How We Started Button Watch And Grew To $1.5M/Year

$110,000
revenue/mo
3
Founders
5
Employees
product
Button Watch
from Madrid
started
$110,000
revenue/mo
3
Founders
5
Employees
3.17M
alexa rank

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello to you all! I’m Chema Echanove, one of the three co-founders alongside Javier Echanove and Daniel Ferrandis.

We are Button Watch, the first watch in the world with interchangeable cotton straps that fastens with a button, just like a shirt. With more than 1000 combinations between cases and straps, we surely can say ‘’One watch, infinite looks’’.

After almost two years we’re going to close 2019 with $1.5M in revenue.

how-we-started-button-watch-and-grew-to-1-5m-year

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

It all started in the spring of 2018, when we founded our company, we were and still convinced that it’s possible to leave our mark in the fashion industry through innovation.

A ginormous family of 10 siblings, long talks and the idea of beginning an epic adventure all together was our motivation to start all this process.

After lots of ideas, brainstorming, coffees and all-nighter meetings, we have created the Button Watch, the first watch in the world that has interchangeable fabric straps fastened with a button.

And so it all began. A new product that questions all industry rules.

In our beginnings the brand was called Wynot, from ‘’Why not?’’. Why not fastened your watch with a button? Why not interchangeable straps and have a new watch every day? Why not…?

But this year, was the year of change and growth, and we didn’t think of a better moment to identify our brand with our product, a better chance to our new customers to recognize what we do and what our product is. Some of these changes has come from hiring a product manager who has changed packaging design, watch design and started to innovate with different raw materials for our button straps. On the other hand and regarding digital staff, we have learned a lot in the last year so now we are fully capable to invest more than 500.000€ in marketing online in platforms like Facebook or Google. But the most important thing of this year is that we started being 4 in our headquarters, and today we are 9 expecting to finish this year being more than 11 people having a full qualified team to face the future.

how-we-started-button-watch-and-grew-to-1-5m-year

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

When we started the project we had only one thing clear: innovation should be our differentiating factor.

When making decisions, it’s essential to ensure that you have enough data to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Many times we made mistakes by rushing and changing things that were really doing their job.

With that premise we began to investigate trying to find some element that would allow us to build a different brand, with our own discourse and a unique proposal in the market. Then we found the button. A conventional fastening system that had never been applied to watch straps. We immediately realized that beyond the button, we were opening the opportunity to capture countless trends, fabrics, textures and patterns in a strap like never before.

We have made the first prototype by hand, with my mother in her old sewing machine. It looked horrible! But something made us fall in love with the idea, so we bought a couple of sewing machines, hired a seamstress and shut ourselves away until we found the current design.

After the patent and the first tests and purchases of friends, we set up our own workshop, near Madrid, which allowed us to optimize all processes, reducing costs and perfecting the finishes.

Our watch is so unique that we have the challenge of communicating it in every material surrounding the product (packaging, displays, ads), avoiding falling into all the stereotypes of the watchmaking sector. See the following video to understand it better:

how-we-started-button-watch-and-grew-to-1-5m-year

Describe the process of launching the business.

We thought it would be easy. Although we had no experience in opening an E-Commerce, we collected approximately € 30,000 from my parents and siblings to start the business. With that small budget we have had to set up the web, produce the first collection and cover all the marketing costs to launch the first ad campaigns.

We decided to focus our efforts on making the best product we could and design a website as simple as possible. After trying Prestashop and suffering some bad experiences, we decided to switch to Shopify where we have developed our current store.

Because we sold 45.000€ in a Christmas campaign we decided to go ahead with the business knowing our Button Watch has a place in a crowded market. So we left our jobs to dedicate ourselves 100% to the project.

Now that two years have passed and we have raised funding to scale our business (€ 700,000), we still defend the value of good ideas against a large budgets. We have just tested with different campaigns and the results were amazing.

One of the most valuable lessons we have learned is that there’s no template for success. Each brand has a unique and unrepeatable situation that must be understood over time, exhausting all roads and questioning all the certainties we learn.

how-we-started-button-watch-and-grew-to-1-5m-year

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our challenge as a brand has been to try to overcome two of the great problems of our sector: the serious seasonality and the increase in customer acquisition costs on Facebook and Google.

In our case we understand that any marketing campaign begins in the product. Therefore, although we are a watch brand, our true protagonists are interchangeable straps.

These have allowed us to have an attractive product throughout the year and retain our customers with new collections that we are launching according to latest trends and key points of the calendar.

In this sense, having a good email marketing strategy is crucial to offset the investment in PPC campaigns. Our best data against the 2% conversion rate is our 25% of returning customer rate, mostly of them coming again from email campaigns. The key for email success? Creative title and description will be enough ;)

Our business model has also allowed us to collaborate with leading fashion brands in our country, such as the collaboration with El Ganso, which has given us a lot of visibility.

In order to compete with the giant marketplaces we have opted for a unique shopping experience based on customization and UX. For example, we have developed a watches customizer where the user can design its own watch in an amazing landing page: www.buttonwatch.com/pages/configurador

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are fully sure that many startups launch its project without margins and when time passes through them they realise that they can no longer back down.

This is why we have made our numbers strictly from the beginning, building a healthy business model.

Summarising we are growing more than 300% this year and we expect to grow in the same way the next three years.

This year we’re gonna have 1.5M revenues, broken down in channels.

how-we-started-button-watch-and-grew-to-1-5m-year

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

We have learned how important is to invest enough resources to obtain good conclusions.

When making decisions, it’s essential to ensure that you have enough data to analyze what works and what doesn’t.

Many times we made mistakes by rushing and changing things that were really doing their job. What we want to say here is that you can’t lead your business impulsively but with data. For example, If there is a Facebook campaign that you love so much but the ROAS is completely negative, you can still love your ad, but you have to stop it and change things in the ad or change it completely.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We believe that if we use the right tools for our business, we will save time and money and our company will have a long term and healthy growth. It is not just about hard work and long/short nights with coffee, many times is about focus and optimization with external agents/tools.

You will often find many entrepreneurs, books or conferences that want to share with you their secret recipe to become a millionaire and elevate your business to the stratosphere.

The best tool we use is Shopify in order to not depend on paying expensive programmers. We can have a great website just programming little things.

Besides that, we use a 3rd party Shopify apps like:

  • Klaviyo (with a highly optimised email and popups funnel)
  • Weglot (probably the best translation tool in the market)
  • Zendesk (this app gather some features that will help your company to have a great customer support)
  • Shogun (you can edit the best landing page without any code knowledge)
  • Holded (maybe the best app for us, helping to organize all accounting staff, forecast. Summarizing, to know if your business is healthy), and so on.

We allocate a lot of money to have our digital assets 100% optimized. On the other hand, we are spending thousands of euros in bringing qualified traffic to our website, so it is worth investing money in our digital assets.

I am very tired of seeing many companies that are spending thousands of euros in unqualified traffic to its unoptimized sites. Maybe this is the reason of many entrepreneurs failures.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Actually, we have obtained the greatest learning thanks to our own experience. Trial and error. Also meeting with many advisors and entrepreneurs of all levels.

In our case, when we started looking for funds we also tried to find smart money. This is why our investors comes from different business areas like fashion, watchmaking, finances and ecommerce.

Even so, we constantly consult the most relevant current fashion and entrepreneurship publications.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Copy but don’t imitate.

You will often find many entrepreneurs, books or conferences that want to share with you their secret recipe to become a millionaire and elevate your business to the stratosphere.

Sometimes they will even give you advice that really worked for them (not so many). Copy everything you see that can help you grow your business, but don't become an imitator or put all your eggs in the same basket. Try all the strategies and tools you can, minimize the risk and move on with the ones that work best for you. We have had many surprises.

The role of advisors

Although it seems obvious, if you do not know the market well or have to make important decisions in a business area that you don’t control too much it is very interesting to contemplate the figure of the advisor.

Without the need to put anyone on staff, you can collaborate with experts for specific projects, let yourself be advised and learn everything you can from them to incorporate their know-how into your company.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Perfiles: Moda, Innovación y tecnología.

In a startup like ours, the real engine is talent. That is why we are always open to meet new people. We are currently looking for technological profiles (analysts and developers) and related to the world of fashion (designers, stylists and art directors). Reach us through our contact form: www.buttonwatch.com/pages/formulario-de-contacto

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Chema Echanove,   Founder of Button Watch

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