or white enamel or mother-of-pearl dial embellished by the Medusa, an unmistakable symbol of the Maison.  Most unique are the precious mini spheres that move sinuously to create a delightful motif.
Sarah Velasco: Any advice for someone wanting to get into this business?
Mark Friedman:Ensure you have a unique product that will appeal to customers. It is a very competitive market and your product needs to stand out and have value.  We’re fortunate to have many recognizable brands.  However, that alone does not guarantee success. You also need to have perseverance.  Building a brand in a new market takes a lot of time, patience and work.  

Interview with Mark Friedman, National Brand Manager, Carmen Jewellery Inc.