Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I wanted to buy myself a nice watch. While researching different options, I quickly discovered a gap in the market for a brand that offered stylish, true quality watches – without the industry’s traditional 10x markup, without the showy marketing, without the aggressive commissions-driven sales model I was experiencing in watch and department stores. My cofounders and I thought we could do better, and have some fun along the way. We’ve teamed up directly with several of the world’s most experienced leather and watch makers who for decades have hand-produced watches that retail around the world for over $800 (including one timepiece that President Obama has worn in office).
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We took a grassroots approach by launching on Kickstarter. We ended up raising nearly $500,000 and were off the races. Since then, nearly 15% of Kickstarter backers have returned to buy another watch, and we've had the opportunity serve thousands of customers from over 60 different countries around the world. As a direct to consumer business, 100% of our sales is generated from our online Shopify store. While Facebook (word of mouth) is our primary traffic driver, we've received the blessing of tastemakers like GQ, WWD, and Fast Company - these articles have driven lots of traffic to our site.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Shopify is the control room and backbone of our operations. Shopify allows us to easily accept orders, track fulfillment status and integrates directly with our shipping software. Since the Shopify platform is so robust, almost all of our daily needs (analytics, inventory, fulfillment, etc.) are covered by the main features of the base platform. However, we’ve also experimented with apps for our referral program (ReferralCandy), lookbook (Lookbook / Easy LookBook Creator), product sorting (Collection Filter) and fulfillment (Shipworks). We have a fulfillment team that manages inventory, fulfills orders, tracks packages and processes returns using the Shopify platform, integrated with the Shipworks app. All of the cofounders have their own Shopify accounts so we can login simultaneously and have visibility into all aspects of the business.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Stay true to why you started this in the first place. Every startup has a mission, and it's important to crystallize it. We're so excited by what we are building with Leonard & Church, and there's no way any of this would be possible without Shopify.