Wood Optic Diffusion, the Luxembourg-based manufacturer of the Gold & Wood line of high-end glasses, has appointed two new managers to help drive a new phase of growth, with the objective of doubling its turnover. One of them is Sébastien Dehaine, a former brother-in-law of Alain Mikli who spent eight years as business development at his eponymous company, including the period spent under Luxottica's ownership. He is now acting as commercial director for Gold & Wood. The other new manager is Tanguy de Ripainsel, who will be in charge of digital marketing and brand identity strategy. He has been a consultant for Christian Dior Parfums for more than a year.
The two new managers join another recent recruit, Vanessa Di Giovanni, who became product manager more than a year ago. A former product manager of Mikli, she is working for Gold & Wood on a part-time basis. She continues to handle her own collection, Vanessa & Mehdi, and she is working for other brands.
Founded in 1995, Wood Optic claims to have been the first to launch a collection of wooden glasses in 2000. It has subsequently added noble materials such as buffalo horn, gold and even diamonds. With a volume of between 27,000 and 30,000 pairs produced annually at its factory in the northern part of Luxembourg – about 70 percent prescription frames and 30 percent sunglasses - sales have been stagnating around an annual level of around €5 million following the Kering group's decision to take back the Boucheron license.
However, its staff of 35 people, 20 of whom are highly skilled craftsmen involved in the sophisticated production process, were highly motivated by the visit of 982 people during a special “open doors” event this past weekend. Some were consumers, but others were clients from 51 different companies in France, Germany and other countries, including Taiwan, to accept the invitation ahead of the Silmo show starting in Paris tomorrow.
According to the rather special president of this special company, Maurice Léonard, the staff was also motivated by the fact that new products by Gold & Wood have been nominated for the first time in several years to win prizes at Silmo and at the Vision-X fair in Dubai next month. Sales went up strongly each time that the company won a Gold Silmo Award, which happened four times in the past few years, the last time in 2011.
Two more Gold & Wood stores or soft shops are due to open in Osaka and Vienna before the end of this year. The first of the kind opened in Paris in September 2014, featuring a broad range of Gold & Wood styles in the upper level of The House of Eyewear. Since then, similar spaces have been opened in seven other cities: Luxembourg, of course, plus London, Munich, Monaco, Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. The goal is to have 50 such spaces around the world, managed by local opticians.
The U.S. market, where the company has a subsidiary, accounted for 33 percent of its turnover last year, ahead of France with 18 percent, Canada with 8 percent and Luxembourg with 5 percent.