Martin Lovatt & Lenny DiCristofano: creating a travel retail agency with a true global footprint

Not many agencies in the travel retail channel are able to offer a true global footprint, especially for accessories brands. But a joint venture between U.S.-based Lenny DiCristofano of worldclassbrands and UK-based Martin Lovatt of Magnify Brands does just that.
“Martin and I have been working together for seven years. While we have retained our own company identities, I cover the Americas and he takes care of Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Between us, we work hand in hand to make sure that our brands get a continuous global footprint, if that is what they wish to have. And most of our brands are global.”
The two companies worked throughout the pandemic during which time they re-evaluated their approach to the market, shifting to focus primarily on affordable, accessible or fashion brands in a variety of product categories.
“Most of the brands in our portfolio share certain traits. They are innovative, disruptive, on trend, sustainable and affordable,” commented Lovatt.
Within this structure the two companies have divided the business into four parts: in addition to their traditional core of watches and jewelry, they hav added beauty & wellness, and eyewear/sustainability.
“Our main focus remains on our core capability, which is watches and jewelry,” says DiCristofano. “But we have put together a very unique offer in beauty and wellness, which is our fastest growing category.”
In the watch category, the worldclassbrands group continues to work with Festina, a classic, tailored brand in the $79-$400 price range; Casio with its unique G-Shock and Baby-G brands ($79-$500 price range duty free retail); and CIT, with its entry-level watches for Ellen Tracy, Geoffrey Beene, Caribbean Joe, Jessica Simpson, and newly added, Sean John, offering an urban appeal.
“The CIT brands hit the $29-$39 price range in duty free, and offer a substantial savings from department store pricing, which is about $50-$99 for the same watches,” says DiCristofano.

In jewelry, the company is introducing some new brands, which are already delivering results, he says. Amor, a German brand of jewelry made of gold, sterling, and silver-plate, etc., offers retailers a complete turn-key concept, from furniture and POS materials to 48-hour replenishment, that requires no capital investment from the stores.
“We are rolling out Amor at nine locations with Ultra Jewel in Mexico right now,” he told TMI.
They also started with Anne Klein jewelry pre-pandemic, and are rolling out again with new self-service displays for travel retail. The brand has been well-received in the market. The companies are also expanding the Harry Potter jewelry brand with new displays and counters, as well as a new higher-end line in sterling silver. They are also launching a new cruise program.

Beauty & Wellness
Lovatt began looking at beauty brands about six years ago, and during the pandemic, accelerated the search for new products that met certain criteria, primarily quality products at a price offer that will not only be well-received but propel them to become hits.
They started out with a company called Grounded, which made face scrubs and treatment masks from coffee grounds. While that product was not particularly successful, Grounded devotes considerable effort to sourcing the newest trends so that it can be first to market in global travel retail with affordable beauty that cater to these trends, producing products in their own factory in the UK. Among its hits are a teeth-whitening powder made from charcoal, which was listed on more than 100 airlines within a year and became number one in its category as a top-selling product in units, said Lovatt.
Capitalizing on the Retinal trend, Grounded developed a 2% retinal serum for a very reasonable $35.
“Grounded brought that same luxury quality of product that would have sold for around $100 to the mass market selling for $35,” said Lovatt. “It was an instant hit, and was listed on more than 100 airlines.
We also designed a variety of travel sets with serums in 30ml sizes, selling for around $39, which was another hit and we are now launching on cruise ships. It would also be perfect for airport stores,” he added.
Looking at hair health, the company has launched Manta, an award-winning hairbrush created by a salon owner in the UK for his wife after she was losing her hair from cancer treatments. Made of flexible silicone for minimum breakage, it is also a perfect multi-use travel product for all hair types.

ShakeUp targets the trend for men’s makeup, with a collection of products in gender neutral packaging, so it will appeal to both men and women. Key products are foundations, a clay face mask applied with a twist tube, a cucumber mask that goes on with a roller ball, and a lip balm.
Beauty Pro, a UK brand that has sold treatment masks in salons for the last 15 years, has now launched at home salon products that DiCristofano and Lovatt are debuting at the Summit of the Americas.
The key product is a biodegradable eye-warming mask that soothes tired eyes. It will be available in single and multi-packs. A men’s range is called Barber Pro.
Another highlight of the new portfolio is Spot My U.V., a UV detection sticker that lets people know when they must re-apply sun protection, usable for the whole family. It is available in a variety of kit sizes for travel outlets and has been listed in 200 resort hotel gift shops in Mexico.
Under their new eyewear/sustainability category, worldclassbrands and Magnify Brands are focusing on Formula 1 sunglasses and Bitmore electronics, which use recycled plastic and reclaimed wheat straw-based materials alongside biodegradable packaging and environmentally-friendly water-based inks. The range includes powerbanks, chargers, headphones, speakers, cables, plus wellness and travel accessories.
“This is the only electronics brand in duty free that we know of with these sustainability credentials,” noted Lovatt.
Worldclassbrands is exhibiting at the Summit of the Americas at Booth 250.