Industry News: Jacob & Co. Names Benjamin Arabov As Its New CEO
Jacob Arabo’s son says, “I am not taking over, we’re joining forces.”
At just 28 years old, Benjamin Arabov has packed a lot into his professional career, building expertise and experience during his (relatively) brief life as an adult. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace University and started his own business. His digital skills and expertise are notable – he’s Google certified for AdWords, Analytics, and Paid Search, to name a few. And this year, Forbes Magazine selected him for its “30under30” accolade for young people in business. It’s no wonder, then, that his father was anxious for him to join the company, whether Benjamin was his son or not.
For Benjamin, watches have always been a passion. Growing up with his famous father, he was immersed in watch and jewelry making from an early age. Benjamin demonstrated his strong entrepreneurial spirit at just eight years old when he sold Pokémon cards at a profit to high school students. At 15, Benjamin set his sights on eBay and said he “fell in love with figuring out how to make sales digitally.” Moreover, at just 16, Benjamin earned his GIA certificate while simultaneously working for his dad.
Despite launching a successful digital marketing business, Benjamin told Watchonista, “I always knew that I was going to re-join. It was just a matter of timing. I wanted to make sure that I had enough knowledge and enough experience, and I saw different industries on my own, so I could come back and bring some good value. My father and I are staying in our own lanes. We each have a different skill set.” And with the announcement that Benjamin will head the operations, marketing, and advertising side of the business, his father can focus more on innovation, product design, production, and the creative side of the business.
“In the 2000s, my father came out with a product that was very different from everything. In terms of case shapes, size, design, the colors were unique and different. It’s been constant improvement, more improvement, and modification since then.” His father, Benjamin says, “wants to make something different, make a difference, and not follow a path, create his own path.” That’s his guiding principle to this day.
At the Digital Forefront
In 2017, while at the helm of his own business, Benjamin started overseeing the strategy and management of all of Jacob & Co.’s social campaigns. “[Social media] allowed us to express the creativity of our product at an extremely fast pace. We put it where we wanted it when we wanted it. We didn’t want to wait for Basel, or a trade show, or a magazine cover,” he explained. “Our product has a jaw-dropping effect, so we were able to grow our social media very quickly because of that. [Social media] also led to significant growth in revenue and sales because we were able to push out high-quality content at a fast rate.”
And the proof is in the pudding. “We made a million-dollar transaction last year over the phone through our digital customer service,” Benjamin told Watchonista. “This shows the level of trust that people have in our brand to deliver.”
Growing the Business
In terms of sales, in 2020, Jacob & Co. had a 70/30 split between jewelry and watches. “We’re very new to high complication pieces,” commented Benjamin. “We started with the Astronomia watch in 2014, just seven years ago. Compared to our competitors, we’re new here.”
Benjamin says that Jacob & Co.’s watch sales have been growing about 30% a year since then. But the brand will not be letting go of jewelry. “One of my goals this year is to bring back our jewelry focus and have a healthier split between jewelry and watches. Most of the watches that are selling for us are high complications.”
There’s no doubt that social media marketing will play into attracting jewelry customers. Jacob & Co. is heavily involved with influencers, and it’s a very effective strategy. According to Benjamin, “Anybody can grow social media by buying followers. With the niche audience that we have, the influencer side has really helped us in terms of quality followers. Most of our influencers are watch-specific, some are fashion, and some cross over to other categories including cars and accessories for men and women.”
So how will Jacob & Co. lure high jewelry customers from old-guard brands? “We are producing amazing stuff at a rate that is non-traditional,” said Benjamin. “We’ve produced more collections and timepieces in the past five years than probably our competitors have in 15-20 years. For us, we want to continue pushing creativity and innovation. We want other brands to do the same.”
Clearly, Benjamin shows no signs of slowing down or becoming complacent, adding, “Competition is great, it’s healthy, and competition gives you motivation. It doesn’t allow you to be timid or consistent. If you have good competition, it keeps the engine going. At least for me.”
We’ll be watching.
(Photography by Watchonista / Images © Jacob & Co.)