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Fossil Group | Success Story of the Leading Watch Manufacturer



Fossil Group

Fossil is a renowned fashion brand famous for its classy and top-notch watches. The brand started selling watches in 1985. Founded by Tom Kartsotis, Fossil offers its customers a premium range of smartwatches, leather watches, stainless steel watches, bags, wallets, jewelry, perfumes, and leather products. Fossil Group also manufactures accessories for premium brands like Emporio Armani, Adidas, Karl Lagerfeld, BMW, Michael Kors, Armani Exchange, Diesel, and Kate Spade New York. For over three decades, Fossil has been an integral part of the fashion industry. 


Fossil is one of the prominent American watch and lifestyle companies offering premium quality watches with elegant designs and superlative craftsmanship. Headquartered in Richardson, Texas, the group has more than 300 stores worldwide. The watchmaking business started in 1984 and has grown into one of the most significant portfolios in the fashion world. A-list celebrities like KJ Apa, Austin Mahone, Kriti Sanon, Varun Dhawan, Mandy Moore, Jennifer Aniston, and Yara Shahidi have endorsed the brand.


Tom Kartsotis was a Texas A&M university dropout. He was living in Dallas, Texas when he dreamed about becoming an entrepreneur. Initially, he started an unauthorized ticket-selling business. Tom used to buy tickets for major football games and other events and later sold them at inflated rates. Soon, he realized he did not want the ticket-scalping business for the rest of his life. As a result, he began searching for other ways of making money. Tom’s brother, Kosta Kartsotis, told him about the growing popularity of Eastern goods in the American market. He said they could make huge profits by selling Eastern-manufactured and imported goods in the States. Tom liked the idea and began researching the Asian manufacturing market.

Establishment of Fossil

Tom had saved more than $200,000 from the ticket-scalping business. He was eager to begin a new and successful venture. Kosta had told Tom about the moderately-priced fashion watches of the far eastern countries. The watches could be imported and sold with a hefty profit. To know better about the imported goods from Asia, Tom decided to travel to Hong Kong. He spent some time in Hong Kong to explore the vast business importing facilities. Initially, he decided to import stuffed animals and soft toys. However, after introspecting, Tom reconsidered his brother’s suggestion and decided to start a watch manufacturing and importing business. 

Tom hired a local manufacturer in Hong Kong to begin the watch-making business. They agreed to manufacture 1500 watches and bring them to the United States. Soon, the company kickstarted, and Tom started selling the Eastern-made watches in the departmental stores and boutiques of Dallas, Texas. He named the company Overseas Products International. Later, after gaining some recognition in the local market, Tom hired a friend who was also a designer. His friend, Lynne Stafford, began working on the company’s existing watch designs and simultaneously created a retro design style. Everyone loved the retro designs, from teenagers to people in their 30s or 40s. The retro designs were inspired by the watches back in the 1930s and old issues of prestigious magazines like Time, Look, and Life. Initially, Tom and Kosta created Overseas Products International as a part of a more significant marketing project. However, the brothers decided to launch the watches under the name “Fossil” in 1985. 

Initial Years and Success

By 1987, the brand started making a considerable amount of profit. Fossil became a reputed brand among Texas retailers. As a result, the brand grew exponentially. By the end of the 1980s, Fossil was a successful brand. In 1989, the company generated a revenue of $20 million. In the same year, Fossil launched the iconic tin container for the watch. The 50s era of American culture inspired the tin box’s design. Fossil’s watches gave out a nostalgic, classy, and premium vibe. The brand’s popularity grew across the state, and the company soon expanded its business. During the mid-90s, Fossil introduced two new lines of products. The new range included leather goods such as wallets, handbags, and belts. The second was the launch of the “Relic” line of watches. Moreover, the company opened a store in Macy’s flagship store in NYC. The super-shop attracted thousands of customers, and Fossil became a renowned name in America. 

Following Years

After gaining recognition across the USA, Fossil expanded its business internationally. The company opened stores in Europe. By 1992, Fossil had generated more than $90 million from sales. Consequently, in 1993, the brand went public. On the brand’s tenth anniversary, Tom and Kosta launched a line of sunglasses. By the end of 1995, Fossil sold its watches in more than 50 countries. The brand was optimistic about its growth and further expanded its retail stores in Asia. By 1997, the brand sold its products in over 180 locations in Japan. In 2000, Fossil launched a clothing line and opened stores across the UK, Germany, and Singapore. Fossil Group sells over 30 million watches annually, making it one of the most prominent brands in watch history. 

Also read: Tanishq | India’s Leading Jewellery Brand in the Luxury Market

Who owns Fossil Group?

Tom Kartsotis’ brother Kosta Kartsotis is the CEO and owner of the Fossil Group. Tom was the chairman and CEO of the group until 2000. Later, he resigned from the CEO position and remained the group’s chairperson until 2010. However, Tom still owns a small stake in the company’s shares. 

What is the net worth of Fossil?

Fossil’s net worth is estimated to be $300 million. The brand was established in 1984. For over three decades, Fossil has been an integral part of the watch-making industry. It is famous for its elegant, retro style and premium designs. 

Is Fossil a luxury brand?

No, Fossil is not a luxury brand. However, it offers its customers a wide range of premium smartwatches, analog watches, mechanical watches, bags, wallets, and jewelry. The brand’s target audience is middle and upper-income consumers. 

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