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5 Minutes with… Tony Pessok – LinkedIn Q&A /

In our new LinkedIn Q&A series for 2024, we sit down with MONDOTTICA Chief Executive Officer, Tony Pessok to look at the exciting year ahead:

What were Mondottica’s major successes in 2023 and what lessons/ideas will you take forward into 2024?

The key lesson learnt last year, and in prior years, and which we are taking into 2024, is to focus on what works well for our core business. We will be sticking to this throughout 2024 and ignoring distractions but still conducting due diligence on pipeline opportunities that would complement our portfolio.

For us, and the prominent brands we currently house and the various markets we are in, it’s absolutely about making sure we don’t lose what we have in terms of strategy. This year, there will also be more focus on ensuring our different departments are intertwined and improving communication there, both internally and externally.

What impact did the pandemic have on the eyewear industry and how has it recovered since then?

It certainly impacted us during 2020 when opticians were closed. It’s absolutely bounced back, with residual overhang in certain markets like Latin America. In Europe, respectfully and thankfully, it is a distant memory. One of our key areas and where we weren’t expecting it to bounce back so quickly was travel retail. It was anticipated to take five years, but by 2021 our travel retail was back at pre-2019 levels.

Do you see the cost of living impacting optical/sunglass sales?

The cost of living is making consumers make more informed decisions on Sun, which could be treated like a desired purchase in comparison to Optical which is a required purchase and less impactful. Our brands offer very good perceived value for money, with positive brand integrity. We are now seeing clients, who would have opted to go for more expensive frames, moving towards our mid-upper tier products.

What are Mondottica’s plans for 2024?

In 2024 we will focus on the core business and sustainability. It is absolutely on our agenda to continue to evolve our work on sustainable materials. ESG touches everything we do within the business.

We are working hard on making the entire journey sustainable and are now members of both the UN Global Compact and Sedex, sustainable supply chain.

Additionally, within Q1 of 2024, we are hoping to be ISO 9001 certified. This means our quality and management process system is fully audited and everything is documented. The next natural step is B Corp Certification. We now have a Compliance Manager in place whose sole responsibility is focused on making sure these things happen.

Is Mondottica focusing on any specific areas or developments?

Data is one of the key focal points for Mondottica in driving informed decision making in 2024, so we have added a Data Analyst to our team. We will be using information gathered to complete a full analysis on the business and various territories looking at what is the GDP, scale of the optical market, market trends and competitors’ output.

Can you reveal any exciting new brands or collaborations for 2024?

We signed our license with AllSaints in 2023, with the retail launch taking place in 2024. We have now started working with Reebok, which will launch at the end of 2024. The Reebok collection is focused on historical lifestyle with themes of sport from an eyewear perspective. These are the two new brands we launched to the wider marketplace at the MIDO Eyewear Show.

There seems to be a big gap in the market for brands focused on Gen Zs, who may not be as brand loyal, but are absolutely influenced by talent and celebrity. In response, we have partnered with an A-List global talent who very much fits with our values. They have an interest in sustainability, plus has a high level of engagement across all social platforms. This eyewear collection will be brought to market in Q3 of 2024 – more information to follow shortly.

Do you have any industry predictions for the year ahead?

It is going to be challenging. There is consolidation between some of the eyewear groups who will be looking at their portfolios and making sure what they have is relevant. Plus, the age of the consumer who is buying eyewear is getting younger because people’s eye health is deteriorating due to the amount of time spent on screens. In summary, it will be about staying relevant not only to the current customers our partners have, but the potential customers our partners can nuture.

Are there any major trends for the eyewear industry moving forward?

For the last few years, metal styles have been a big trend. We are now seeing a key focus on acetate, particularly in bold, chunky volumes characterised by colour accents. Metals are still performing well, but have evolved into narrower proportions, with 1990’s narrow ovals being the strongest trend for 2024. Key shapes are still oversized and square for both men and women.

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