How Three College Buddies Started A Luxury Watch Company By Leaving Their Comfort Zone And Moving Completely Across The World
As the saying goes, in the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship, sometimes the best way to find your comfort zone is to leave it. That’s exactly what Tim, Aaron and Sean did in starting Vincero Collective, an affordable luxury watch company aiming to help the modern man look and feel unstoppable.
We caught up the Vincero team to discuss how it all went down. They’re offering all BroBible readers an exclusive discount code, so go check them out and use the code BRO15 for 15% OFF. Expires Monday 11/14.
The entrepreneurial story of Vincero begins at Gonzaga University, where Tim, Aaron and Sean met. After they finished school in Spokane, they decided they couldn’t submit to the post-grad cubicle grind.
“We were business majors not really sure what we wanted to do,” Aaron explains. “We weren’t ready to hop into finance, since that’s what we were all most likely going into, whether it was banking or wealth management, or something like that.”
“One of our other three roommates had studied abroad in China in Shanghai and he was always talking about all the business opportunities over there,” he adds.
Rather than working for someone else, the three Vincero founders decided to up and move around the world in order to be their own bosses and blaze their own trail in the menswear industry.
“We landed in Guangzhou, China, which is actually the third biggest city in China,” Aaron continues. “It’s in southern China. The draw was it’s the manufacturing hub of the world. If you want to get anything made, that’s where you wanted to be.”
“We were 22, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to figure out what we wanted to do. The only thing we knew was that we wanted to make dope products,” according to Aaron. “We started multiple businesses in those first few years. Our initial manufacturing business was actually iPad and other tablet cases.”
That business ultimately failed. However, the experience help layout the groundwork for getting the trio into the manufacturing sector for a menswear brand like Vincero.
“It was really just straight trial by fire,” Tim, Aaron’s business partner recalls. “We knew nothing when we were going in there. And you really get hit in the face hard when you’re out of your comfort zone. And not only when it comes to business, but when it came to life — everything that we did was something new and intimidating.”
Tim elaborates: “You can’t communicate. So trying to get around the city in the first year was really, really tough. Simple everyday tasks were a challenge. It was the same thing in business. Our initial businesses failed because we hadn’t learned how to properly manufacture products. Our products would be late or not in line with what we envisioned. The real learning curve was figuring out how to develop solid working relationships with our manufacturing partners. Business is different there. Like anything, success comes down to a solid, trusting relationship and those took time to establish.”
As those first few businesses failed, the trio gained hands-on experience with building and managing a fully integrated supply chain. Which eventually lead to the founding of Vincero.
“The whole reason behind Vincero is to develop a brand of accessories that is really relatable to millennials,” Aaron explains. “We live in a really exciting time with unlimited opportunity. We have the ability to set goals, follow passions, and ultimately make them happen. That is really what we try to instill in all of our products.“
Being thrown into the business grind in China at such a young age was clutch, the timing made it easier for the team to rebound from early mistakes.
Both Tim and Aaron agree that being in Asia was “a blessing in disguise.”
“The fact of the matter is, when you’re young, you can risk it all.” Tim clarifies, “When we were hitting early speed bumps, it honestly felt like we were screwed. But the truth is you can always pick up the pieces, learn from those mistakes and move on.”
Vincero started out with a line automatic watches that featured premium Italian marble. According to Aaron, “When we launched Vincero, it was all about marble because it hadn’t been done before. We loved the manufacturing challenge and the message marble naturally instilled in our products. Rome wasn’t built in day, and marble serves as a perfect daily reminder to stay driven and never settle.”
Launching Vincero on Kickstarter was key to the brand’s rapid growth: “As an entrepreneur I think it’s important to get social proof before you invest and buy a bunch of inventory. You want to let the market determine if it wants your product or not,” Tim explains.
“And we sold — gosh we sold 1,000 or some watches in the first 30 days and then we never looked back.”
It didn’t stop with the flagship Italian marble watches, however. “After the Kickstarter campaign to launch the brand, we started releasing other watch lines that weren’t just stone because we wanted to put out of really quality product that guys like us would love to wear because the quality is just there,” according to Aaron.
According to Tim, the bros over at Vincero aren’t done yet. “Ultimately it’s about the lifestyle. From the products we make, to the marble we put in our case-back, everything is done with one simple goal in mind – to inspire guys to get more out of life. To live with drive. And to not waste one damn day.
“We think it’s especially important with millennials, they want to know more about the brand they’re buying,” Aaron adds.
So what advice do the Vincero guys have for aspiring millennial entrepreneurs? In short, be passionate and pay attention to open lanes of opportunity. Then go for broke.
For Aaron, it’s also all about reaching out to others. “There are people who have done similar things to you. Reach out to them. You’ll actually find that many entrepreneurs are excited and willing to help. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”
“The only way you’re going to be successful is if you really care about what you’re trying to do.” Tim adds. “For us, we want to make really dope products that we ourselves want to wear. Really caring about what you’re doing and having that goal solidified is crucial, because it’s going to be a bumpy road.”
“But in the end, it is super, super worth it. If it’s what you want, don’t hesitate. Just make sure that end all goal is something you care about.”
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