Young, confident and with a plan, Benjamin Arabov is set to brand Jacob & Co. as new CEO, with immediate effect. He teamed up with his father, Jacob Arabo, who founded the company and grew the business from a stand in the New York Diamond District to an international luxury watch and jewelry brand with a network of over 60 points of sale around the world. Arabov will work from the brand’s global headquarters and flagship store on 57th Street and Park Avenue in New York City.
At 28, Arabov joined a select group of luxury executives, both in their twenties, who ran family brands. This includes the two sons of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, who have leadership responsibilities for brands within the luxury goods holding company, Alexandre and Frédéric Arnault.
Jacob Arabo’s rise in the luxury watchmaking and jewelry industry is a story of fortune. He arrived in the United States from Uzbekistan and spent his teenage years learning the jewelry business, eventually creating his own pieces before going under the name Jacob & Co. in 1986.
Although Arabo (who does not use the ‘v’ ending for his professional surname) began to offer traditional jewelry at moderate prices, his designs caught the attention of hip-hop artists and he became a full-fledged celebrity known as “Jacob the Jeweler.” In 2005, he moved to East 57th St. and his company now has over 100 employees worldwide.
Jacob & Co. watches and jewelry are not for the faint-hearted and the humble. They are bling-bling. Sumptuous jewelry that features exceptionally large diamonds and colorful gemstones in a myriad of combinations. Many of the watches are among the largest in the industry, due to the multiple complications they contain, such as three-axis tourbillons, astronomical mechanics, music boxes, and car-inspired timepieces with replicas. 16-cylinder engines in working order. All the complications are easily visible inside the sapphire crystal cases.
Arabo creates the watchmaking concepts and some fifty watchmakers and designers from the Jacob & Co. Geneva office bring them to life. They work with suppliers to the Swiss watch industry in a manner consistent with Swiss watchmaking tradition even if its ideas are far from traditional. “I decided I wanted to get into some serious complications, inventing moves that had never been done before,” Arabo said. And that’s exactly what he did.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Arabov has focused on moving the business into the digital age and this will remain his focus as he runs the business. Since taking over the company’s social media activities as a consultant in 2017, Jacob & Co.’s combined social media audience has grown from 200,000 to 2.5 million followers. He says the company’s primary Instagram account is the fastest growing among its peers, along with TikTok. This focus in social media has directly led to 20-30% annual sales growth over the past four years, he said.
“We are producing complications never seen before at a rate that no other luxury watch brand does. Over the past five years, we have launched more collections than our competitors in over 20 years. In addition, our products have a natural “jaw drop” effect. Most are amazed when they see our watches, ”said Arabov. “It is precisely for this reason that digital is so important to us. We have so much creativity to show that we can’t wait for a trade show or a magazine cover with our watch on. We want the world to discover my father’s creative genius and there is no better way in today’s world to show that creativity than on social media.
He says the importance of digital media for luxury goods has been highlighted during the pandemic. “When the world stopped and no one was walking into the stores because of the pandemic, the majority of our sales were over the phone. We adapted very quickly, adapting to everything digital (making sales through digital media) and had our best year yet. “
Arabov also wants to launch an e-commerce platform. This will indeed be a challenge and serve as a measure of how much people are willing to spend regularly online with jewelry and watches that start at the five-figure level and can cost over a million dollars.
Surprisingly, Arabov left the family business at the age of 19 to start his own business. His interest in digital media materialized with Grow Enrollments, a consulting company he founded in 2016 that focuses on generating digital leads for educational institutions through Google AdWords. He started the business with $ 1,500 of his own money. The company had $ 6 million in revenue in 2020. This success led it to be on the Forbes 30under30 list for 2021.
Arabov said that by leaving on his own, he gained eight years of digital experience and six years of running a successful business. And he still planned to return to the family business when the time was right.
“Even at a young age, I knew there was only a certain value I could bring if I only learned within the four walls of Jacob & Co,” he said. declared. “It was difficult to leave and it was one of the most difficult conversations I have had with my dad, but it was worth it because now I have come back with a wealth of knowledge as a marketing expert. digital and knowing how to run a Business. “
In addition to digital initiatives, Arabov says his responsibilities will be to continue growing the brand globally. This will include managing staff across five continents, developing and implementing business strategies and maintaining relationships with partners such as high performance automaker Bugatti.
Arabov says he and his father have different skills, so they will be apart from each other most of the time. “We’re not banging our heads because, as we all know, family businesses are not easy, so it’s important that we collaborate but also stay in our own areas and focus on our strengths to get this across. business at the top level. In addition, I have learned my father’s entrepreneurial mentality all my life and now I can continue to do so every day, working alongside him in the company.
Arabov seems ready to accept the obstacles of running a growing business with annual revenues described by him in the “nine-figure range”. “It’s a complex business that involves creative solutions and original thinking. We have also experienced significant and consistent growth over the past four years due to our digital growth, so there is added pressure to keep the momentum going in order to keep growing, ”he said. “It’s a big challenge for me.
While Arabov has the title of leader, the real leader of the company, his father, is not going anywhere. If things go as planned, Arabov says his father will work specifically on the creative side by designing products, managing the sales team, overseeing product production, and focusing on “overall” projects. , giving him the freedom and focus to do what he does best and open the doors for even more innovation for the brand.
“As a business owner you wear a lot of different hats and usually work on projects that you love and projects that you just can’t stand. My goal is to stop my dad from working on projects he doesn’t like so he can put all of his energy, focus and attention into what he does best. I think that will not only make him happier, but we can also grow taller faster. “
Meanwhile, Jacob Arabo is confident in his son’s ability to take the business to the next level.
“My vision for Jacob & Co. is multigenerational longevity. Our world is changing rapidly, especially after the pandemic. The entire fine watch industry is navigating what the future will look like, ”said Arabo. “By combining Benjamin’s digital aptitude with the DNA of Jacob & Co., I believe he will take our business to new heights. Benjamin will be redesigning the core competencies of Jacob & Co. as a global brand, as we are about to bring our industry into a new era. I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve made since I founded the company, and I’m excited to kick off its next chapter with Benjamin as our new CEO.
Benjamin Arabov says his overall goal is to build a brand that over the years will gain the same heritage as the prestigious Swiss watch brands.
“Looking at the history of the luxury watch industry, most of the well-known watch brands – Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Piaget – started out as family businesses and took off in their second and third generations. I hope to stand on the shoulders of giants and bring Jacob & Co. to this level.