In this episode of Building Brand Advocacy, Paul is joined by Tony Drockton, Founder and Chief Cheerleader of Hammitt, a luxury handbag brand based in Los Angeles, where his main responsibility is driving the brand upward and the company forward. Strangely, Tony started his career in construction, Founding companies such as Associated Roofers from 1992 - 1998, and then Branded Mortgage from 2006 - 2008!
Paul: Hello. Welcome to Building Brand Advocacy. My name is Paul Archer, I'm your host, and I am stoked to be joined by Tony Drockton from Hammitt.
Tony: What's up, Paul? Let's do this thing.
Paul: So you are an absolute guru when it comes down to customer experience. And now Hammitt is a phenomenal brand, which you're going to talk about in a little bit. Yeah, I have a theory that the way that a brand can drive advocacy is first, that they convert a customer into a fan, into an advocate. And it's that beer at the beginning, which you are by all means, that is your superpower. And so I'm going to start right there, just like, what is the most important thing that any brand builder needs to know about turning just a normal customer who've purchased your product or even just heard about your product into that superfan?
Tony: Well, can we go before the customer, Paul? Because my belief is so many people focus on the conversion of customers that they forget how many touch points that customer needed to encounter on average before they made a purchase. And the higher the price point, the more touch points required. So if you need some pencils for school, you walk and get them and both buy your pencils. But if you're buying a luxury handbag, you're thinking about it sometimes for months. So what I focus on, where are all the places that I can touch? Have a relationship with people that either don't even know Hammitt, or they've maybe seen it on a friend or a neighbor or maybe social, but they still have no awareness of who we are and what we are. So in order for us to first do that, we focused on what people used to call Omnichannel, but now I call it Unified Commerce. So Unified Commerce looks like for us, we have three of our own stores, we have our online business, we have two major department stores, and we have about 400 plus specialties and resorts that carry the brand. And I'm focused on driving the same experience no matter where the customer first discovers us. So what does that look like? Well, price integrity. It's always the same price. Product integrity, it's exactly the same product. It's not built for the channel. And then you get brand integrity. So that's way before they become a customer, because I think everybody deserves that, especially at a luxury or at a higher price point level. But then, like you said, they buy their first Hammitt and they become a customer. How do we keep them engaged? How do we bring them through? Well, I believe that's the after-purchase care.
Paul: Let's get into that in a moment. You just said loads of things that happen. First, there I want to double click on and sort of delve into, because, first of all, price integrity. So how does that work around? Do you ever discount?
Tony: It's just simple. Our goal is to never discount. Now, that's a goal, right? But in the fashion world, it's almost impossible. So what we do is we don't make as much product as possible to sell at all the discount levels, which is the normal American model for almost all brands. You want to get as much revenue as possible. So you design a collection to be sold through the full price channels, then to have its initial traditional markdown, and then you go ahead and sell it to the off-price channels and then you keep selling it. You keep selling it until you squeeze every dollar out of it, right? It's what ruins brands, especially the classic American brands in my category. So instead, we design a collection and we say to ourselves, what is the true demand for this collection through all of our channels at full price and full margin? And then we make less. But when we make a mistake, that's called a fashion markdown and that's all it is. It's literally, Oops, this one didn't work out. That one's going to have a mark and it's going to clear out really quickly because it's such an unusual occurrence. So that's how the price integrity works and we hold our partners accountable. So we only partner with people that have that same mindset. So we don't work with the retailer that wants to order way more than they need and they want to make all their money at the 30, 40, 50% markdown.
Paul: That's amazing. And why isn't that every brand can do it this way? Is it just because people are getting too greedy? Is this because you're in control of it? There's venture capitalists that's banging down your door, telling you need to discount to get sell through so they can increase their shareholder value.
Tony: I think I would compare it to longevity in life, right, Paul? I mean, we all know what we're supposed to do to live a long and healthy life, but that requires a lot of trade-offs. That requires a lot of non-discounting of my lifespan, right? Don't overload on sugar, right? Stay away from the fried. But it tastes good, doesn't it? Well, guess what? That additional revenue, it tastes good for brands. They get a sugar high on selling as much as they can. It looks good to stockholders. Sometimes it even looks good to the bottom line. But that sugar high wears off and then they got to keep adding more sugar. And what happens is you get addicted to sugar the same way you get a discounts. Now flip it around, your customer is the same way, right? They love the discounts. I love discounts, Paul. If I can find a brand I love on sale, I want to get it. And with the internet, it is super simple to find that right now. So the way that we do it is it's a Northstar, it's how we focus on building the brand. And it's a non-negotiable. So in America, we have minimum advertised pricing. It's called map. We enforce it diligently. So people are not allowed to advertise our core best-selling line, which is more than half our revenue, or our new fashion line at anything less than that pricing, by the way. It's not possible to do that around the world. So it's a different business model. Once you go international, you don't have the same rights. That's a whole other conversation just because you're over in Europe and someone's like, what? You can't do that here?
Paul: Yeah, let's leave that one. America is homogeneous enough, but this is all well and good for you, right? You've always done this very similar. Chip Wilson.
Tony: Very similarly.
Paul: Saying, every dollar I discount will take $10 off the market value of the company in the long term. Love this long-term mindset, but most people who are hearing this already stuck in their sugar addiction. Do you think it's possible to undo this? What's the equivalent of going on a fad diet, like a Joining CrossFit and going, keto? How is this going to work?
Tony: Well, I think, first of all, you have to make the decision, right? And once you make that decision, yeah, it's more than possible. And so you've seen these amazing European luxury fashion houses. They came out of the licensing agreements where their product was everywhere. It was on beer coasters. It was just homogenized. And then they brought that brand back to fruition. So now Prada is the hottest brand going, whereas six years ago, they had off-price stores all over America. So Nike really curtailed a lot of their off-price and wholesale distribution about five years ago and focused on a direct relationship with their customer. How are they doing? So, yeah, it's possible, but you have to really focus on it.
Paul: Okay. Yeah. That's quite it's bravery, really. You just dedicate to it. You've got it like you're saying, you've got to go to the gym. You've got to be consistent with it. I love that analogy of living longer. It's just such a great, perfect way.
Tony: We all know it, right? And we all know when we buy a product that's deeply discounted, we're probably not a long-term investor in that brand, but we just need it now. But when we buy Lululemon, we're a long-term investor in the brand. We believe in it. Otherwise, we wouldn't pay 100 and something dollars for a pair of basically functional covers that go on your legs that you can buy for $9 for Shein or whatever. Right. Not to give them a shout out, but let's face it, I can cover my legs with a product for less than $10, or I can spend 150 to 250. Right. The difference is that Lulu, that Vuori, that means something to the person wearing it, and it means even more on the social signaling of the group that you run with.
Paul: And it's a promise of value isn't it? It's a promise of something to come and that this will be made in a way, and it will make people look at you and think you're cool.
Tony: And, you know, it does have to deliver on the quality proposition, so then it's just a waste of time. So for us, it truly is manufactured to last multiple lifetimes, multiple generations. We have a no question to ask. Lifetime repair, replacement warranty, no registration. We take care of anyone that's ever bought a Hammitt for the last 15 years as if they were our next-door neighbor and our best friend. And that really takes us immediately from before they know us to the advocacy, doesn't it? Especially when something goes wrong.
Paul: That's a perfect opportunity then, for this. You said it was about price integrity. The other one was brand integrity. Just to kind of catch people up, like, who, what is how long you guys play into this mix?
Tony: Hammitt. We are the greatest American handbag brand to come along in 1 million years. Well, maybe not that long. We're celebrating our 15-year anniversary right here out of Southern California. And really our focus is to bring luxury, to bring the highest quality materials and products to the American market because it was just abandoned by the American handbag brands, and it's been taken over by the European fashion houses. And we've been doing it one advocate at a time, as you'd like to say. It's all about great designs. It's all about functionality within those designs, and it's all about what I like to say is the most environmental product in the world, which isn't a product that's made out of plastic and dumped into the trash in six months or a year. It's a product that's made out of natural leathers and fibers and that you can hand it down to your daughter and your granddaughter, and they're going to be proud to wear it 50, 70 years from now.
Paul: How did you come to be starting this brand?
Tony: Wow. It's a long story of a young boy in Cleveland, Ohio. But we'll skip all of that. I'm a quick-start entrepreneur, Paul, so this is my third non-associated industry. So MBA in finance in Cleveland, Ohio. Came out here, wanted to make a lot of money, jumped right into advertising space, found someone in the space I was selling to that was in construction. We opened a big construction company, marketing, built that up, went into the Internet in the late 90s, again selling advertising, this time digital, and fell right into residential finance and construction in the 2000s. And then after that big run, that's when I took a couple of years to decide really where I wanted my passion to fall for the rest of my life. And my passion was always architecture, design, marketing, brand building, even those disparate businesses. For example, I was in the roofing business. I had bright pink trucks with a big dog on the side that said roof, roof. So everywhere they went around Southern California, people knew who you were. Right. So when I was in the residential finance business, the way that I marketed the business was opposite to most people in residential finance, which was, take advantage of your customer. They're only going to do one or two deals in their lifetime. Make as much as you can. My whole I had this transparent business model. So they really understand how I got paid and how they could save money by me being transparent. And the referrals were just explosive because no one else was doing business that way at the time. And when I built homes that I sold, I made them the highest quality. So I designed them and I built them and I sold them around here in the beach community, which is a wealthy community. And the reputation was if it was designed and built, then these were high-quality homes. So there is a fabric of connectivity when I get into this industry, which is, hey, be transparent with your customers and your retailing partners. Build something you're really proud of that will last multiple lifetimes. Right. Rinse and repeat.
Paul: And that kind of brings us nicely on to brand integrity. So you've sort of sticking to that. What was the third one? Remind me.
Tony: Yeah, so it's funny, it's price integrity and product integrity. Now if you think about that, if the price is always the price, people trust, right, that they can go ahead and they can become a customer right now. And then a fan and then an advocate the price. And then if the product's always the same, then they can trust wherever they buy it. It's going to be great product. Which, by the way, is not the norm in fashion, brand name on it, but it's all these different channels and it's not the same product. So with those two price and product, then you get brand integrity. So you can't focus on brand integrity. You can only earn brand integrity by having a transparent pricing and transferring product business model with your retailing partners and your consumers. So brand integrity is earned. It is never purchased.
Paul: Love that. Which kind of moves on to this idea. You're getting these products out to people and getting that consistency. It's consistent price, consistent product. It's delivering something into someone's hands at a moment when they decide, hey, I want to buy this.
Tony: Once they have the product. My goal is that when they're out and about, when I say in the wild, they see another Hammitt. Like when you purchase a new model car and there's this immediate connection. Even if they don't talk to each other, even if it's just a look, it's like there's a confirmation that they made a great choice. And then ideally, if they're standing next to somebody, they actually talk. They're sitting on the airplane and they compare notes of their experience with Hammitt and the goal is for both of them to become raving fans because even if they bought it at a specialty store or one of my major department stores, or at our own retailing stores or online, the experience blew them away. And then when they received it again, the unboxing, it blew them away. So they just couldn't wait to talk the person and see if they had the same experience. When that happens, they go from customer to advocate.
Paul: Love that. The idea of that word of mouth, kind of the feeling that they're compelled to tell someone else on it. I mean, how much of your business comes through word of mouth? And how do you measure that? How do you know it is from that versus all the other activities you're doing?
Tony: Well, it's easier in the direct channels, obviously. At our own retailing stores and on our website, we have lots of KPIs to understand repeat business versus new customers. And currently more than 50% to 60% of our business is repeat in both of our direct channels. So my assumption is, given statistical analysis, it's probably pretty similar with our retailing partners. So right now, at least half of our business is repeat. And by the way, when I read about brands that are growing rapidly, that's a much lower number.
Paul: When you're looking at it, from kind of a growth mindset. Obviously, we're talking here about building brand advocacy and getting people to talk about it across the various different channels. Like, who are your number one advocates? Are we talking about these are normal customers? Do you have any sort of celebrity partners? How do you view that?
Tony: Very counterintuitive. My number one advocates for the first ten years were the sales associates in my retailing partners. So we did trunk shows, I did personal visits. Sometimes we go on the road for a month at a time. Paul and I made sure that the sales associates on the floor, let's say of, Von Maur or Dillard's or a Montage Hotel, they not only knew me, but they knew about that product. They knew about that brand, they knew about that price integrity so that they could have a long-term relationship with us. And then they did all the heavy lifting, introducing Hammitt to their customers, not ours at that point. So that's where I think I learned the experiential retail, it doesn't only happen online, it actually happens in all physical retail, either for the good or the bad, right? So you want to make sure that so that's where it started. And then, of course, we've had celebrities throughout the years, and they're always great. We currently have a collaboration with Mary Fitzgerald. She just launched season six of Selling Sunset. It's a real estate show, and she designed a collection, we dropped it, and it just so happened. It's the number one show on television right now, so the majority of that collection is already sold out. So that's been a real win for us. We've also have artists. Alex, who is in New York, he's a graffiti artist. We dropped a collaboration with him from Art Basel Miami and we sold out of that. We have other artists in Spain. You can tell I love art. So we've done a lot of collaborations with them and then we do activations. We just did some at Kendra Scott so we actually have product in a couple of their stores on the weekend so that we can share customers. We're doing a collaboration with local restaurant, very high end. We're a one off piece of a keychain and they're going to have a menu item so we do a lot of activations. It's big for us when you're not discounting right, which is what we know you got to focus on how do you bring people in? And for us it is about in-person events. It always has been. Even during COVID we stretched ourselves and we did a lot of events and our customers came not by the tens, by the because they really still wanted to connect. We made it safe. But we were very open about the fact when you come people are going to talk to each other, they're going to connect. Shocker. People wanted to do that even during 2001 and we sold a lot of handbags. So we throw what's called trunk shows, which I mentioned earlier. And that really goes back to the old traveling salesman in the 18 hundreds with a big trunk. He would get off the train, he would open the trunk and he would sell his wares to the little people in the little towns. Same thing today, except our trunk is usually taking over an entire venue with 1000 guests. All the product is sitting out. They get to have some cocktails, we have performers. Sometimes you get really crazy. We have body painting and shirtless men and costumes and it's really as much theater as it is retail.
Paul: How do you get those people that? Tony: We just invite them at this point. It's the DNA of the brand. So 15 years ago those were very small wine and cheese gatherings inside of one of our local fans' houses in Manhattan Beach. They would just invite over ten friends to take a look at the collection. But I said to myself one day this is going to become something bigger. And we just had our largest one. It was a couple thousand guests took over an entire outdoor place of a brand new mall in Manhattan Beach and it was amazing. Over three and a half hours people flew in from all over the country. They booked their own hotel rooms, they had an after party for Hammitt fans. We have a lot of private Facebook groups for Hammitt that they all talk to each other and they collect different bags. So when they come to this event they're looking for those one of a kind those samples, the special items they can cherish forever.
Paul: Wow. And so these guys, they're building friendships of community from.
Tony: It was emotional. The first time we did it. We had a couple come out and we saw how great it was. And so this last year, we organized a whole special event the night before. Took a big space right on the beach here, restaurant catered. And as they came in, they all had known each other digitally, but never in person, especially because of COVID And it was like, oh, my God, Paul, it's Tony. Oh, Tony. And it was just wow. And they brought their daughters, and they sometimes brought their husbands. And the event was supposed to only last 2 hours. I think it was four and a half hours. We were still going. I mean, no one wanted to go home.
Paul: Amazing. And that kind of do you have many of those collectors who've got to get them all, got to get the right version? The rare ones?
Tony: We do, it's been organic, but now it's much more intentional. As I said, we always make less than we need, and we don't repeat our fashion collections. So when we come out with for example, we have a latest collection right now that just came out. It's a really beautiful leather with special hardware. We sold out of three of the silhouettes in the first couple of days. Those will never be made again. So they become collectible. Whereas traditionally, if you find a winner, you just keep making it over and over. But what we do is we take the design cues from that win and we incorporate that into a future collection. So we're still iterating without repeating, if that makes sense. So, yeah, people collect, and we have some people with 300 plus Hammitt bags.
Paul: I remember Beanie Babies, but they were like $10 a pop. I mean, how much do your handbags cost to have 300?
Tony: It's a luxury level Beanie Baby, how's that?
Paul: Luxury beanie baby. That's probably what you were saying when you started this brand 15 years ago, that I'm going to start a luxury Beanie Baby collection.
Tony: Paul you know what I really wanted? I just wanted to do something that people cherished. It's just authentic to say that when I meet someone and they're literally emotional about meeting and being like, I loved handbags my whole life, and there was just nothing for me. And now I have Hammitt, and I love giving them to my family members and the brand. It means so much more to them because they have this community around it. They have this trust, they have a level of integrity. And for people that make fun of that and don't understand it, that's fine. They're not in that cohort, right? But it's no different than an art collector, right? No different than a sneaker head. It's no different than an audio file that wants to have all the best equipment in his house to listen to or person to watch movies. When you're passionate about something and you find something that matches that passion, designer handbags Hammitt, you go all in and so that's all I wanted to do.
Paul: It's a great emotion to do. I want to reverse back to something that you said there around the first ten years of your life's, lifetime I was spent on the road kind of empowering these store associates, your own partners and also affiliated partners. So I've got a theory that there's a critical mass that brand has to reach. And I don't know where this is. I think it's about 1000 true fans, because that's a great blog. It's roughly around seven to $10 million turnover. Simply once you've sold about 100,000 products to find 1000, 2000 people who will buy anything you do, people buy the 300, the superfans that is the inflection point that a brand becomes a brand. Previously it's becoming a brand, it's trying to find out what its thing is. It's trying to become a thing. But the idea is that once you've passed that point, you can release Facebook apps and people buy it. Even though you're a handbag brand, you can release vacuum cleaners, people will still buy them because it's got your logo on it. You become brand rather than just the products that you sell. Does that line up with your experience? Because previously a guest we had with Jeremy Rusco from Dynamic Discs, he was doing the same thing. He was going to every single disc golf event and he was talking to them every single day, shaking hands, selling them discs at the event, and he built the relationships with them and these people on the ground were doing it. And then it got to a point, and then that inflection point went and the company started scaling. They're doing very well. Does that echo with you? Is that something similar?
Tony: 100% it's like I say, you build brand advocacy one person at a time, one relationship at a time, and you can leverage that bigger with retailing partners, right? So Bill Dillard, current president of Dillard's, is a superfan. We know each other personally. We spend a lot of time together, and they're 280 stores and I've been in most of them. So it's one person at a time, but sometimes you can go bigger. So I play disc golf, by the way, so I don't know this brand of check it out, Ohio boy. So we love that frisbee golf, baby. He's right. You got to get out there and just talk with the fans of your product and then learn from that. And iterate and that's why it took the first ten years and it took that long for me because I don't come from this industry. And so he'll probably confirm this. Not everybody he met is going to be a longtime customer. As a matter of fact, some people he met he knew would never buy one again. Or even he learned that he didn't want to go that direction because it was a transactional relationship. And I was able to get that sort of knowledge by being out there over the first ten years on all those things that I don't do now. Because the sales associates would tell me, the customers would tell me, the customers say, whatever you do, don't cheapen the product, Tony. It's beautiful, every time I fall in love with a brand, all of a sudden they get big. And then I show up and the product is garbage. Please don't do that. I'm like. You have my word. So this is the things you learn out there. 100%, I think. The day where you sat in a glass high rise in New York and you built especially a fashion brand based on spreadsheets. It's far from over. You have to get out there with your customers.
Paul: And was there an inflection point for you when you knew you had a brand and previously you were selling product?
Tony: I mean, we're much larger than what you talked about. I think the biggest inflection point is when I talk with people, it used to be, oh, my gosh, Hammitt. And people be like, oh, it's Hammitt. It was a gift. I don't know what it is. Right. And now it's like, oh, hey, I love your Hammitt. And they're like, oh, my. Let me tell you. And they still don't know who I am. And they're just my daughter gave it to me. And now all of my friends, I live in Iowa, and they're carried up on Mar. And every time I go in, I take a look at the new ones, and I'm like, oh, no. Thank you so much. I'm Tony. I'm the founder. And they're like, what? It literally is that moment. Sometimes he's a hug me. You know? You made it when that happens. And it's just awesome. And I always give them a little leather wallet. It's a little metro where we upcycle our scrap leather. So here it is, right here. So I carry these with me, and that's how I give them to people. And I show them they can put their money in it. And I'll see people five years later, Paul, and they'll pull it out of their pocket and be like, hey, carry it every day. My favorite thing.
Paul: That's an incredible tort trigger. That means that those people you'll meet there every time they meet you as the founder, they will then tell ten people and they'll always be buying Hammitts. And then those ten people themselves will start doing it. One of the things that I find with marketers as a whole is that we're all desperate to do stuff at scale. And obviously, the idea of talking to a customer face to face is alien. But. Actually, those core customers are probably the reason why you're here today, is because, in fact, you gave them a wallet when you met them. Those relationships. And they are now telling everyone about meeting Tony, and they are now part of your story. And now you're their story, and they own it, which means that they're going to tell it because it's all about their ego, right? People tell people about things because themselves, not because of the thing they're telling about. And you are empowering them to do that, which I think is fantastic.
Tony: And then, Paul, the next stage that I knew we really were was that I get photos, videos of people all over the world when they're meeting someone else with the Hammitt, or even if they don't have theirs, and they see one and they take a picture and they're like, Hammitt spotting and they'll send it to me. So I've had people sitting, they're having coffee, they just met over their Hammitt. And one's like, do you know Tony? And was like, oh, my gosh, I know Tony. Oh, do I know Tony too? Or one doesn't, or neither. And that's another level of brand advocacy, of people just connecting over something they really love.
Paul: Which is fantastic. And that's the heart of it, really. The community, the idea of bringing a community. Every brand is obsessed by community these days. You can't build community builds itself around you if you do a good job.
Tony: And there are shortcuts. But I got to tell you, I need to find them because I haven't been able to shortcuts very well. Paul I wish there were, especially at our price point. Just to me, it's still one person, one relationship at a time, one new team member at a time. As we've been hiring more and more people, making sure that they are as passionate about Hammitt as everyone else that's currently here, right?
Paul: 100%. And there are no shortcuts. That this is the work. This is the brand building work. You're not going to growth hacking. I think, is the worst thing that has ever happened to brand building in the world, ever. Because the idea that you can hack yourself to growth, yeah, you're going to do it at the expense I'm not sure what the equivalent is, using your longevity analogy there, but there's something in it.
Tony: Well, it's Wegovy, right? People are taking a shot right now to lose weight. I'll go there. What the hell, change your diet. But that's a shortcut right now. And they feel healthy, but they haven't changed their eating habits. They're not working out. No pill or no shot will make your brand successful over the long term. What will make it successful is doing the work. Doing the work every day, saying no to the things that are detrimental to the long term health of the brand and saying yes to the opportunities that you can leverage over time. And that's why it's really difficult. And that's why we don't do discounting. Discounting is the surefire way to crush your brand. And I like to tell people it used to be invisible, but now, if you want to know how valuable your brand is, take a look at Poshmark, take a look at Depop, take a look at The RealReal. Take an investor. Take a look at the resale sites. The difference between your retail price and what it's reselling for, that's all loss of brand. That's not negotiable. And you can't pretend that you can't find it every day. So if you look at Chanel, they go for more than retail. If you look at some great watch brands, but if you take a look at Hammitt, they're also sometimes more than retail. And 20%, 30% off of retail years later. That's amazing. For an American handbag brand.
Paul: That's a phenomenal way of calculating your brand. I've never heard that before. So what is your second-hand value?
Tony: What's your product worth in the market? Is it collectible? Are there advocates out there willing to pay for special product from the past? There are for the European fashion houses, I promise you.
Paul: Yeah. I mean, Supreme. And you look at the brand, it's a 200% brand, certain Rolexes, 200% more, right? Yeah. If you look at these brands that are discounting, left, friend, center, they're a 10% brand. Okay, cool. Tony, this has been fascinating. So many nuggets of sage advice there. Closing questions now.
Tony: Am I in trouble?
Paul: We'll see, though. Fast enough. So what bit of kind of you gave some great ones there, but I'm going to ask it anyway. What marketing-related advice would you give to your 21-year-old self? Any kind of advice? I reckon you're going to have something golden.
Tony: No, work for someone amazing. Work for somebody you're 21. Find an amazing mentor and an amazing boss. Forget the product, the industry, everything. If you have an amazing mentor and boss. You're going to become an amazing marketer. So seek out the best.
Paul: Love that and massively second that as well. I think that's so important. We don't know much until I think you don't know until you're in your mid to late twenties and then you start to realize quite how little you know as you get into your 30s. Right. So what counterintuitives have you learned along the way?
Tony: I think it's counterintuitive for people to discount how important the ultimate customer is in that sale. And counterintuitive is if you're transparent and you trust the customer, then you're going to always win every time. Whereas I believe a lot of marketers and a lot of people in different channels think, well, you know what? We got to trick the customer, we have to figure out a way to convert no matter what. Right. But in the end, the customer, they're the ultimate arbiter of success. So counterintuitive is to really listen to the customers and to give them what they're really looking for. And you're going to be successful, but it's going to take time.
Paul: And so, final one now closing things off. So who in the world of brand building would you like to take for lunch?
Tony: Salvador Dali. Because if you really think about his art career and if you know enough about him, and I'm a big art guy, first of all, he was doing something completely unique when he came out with his look and his feel. He was in the industry for 50, 60 years, and he was one of the most prolific commercial artists in the world. And I would love to sit down with him when he was in his twenties and say, how did you decide that you were going to be the most prolific artist in the world? And what was your path for getting there? Because if you don't know art, you still know who's Salvador Dali, don't you? The melting clock. It's a ubiquitous brand that most people don't think of. I'd pay a lot to have lunch with that guy.
Paul: Brilliant. I love those brand builders that are not working in retail brands. They're just building up reputation and class and consistency. Love it. Tony, that was epic. Thank you so much for your time. We'll be connected. Show notes. If there's anything else you'd like to share, how can people get in touch with you?
Tony: Yeah, it's firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow me on LinkedIn. That's where I'm the most active. DM me on that channel. And also really just buy a Hammitt and wear it and see what the experience is like.
Paul: Fantastic. Thank you, Tony.
Tony: Thanks, man.
We can't wait to meet you.