Guide To Starting A Watch Company
Watches are more than just a tool to tell time; they define style, status, and personality. There are so many different watches out there, but it is the desire for uniqueness that creates the continuous demand. By the end of this guide you will know the possible ways of starting a watch company and have the resources to begin.
Questions to ask yourself before starting:
1.What will make starting a watch business ultimately worth it to you?
Do you want to share your passion for watches? Express your creativity? Make a name for yourself? Make a lot of money? Knowing this is important so that when times get tough, you can remember why you started and why it is worth it.
2. Watches are a competitive market, what will set you apart from the competition?
What characteristics will your watches have that make them more desirable than an established brand. For example, you might have a watch that is made of recycled materials or has a unique way of displaying the time.
3. What are your goals for the short term and the long term?
Where do you want to see your business in a year? Five years? Be realistic and specific when you answer this question, don’t just vaguely envision making a million dollars and selling thousands of watches. Setting goals and deadlines will help you stay motivated, and you can adjust them along the way as need be.
Your Actual Business Plan
So how will you actually start a watch company? Not surprisingly the answer depends on the size of your wallet. However starting small can be a good thing because you can learn a lot before you incur more risk. Here are a few options in regards to how much capital you have to start with.
Option one: Get your foot in the door through dropshipping (under 100$)
I got one word for you, dropshipping. Never heard of it? Well if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in starting your watch company, it’s your ticket to starting. Dropshipping is when you sell a product at your chosen marked up retail price after purchasing it from a supplier, who sells it to you at their wholesale price. You then pocket the difference, and they handle the packaging and shipping. All you need to do is create the way for a customer to discover and purchase the product, most easily done by setting up an e-commerce website. I recommend using as they have pre-made websites that you can customize and already have multiple ways to receive payment. The main benefit of dropshipping is the low risk. You do not have to stalk stock up your inventory with thousands of dollars of watches you hope to sell you simply purchase them after you have a buyer. There are many suppliers out there who do dropshipping so browse through them and choose the ones who has the watches you think will sell the most. Note that this option doesn’t entail a unique product so to succeed you will need to be creative and effective in how you market and advertise.
Get started with dropshipping now:
Option two: Buy brand customizable watches from existing watch companies (Need decent amount of capital, $1,000 – $25,000 depending on watch quality)
Start with already made watches that you can customize with your logo. The biggest advantage here is buying a watch you already know people like and putting your own spin on it like an engraving, or placing your logo on the dial, side, bezel or case back. There are plenty of places to find watches as cheap as five dollars or with better quality material, into the thousands of dollars.Most companies only do custom watches in bulk. This way incurs a bit more risk since you will have to spend money to stock up on inventory.
Option Three: Design a watch yourself or hire a designer ($10,000 to $500,000)
If you want to create your own 100% original design, you will have to learn how to make watches yourself or hire a credible watch designer. Depending on the materials and types of movements watches can become pretty complex and expensive. Luckily, there are schools where you can learn how to do this. First and most known is the American Watchmakers- Clockmakers Institute or AWCI. You take their course and pass their certification class and then you will be qualified to make and repair watches. They offer a lot of different certifications such as their VW21: Certified Watchmaker for the 21st Century. They are also a excellent resource for locating watchmaking professionals who are already certified. Search online for schools near you that offer watch specialist certifications. Once you have designed your watch, you will need to find a manufacturer capable of creating your specific designs which you’ll know how to do by the time you are done reading this guide.
Define your customer
The benefit of defining who will be your most ideal customer is to better focus on who you will market your watches to. For example, a luxury watch made by Lange & Söhne would mostly be marketed to men over 40 with high incomes who desire a watch that will signify status. In contrast, a watch that has a disney princess on it would be more affectively sold if marketed to your little sister. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself to narrow it down:
- Are your watches for men, women or children?
- What need will your watch satisfy? what types of people have this need?
- What income does a person have to have, to buy your watches?
- Where is your ideal customer most likely going to hear of your product?
Your Brand Name
You are going to want to choose a name that emanates the style of your watch brand as well as being multilingual if you plan on selling it all over the world. The name can be a made up word, a person, a place. Also a lot of companies use a verb as a name such as Go-gurt. Don’t spend too much time on this as some people do; the name will often just come to you as you spend more time with the product you want to sell. For the logo, you can hire a logo artist, who can create multiple logos and and you choose the one you like most.
Become watch savvy
Always learning more is a requirement for success so you may want to check out resources for learning about the history of watches, how they are made, the different styles, product design and watch vocabulary. Watches have a lot of parts so you want to be sure none of them come to a surprise to you when you find out you need them. Below are a few places where you can increase your knowledge and for that matter your appreciation of watches.
How to actually design your wrist watch
This might not be the flashy and sexy way of doing things, but it’s how most products have started out for hundreds of years, on paper. Definitely the fastest way to portray your idea and very easy to make changes to. Of course, you have to be good at drawing so you might want to start practicing by trying to draw watches similar to your style.
The closest way you’ll get to an actual product without actually having one. Computer aided design is how the big boys design their products and with good reason. This kind of software allows you to make precision 3d models with exact measurements. Although it can take some time to learn, it is a definitely a valuable skill for a watch company owner. After you design your 3d model of a watch, you can send it to manufacturers with the peace of mind that they will have a clear understanding of exactly what you want created. Another plus of CAD is that you
can actually hook it up to a 3d printer and get a prototype right away. The price of 3d printers has been dropping and their capabilities are remarkable. A 3d printer probably can’t make a high quality working watch just yet, but it can give you a prototype of how the outside of the watch will look regarding size and shape.
Hire and work with a designer
Don’t want to take the time to become good at drawing or learn CAD that’s ok, a lot of people already have, and you can hire them to do the work for you. There are many websites such as freelance.com where you can find designers for hire, view their profiles, past work and reviews.
How to build it (manufacturers)
Finding the right manufacturer can be tricky and take some time. The first task is finding someone who is capable of making your product. You will want to check out reviews from their other customers to see if there is anything you should be aware of such as them not making deadlines often, charging a lot for shipping or poor quality products. Find out how good their quality assurance is, you do not want to be constantly sending back defective products and getting bad reviews from your customers. For Chinese manufacturers check out the e-commerce giant Alibaba. Find a prospective manufacturer, email them, get samples.
Tip: You might want to pretend you are bigger than you are if just starting out so that they take you more seriously. Let them know you want to try them out in anticipation of a larger order.
Ways to get funding if you need it
Now, there is always the option when starting a business to take out a business loan. For this, you will need a thorough business plan to present as well as good credit history.If your product has a unique attribute such as sustainability, you may want to try kickstart which is an online donation site that many people have raised a lot of capital from. Lastly, you can find investors online or through friends and family who would be willing to invest for a percentage of future profits or ownership in the company.
I hope this was enough information here for you to feel confident and begin starting your watch company. I will update this post regularly with more resources and information so be sure to bookmark it to refer to later. If you have any questions or comments, please ask below!