Matter of time
The pre-owned luxury market is booming. Not only can you find limited editions and discontinued pieces, but it is also a lucrative space for watch collectors.
WatchBox is one of the world’s leading platform for buying, selling and trading of pre-owned luxury watches with offices across the world, including Dubai in partnership with Seddiqi & Sons.
In charge of expansion initiatives is Global President, Amanda Ellison. She has 25 years of experience in business and law, including over eight years in the luxury pre-owned watch space. She was instrumental in the launch of WatchBox in 2017, and in time introduced Women’s Leadership Initiative at WatchBox, establishing a network, resource, and learning and development program for the company.
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What was your favourite subject at school?
History. A very wise teacher once told me History was essentially ‘his-story’ – a collection of memories, opinions and perceptions but not necessarily facts. I have always loved learning about other cultures, languages, customs, beliefs. History gave me a window into another world.
What was your first job?
Working for my father who owned an insurance company. I worked in my April vacation while I was at university and I am pretty sure he paid me minimum wage. My job was to write 3rd party insurance tokens for large trucking companies in South Africa. Definitely not very interesting.
What made you want to join WatchBox?
What inspired me to join WatchBox was the excitement and challenge of doing something nobody had done. Being at the epicentre of disrupting and entire market segment is not an opportunity that many people get in life and I was lucky enough to get it. I believed in the concept, I saw the vision and ran with the potential.
What are the key elements of your role?
My initial responsibility was to lead expansion initiatives worldwide, instituting the playbook to establish WatchBox in key global markets. This involved balancing WatchBox’s physical and digital infrastructure with clear operational processes, robust data systems and strategic partnerships. To date, I have overseen the negotiation and launch of key strategic relationships as well as the launch of regional offices in Hong Kong, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, and the Middle East. I have also spearheaded the digital transformation of the company with the introduction of enterprise class technology. My focus now is to grow each of these regions into highly successful regional offices of the WatchBox brand, with a special emphasis on South Africa and the Middle East
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Talk us through your daily routine.
I am a very structured and organized person by nature, however, this role has required me to travel so much that I have not been afforded the luxury of a daily routine besides brushing my teeth. Because of this, I would say I rather have daily habits as opposed to daily routines which generally revolve around healthy, clean eating, exercising whenever possible and constantly working my never ending “to do” list.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Where do I even begin on this one? If I had to pick just a few, it would be confidence, passion and resilience.
It is extremely important to find your inner voice – have confidence in yourself and truly believe that your opinion actually does matter. Ask, listen, show up and speak up.
To become the best version of yourself, do something you are passionate about. If you have passion, being present, engaged and committed is easy. Without passion, motivation will not thrive and innovation will suffer.
How do you define being a leader?
Being a leader is not about winning a popularity contest – it involves doing the right thing, not just saying the right thing. Not everyone is going to like you; some people will constantly try to knock you down, undermine you or belittle you. However, at the end of the day, it’s not what they do to you, but rather how you react to it. Have the courage and belief you can do it. Every time you are knocked down, don’t give up but rather stand up and step back into the ring. It’s grit and courage that will get you through the last mile, because the journey is never an easy one.
Always remember you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with. Be discerning in the choices you make.
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Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
Mostly Eli Tahari and Theory. I am not necessarily married to a particular brand but rather to a classic, simple, timeless style.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Actions speak louder than words – always look at what people do not what they say. Learn to read the subtext as it always tells you more than the words themselves.
And what is the worst?
Trust me. I won’t let you down.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
On a personal level – the death of my father when I was 18 years old.
On a business level – moving to New York City in my early 20’s, not knowing anyone and having to find my way in a foreign country with no support network, no friends and no family, and only $2,000 in my pocket. This involved making an impact in a very male oriented world by overcoming preconceived notions that a woman’s role was strictly limited to being the primary care giver and homemaker and not at the boardroom table.
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Media: Supplied, Instagram