ADINA watches is at a turning point in its history, 45 years after being founded by Robert 'Bob' Menzies in Brisbane.

Now in the hands of Bob's son, Grant, the company is respecting its core ideals while growing into a modern brand, a brand that Grant Menzies aims to make into an Australian great.

"I want to create a brand like Qantas or Akubra - an iconic Australian brand that will make everyone associated with the business, and their families, proud to have played a role," he says.

Adina has kept its traditional roots with its network of 350 retail partners - while moving into the modern digital space through online retailing and social media.

The business is also growing through a new bespoke offering - it has made custom designed 20-year service watches for Aurizon workers and the 100-year anniversary of a local school.

"What we are doing now is creating a watch from the ground up for customers with their specs and their own ideas. We do the drawings up and keep people involved in the process, which can take up to a year, depending on the complexity of the watch," says Menzies.

Adina employs 12 qualified watch makers and two apprentices at its Woolloongabba factory, and together they create around 40,000 watches each year.

But it is the relationship that the company has with its retailers that is the backbone of the business, and something that Menzies is particularly proud of, given he started as a travelling salesman. 

"The relationships we have with our retailers are for the long term - we partner with premium independent retailers. If you want to buy a watch for an 18th or 21st birthday, a wedding, engagement Adina is the choice and you buy it from your local independent retail store."

Menzies admits the retail network was not overly enthusiastic about the company's move into the online space, but he came up with an ingenious way to get them on board with the change.

"We are very much a traditional brand and are focused on traditional activation with retailers, so there was some resistance to going online, especially from my father, but the goal was not to try and chop out the retailers," he says.

"We charge the full recommended retail price online and we put all the funds from that channel towards in-store branding for our retailers - the funds are ploughed back pro rata across our retail network for more exposure of our brand instore, thus creating more sales. It has been really well received by our retailers and they are behind that model."

The funds have been invested in marketing such as in-store branding, television commercials, social media campaigns and creation of the brand's first in-store boutique this year at Jewellery by Design in Townsville.

"That has been a roaring success up there in North Queensland. We have got a very strong traditional customer base for Adina up there. We took one of our watch makers up a fortnight ago and we activated in-store," says Menzies.

"Jason was putting together watches in the shop in front of the clients. He created 10 limited edition watches before their eyes, which they could walk out with it on their wrist. It was hugely well received. It gave me a lot of confidence to keep on telling our story."

The next challenge of the brand is to tell that story effectively through social media.

"That will let us talk about who we are, our craft and how we go about making a watch," says Menzies.

The company has already seen how social media can build hype around a new watch release, as retailers see the social media posts even before they receive other marketing materials and can show customers the videos, then put in advance orders.

Grant would love to see his own kids involved, but that will be a few years away as they are aged 8, 6 and twins who are four.

"The kids are comfortable coming in to say hello to the boys, just as I was when I was a kid. I would be keen to see them as part of the family business, so it is good for them to see what goes on."

Bob, who started Adina after a trip to Europe where he sourced the parts for the brand's first watch, is still heavily involved in the company, and works six days a week. He still travels between Gympie and Rockhampton four times per year.

For your chance to win an Adina NK 156 S2XB wristwatch, simply tell us how many watchmakers Adina employs at its Woolloongabba factory.

Email your answer, name and contact details with Adina in the subject header to [email protected].

Entries close COB Friday 9 December 2016.


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