If you want to learn how to start a watch business from home with no money, then you’re in the right place.
In the past, it wasn’t possible to bootstrap a watch business.
Today, it’s not only possible, but the best way to start one.
The key is to know what to do and in what order. Otherwise, you won’t be able to start a high end watch business without lots of VC funding. Don’t be too nervous though as it has been done before with brands like MVMT.
So with that said, let’s get started.
How To Start A Luxury Watch Business
I’m going to assume that you want to build a real luxury brand.
I mean, that’s where all the cool stuff is happening during watches. Products that look super high end. They have sleek, beautiful designs. They sell the lifestyle. And as a result, they’re not cheap. Great!
But you still need to follow the fundamentals, including differentiation.
Now, luxury brands do NOT do differentiation like regular brands. In a regular brand, you’re doing direct comparisons to show your product is better than everyone else’s. In luxury though, your entire goal is to be exclusive without the hard sell. You’re just different, naturally.
The best way to do this in luxury?
Basically, if you can get your watches made in a certain location that is known for luxury craftsmanship or you can use materials from these places, you’re off to a great start. For bonus points though, you want to pick a place that is not used too often.
For example, using Japanese materials and constructed in Switzerland.
By doing this, you will naturally create a luxury watch that can only be found through your store and no one else’s. It will also allow you to charge super high prices. On the downside, this is not cheap. With that said, if you really want to build a true luxury watch brand, there is no alternative.
How To Find Watch Manufacturers
It’s not easy to find luxury watch manufacturers, but it’s worth the hassle.
If you’re following my advice above, you want to find a manufacturer that is either located in a specific country or uses materials from a specific country. I’ve found that the best place to start is to go with the basics, while adding in a modification.
Watch manufacturers [country]
Watch private label [country]
If you know specific cities where they make the watch you want to make, then you can either replace the country section with the city or include both. I’ve found this is the simplest way to nail down who you want to work with.
Now, let’s say you’re looking for specific materials.
In that case, I would either type on Google
Luxury watch manufacturer or luxury watch private label
Find yourself a manufacturer, look at what is on their site, and if they don’t mention it, then call them to ask if they offer what you want or at least any alternatives. This is going to be a frustrating experience since you’re just guessing, but I haven’t found a more thorough way making this happen.
You can also google for the specific materials and work backwards.
For example, if you know that you want a watch that uses a specific Japanese material, google for that specific material and then ask that manufacturer who they typically work with so you can make your watch using their material.
Again, it’s simple, but time consuming.
How To Start A Watch Business From Home
If you really want to learn how to start a watch business from home, you have your hands full. And if you want to learn how to start a watch business with no money, then even moreso.
With that said, here’s how I would do it…
The most important part to remember is that if you want to keep your pricing power as a premium or even luxury watch brand is that you have to avoid hardcore direct response marketing. I’m not saying avoid all direct response though, just the type that typically requires hard discounting to get new customers.
Instead, I suggest building the Vogue Magazine for watch lovers.
Luckily, there are a ton of examples out there including WatchTime, Chrono24, and Hodinkee. I would do basically what they are doing, but for myself. The reason is that now this allows you to ATTRACT customers, rather than push for them. It’s much easier to keep your pricing power when you aren’t begging for money.
It’s also the only way to make sales BEFORE you have money.
For example, if you build a readership of 10,000 newsletter subscribers and have them pre-order your watch before it starts production, you now all of a sudden have the money to afford it without any of it coming from your own pockets.
It’s also the ideal way to start a home business as you can build an audience without inventory.
This would be my #1 goal.
The second thing that I would focus on is a ton of PR and influencers.
You want your watch brand to be validated by others. In other words, you’re more likely to be taken seriously as a luxury brand if you’re featured on all of the top news outlets in the world. And if you can’t be featured on the big news outlets, then at least being featured on all of the watch specific outlets we talked about 2 seconds ago work too.
In addition, it helps to have influencers talking about you on social media.
So make your Dream 100 to include your top 100 outlets and top 100 influencers. Then present them with your full brand experience, including luxury packaging. By combining your audience building and your earned media strategy, you’ll have the building blocks of a strong luxury watch business.
Only after this, would I consider doing paid ads.
Once you get to this stage, here is where you should take the profits from your sales and hire a photographer or an agency to do all of your ad creative. You want to make sure you tell them that you want to look like a luxury brand so that you’re treated like one.
Facebook ads are a big topic, but the last thing I’ll add here is to avoid hard discounting.
In fact, the longer you can go without discounting, the better. That’s why advertising should be secondary channel for you and more of your business should be focused on audience building and earned media like PR.