Mimo has stepped in to prevent a rumour damaging its Silhouette brand. The rumour, that spread rapidly through the industry had optometrists and wholesalers incorrectly under the impression that Silhouette had been bought by Luxottica.
Mimo’s CEO in Australia, Lionel Minter, said the rumour could have caused the company and its sales representatives significant damage. Several customers called him or spoke to his sales reps to advise they would refuse to purchase Silhouette unless it was proven that Luxottica was not about to purchase the brand. Concerned customers also called to enquire after the well-being of Mr. Minter and his wife Cassandra, who is also a director of the company.
“One NSW rep was concerned on two fronts – that he’d lose sales because of the customer reaction and also lose his job.”
Rumours Started Early
The rumour is not new – in fact, Mr. Minter said, it was first spruiked last November by a Sales Representative from outside Mimo. “I managed to overturn that one quickly but last Thursday (16 February) they started again and there were a few of them going around.”
Luxottica is a major competitor of every independent practitioner and therefore all of our clients – so there is no fit between us. We are not selling Silhouette to Luxottica stores
While the rumours all had Luxottica acquiring Silhouette, some said the acquisition had been completed back in December and others said it was about to be announced at Mido. Either way, none were true.
“Luxottica is a major competitor of every independent practitioner and therefore all of our clients – so there is no fit between us. We are not selling Silhouette to Luxottica stores”.
He said it was entirely understandable that existing customers would be concerned about Luxottica acquiring Silhouette. “They don’t want to be spending their money with Luxottica who is a major competitor to them.”
Mr. Minter told mivision that once he has done further research into the source of the rumour, he may consider taking legal action. “Rumours can be rumours, some are skuttle buttle – but when they become detrimental to our business then that becomes a problem. Under our distribution licence, we have a fiduciary duty to protect the Silhouette brand and possibly litigate anyone we find working to damage it.”
He said the fact that rumours are being spread about Silhouette indicates that competitors are concerned about his brand’s strength in the market.
“In an effort to protect and build their own business they are trying to undermine Silhouette. But in the end, we’re strong enough in the market for this not to effect our long term business,” said Mr. Minter.