Starting and running a successful luxury brand business can take multiple sources of funding. In his success story, Mathew Cule from CuleM Watches tells all about his inspiration and how he went about creating and running a luxury brand.
Your product is a unique one, how did you come up with the idea?
I wanted to do a travel business idea initially. Then, I started to think about my two passions: travel and watches. When I put the two words together and researched the market, I discovered a gap in the market as there is no other uniquely luxury travel watch company in the market. That was the start of CuleM.
What was the main inspiration for your business?
The world and travelling it!
What is it about travel and watches that inspired you to fuse the two together?
When I realised my vision for CuleM, this really excited me. I have a clear picture in my head about what I want to achieve. My current (first) collection of watches is called the World GMT Collection. The second collection will focus on Europe, the third on Asia, the Fourth on North American and continuing with all of the continents. Can you image when CuleM gets to collection 9 and a collector has at least one watch from every collection? How amazing will that be for the travel-loving watch collector!
How did you go about creating a luxury brand?
This is an extremely broad question, but I will focus on the essence of my luxury brand – the watches themselves. I knew that I wanted the watches to be Swiss made with a good automatic movement and I found a great private label company in Biel to make them. Then, I went on a trip around Europe meeting luxury watch designers. I connected with one amazing guy and he transformed my creative vision into reality. When I saw the designs for the first time, I could not believe how perfect they were for CuleM.
What skills do you think are essential for you to get started as a luxury brand owner?
I think you have to be a perfectionist and set a high standard from day one.
How did you go about securing funding for your business?
I used my own funds and also raised €75,000 on Kickstarter.
What would you say are the main challenges when starting up a luxury brand?
The main challenge is marketing. For a luxury brand, I believe you need deep pockets to give your brand visible reach and connect with the right target audience.
What would you say are some of the best lessons you have learnt on your business journey?
The first best lesson I learnt in business is to trust my instincts. For major decisions (not all decisions), I believe my instincts have always been right. The second best lesson for me is perseverance. I really believe in my vision and will keep persevering to do my best for CuleM.
What are some of the challenges you face today?
We live in a world that coexists with offline and online marketing and sales. I think the greatest challenge today is to find the balance between both a retail and online presence. With a luxury product like a CuleM watch, people need to be able to see it for themselves and how it looks on their wrist. We are now starting to work with a major retailer in the UK and also have our Try On CuleM iPhone app.
Where do you see the brand in the next five years?
In 5 year’s time, I see CuleM making a lot of Swiss-made watches and working with major retailers around the world. I envisage having a great team of passionate people that will make CuleM become a well-known name for luxury watch enthusiasts around the world – just like we all know the names Rolex and Cartier.
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