13 Sep Meeting with Tom Castiglione, CEO of Morel US
Throughout the summer, Morel has chosen members of the team to interview and today, the spotlight is on Tom Castiglione, CEO of Morel US.
● Why did you join Morel?
First and foremost, I saw a fantastic opportunity to grow professionally and personally. The company had such a wonderful history and had yet to share it with the US market. I also felt an immediate synergy with Jérôme Morel and a shared vision of what Morel could be.
● What are the characteristics of the US market?
It is an interesting time in the US. Private equity has taken a keen interest in optical retail. As a result, there is quite a bit of consolidation occurring. This is a significant moment for the independent shops that remain. As they learn how to separate from the pack, so to speak, it is perfectly aligned for Morel’s independent strategy. We can help these retail partners differentiate and work together towards a unique experience for their patients.
● What are the expectations of the customers regarding eyewear?
It still boils down to the most basic of things: eyewear that looks good and feels good at the price they want to pay. Consumers want to identify with a company and its values along with the products they provide. This is part of the total experience. Our aspirations are to provide an experience that is unlike any other. Once a customer LOVES their eyewear and WHERE they purchased it from, they will remain faithful to that retailer and that brand.
● What tools are you using to attract new customers?
We work with our buying group and alliance partners to drill down into their membership and find various ways to reach them. Digital, print and direct mailers all have a place in the strategy. We have a vast network of sales professionals, and we rely on them to tell us where those customers who are a great “fit” for Morel are located. Through various grass roots programs, we target them directly by sending a sample or two and inviting them to meet with our rep.
● How do you manage to integrate Morel’s new identity to your strategy on the US market?
We have a bit of a “leg up” in that we are a dedicated “Morel Company.” For years, we had been building up the collections we offer in such a way that our retail partners have come to appreciate and understand them. Now, we are shifting our message to be more what we call “Morel-centric.” Today, it is critical for our customer to understand all that Morel has to offer—not just in the wonderful products that we deliver but in our point of view, our dedication to the independent sector and what we stand for as a one of the longest standing, family-owned companies in the industry.
● According to you, what are the next changes for the US market?
There will continue to be a race for the top on the highest level. There is no real end in sight for EssiLux and Marchon in the US. There will be a continuation of acquisitions and organic growth in these organizations with direct-to-consumer and internet sales being part of that strategy. In addition, as private ODs and Ophthalmologists look for an exit strategy, private equity firms like My Eye Dr. will continue to grow. This will open the door for the independent optical retailer to truly stand out amongst the crowd. Morel is perfectly suited to help them provide an experience for their consumer that helps them achieve this goal.