Source: BBC News Online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11866641?OCID=sptsus Accessed 30th November 2010 November 2010 Last updated at 11:05 ET
Watch retailer Jannie Tay on creating a sense of luxury in Singapore
Jannie Tay is co-founder of The Hour Glass, a luxury watch retailer that has been trading in Asia since 1979.
Over the last 20 years, Asia's luxury goods market has gone from strength to strength. One company that has prospered during the boom is The Hour Glass, a watch retailer with branches across Asia and Australia.
The firm was founded in Singapore by Jannie Tay and her husband. Mrs Tay had gained experience in watch retailing from working in her husband's family business.
She recalls that she "learnt everything from scratch…. I learned from the sales people mainly and that was great because I learned how they do the book-keeping, I learned how they order stocks." Her sales colleagues also taught her about the importance of customer service.
But the family business she was working for catered mostly for the domestic market. Mrs Tay had studied at university in Australia. She felt her experience of Western consumerism gave her the ability to exploit a different niche.
The Hour Glass
. Turnover: (2010): 480 million Singapore dollars (370 million US dollars) . Number of employees: n/a
. Year founded: 1979
. HQ location: Singapore
. Ownership: listed on Singapore stock exchange
She says, "I'd experienced modern shopping, I'd experienced shopping malls, I'd experienced the boutiques that were different and the service that was different."
Mrs Tay decided to go in to the market for high-end watches and in 1979 she launched The Hour Glass. She says that "we actually conceptualised at that time what was a showroom retail space, and asked our partners to set up a Cartier boutique around us, which was the first Cartier boutique in the region."
She believes that image was vital in attracting the customers she wanted. "We...
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