myth watches "M" in a red circle

Starting a watch brand… or maybe not.

I started building a watch brand in 2019.

It didn’t work out.

Here’s the story about what happened during one of many entrepreneurial experiments I pursued in 2019.

In the past, I never thought about watches much. Wore them a few times, but couldn’t get into it.

The Apple Watch [1] had enough utility to win me over for health metrics. But that’s all I wear.

I’m not a fashion watch person.

Until I noticed a trend.

A few entrepreneurs I follow on social media started their own tiny, but profitable, watch companies.

How were they doing this?

  • None of them were industry moguls with a war chest of millions to finance a new company.
  • They weren’t VC-backed Silicon Valley startup guys either.
  • These were hustlers. Gary V’s [2] audience. The gritty part of Twitter focused on upward mobility, and making things happen with what you’ve got.
  • They would design the branding, select the watch models they wanted to sell, manufacture them in China, import them, and advertise them on social media.

Then I noticed that Movado Group Inc [3] pays $100 million to acquire MVMT Watches [5] in 2018. MVMT got started by a couple guys leveraging modern design and great digital marketing to focus in on their target market.

Watches now have more of my attention.

Why not me?

I understand the design and social media advertising parts, but that big chunk in the middle is a mystery: Chinese manufacturing and importing.

As I followed these other watch entrepreneurs, their posts about running their watch companies built momentum inside me until I had to dive in.

The plan was to manufacture, import, and sell watches with my own brand name on them.

My digital marketing skills would give me an edge above the competition.

So eventually, I bought a course/service for $1,000 from Chris Johnson (Wealth Squad)[4] about how to build a watch company.

Some of the small watch companies weren’t even using Facebook ads. How?

Based on the course, Instagram was key.

My curiosity was peaked.

I’ve had lots of experience running ads on both Facebook & Instagram. I figure, I’ve got this.

Based on the course, the manufacturing and branding process made sense. I was ready.

Then I made my first and last mistake.

I outsourced the design, brand name, and watch selection.

The company I bought the course from offered a package deal to help anyone get a watch brand off the ground.

They would come up with a name, design the logo, setup your manufacturer relationship, and even order your first branded watch sample.

I hired them to handle everything.

They had helped others, so I trusted them. Also, I thought I didn’t have time since I worked full time as a digital marketer for clients.

However, when I finally saw their mockups and got the sample product in the mail, my heart sank.

I didn’t like any of it.

Zero.

I didn’t like the name they came up with, the design of the brand, or the watch model they chose.

Extreme regret sets in.

Of course, there might be a target customer that I could’ve found that may have liked their choices, and a few old people I showed the sample watch to did respond positively.

But, I couldn’t put my energy into something I didn’t believe in, and I was frustrated by how low quality everything looked.

Starting Over

myth watches logo, white on red

So I started redesigning the brand from scratch and came up with the name MYTH Watches.

MYTH Watches would design a line of watches where each watch would have a unique name & styling based on a mythological character, or an archetype.

I was excited about the new direction.

I changed the branding on the Shopify [6] store and started talking to potential designers.

Momentum was building back up.

Too Much Friction

Then a few things happened that ended my interest in the project:

  1. The first watch from the manufacturer stopped working about two weeks after I gave it to my mom.
  2. The 2019 Trump/China trade war kicked up in the news and made me concerned about shipping issues.
  3. Rumors started circulating about some new virus in Wuhan, China.

So, after several months and a $1,000 for the original course and branding package, I stopped working on the project and moved on.

A few months later when coronavirus hit and lock down was in full swing, I was glad I didn’t have to deal with the additional importing delays.

But who knows… might start a similar project in the future if I can get my head around an opportunity that makes sense.

References

  1. Apple Watch
  2. Movado Group Inc
  3. MVMT
  4. Wealth Squad / Chris Johnson
  5. Shopify

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