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At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, AEGAON announced it’s financial difficulties along with hundreds of other Estonian small companies due to the rapidly changed market situation. It placed AEGAON in the spotlight of increased interest and raised many questions. AEGAON board member Kristjan Rabi gathered the most frequently asked questions and answered them in the following article.
How could a company such as AEGAON get into such great difficulties so fast, that its continuing became under a threat?
People who are probably not so closely related to business, have raised their opinion, that 8 years should have given AEGAON enough savings to easily slide through the crisis. The reality is, that all earnings are invested into the company growth and products – as is common in business. Reserve funds for emergencies is reasonable indeed. Unfortunately the timing of the crisis could not have been worse for AEGAON, as we had just invested greatly into new working space and placed large orders for watch components (that have still not arrived to this day).
We noticed a 80% decline in customer numbers at our shop and e-store right at the beginning of the crisis. It was only reasonable to conclude, that it was caused by the outdoor restrictions and a change in consumption habits in favour of basic necessities. Not only in Estonia, but everywhere in the world. Our partners abroad had to stop working and went off the grid for quite a while. We just received great news from our Spanish strap makers, that they are back in business, unfortunately with a long and wide line of work.
At the beginning of the crisis, the media made us believe, that the situation will take months to recover. Today it is clear, that it did and it will. AEGAON is in a situation, where we have 6 people on the payroll and need to attend to all other business related financial obligations. Considering all of the above, it became clear to us, that AEGAON would not last more than a few months in those conditions. Lucky for us, here we are today, still in business and feeling more optimistic about the future, than a few months ago.
Was the campaign of donating 5% of your income to Estonian Maternity Hospitals Support Fund a PR trick to get more sales?
That question has surprised us the most. The answer is no. AEGAON has for a long time supported children in need. It has been an obligation we have put on ourselves, because it is a matter that is important to us due to personal reasons. Since then, we had minded our charity business quietly, without feeling the need to talk about it publicly. But as the situation case was critical and did not get enough attention due to everything going on, twe felt the need to make some noise around it. This may have shocked some people into skeptitcism and I guess we have to understand that. More information about the campaign is available at this link: https://aitaalustadaelu.ee/kampaaniad/kaitse-ammaemandat-ja-emmet/
Have you closed the shop in Tallinn Old Town for good?
Our personal wish is to continue running the shop at the same location, because we like it, as do our Estonian customers and tourists – who we might not expect for a while. For the time being, we have sent all our products to our e-store handling warehouse at Pakipoint. Opening the shop depends on the virus situation and solving the supply issue of our watch components.
AEGAON Watches shop in Tallinn Old Town
Watch models that are sold out, when are they back in stock, if at all?
It is difficult to give a straight answer, since it all depends on the components supply and when we will actually have them. They are long over due. Our supply partners around the world are facing the same issues. But i will try my best according to todays prognosis.
“Tabula Rasa 38” – our hopes are on the beginning of June.
“Peacemaker 53” – waiting for some of the components. My best guess is, that we can start assembling them at the beginning of June.
“Tabula Rasa 44” – i don’t see a chance of restock before July-August. We have what we have, until sold out.
“Peacemaker 65” – my best guess for assembling is July.
“New Designs” – The protoypes are almost done. I can’t put a certain date on them, but when they are done, then we will start pre-sales immediately online and make them visible at our shop at Aia street.
We would like to order watches for our company as gifts, how do you handle business customers at the moment?
Marten will answer all business customer questions. Call him +372 502 69 19 or send him an e-mail Marten(at)aegaon.com
Please note, that our engraving partners only take new orders on Mondays and Thursdays so please consider the extra time on receiving your orders.
Your shop is closed, how can I pay with installment?
Marten has all the solutions, please contact him Marten(at)aegaon.com and he will guide you through it. E-store still offers Slice installment by Inbank with orders from 75-800€, that will slice the amount in three. Please note, that all installment options are only available to Estonian residents.
I have an issue with the watch, i need to adjust the metal strap or the battery needs a change, where do i turn to?
Our shop is currently closed due to the virus situation and we try to avoid direct contact with our customers to keep everyone safe. That’s why we do all service operations via parcel terminals. For instructions, please contact Liis(at)aegaon.com
I placed an order in your e-store, when can i expect to receive it?
All orders are shipped out on the same day or the next work day. The courier and logistics companies are overloaded, so we can’t say exactly how long will it take for you to receive your order in Estonia or abroad. So far all orders have been fulfilled, some are taking longer than usual indeed.
I’m in a hurry, is there maybe a way for me to retrieve my order from your shop immediately somehow?
We wouldn’t like nothing more than to say „yes please, come and get it“, but we can’t. About 90% of our remaining stock is taken to our e-store warehouse at Pakipoint. So it is just not possible at this moment, sorry.
What are the odds, that AEGAON will go out of business all together?
Considering how motivated we are to continue the work we have done during the past 8 years, I would say the odds of that happening are low. But there’s nothing we can do about the world market situation and a lot depends on when we run out of stock and when will we receive our long overdue components. Time will tell.
AEGAON Watches founder & designer
What are your solutions to keep the company going?
We have had to approach the situation rather creatively, think things through and all in a hurry compared to usual. First thing we did was lower our prices 25% and direct all resources on our e-store. We have invested in ads to be visible. Today we can say that so far it has all paid off, since AEGAON no longer fits in the government help program. We have speeded up our export plans. Affiliate program is a part of it and we will launch as soon as possible. We have cut down our expenses to minimum as many have done. Currently our greatest threat is running out of stock before new components arrive. But, we are feeling positive about it, rather than considering the nightmare scenario.
We would like to use this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who have expressed their support during the crisis, advised us and wished us all the best. We also thank all our private and business customers, who have felt the need to cheer themselves and others with our watches. We wish you all strength, patience and shrewdness to get through the crisis. Take care!
AEGAON Watches board member