Luxury Watch Startup Owner [Entrepreneur Interviews]
What are Entrepreneur Interviews?
Luxury watch startup, ZENN Style, founder and owner Andy Cook. He is also the Head of Sales at TextGlobal a marketing company.
ZENN Style is a shopify based business, so lots of nuggets of info for all you online brands out there!
ZENN Style sell’s a unique range of men’s fashion accessories, such as men’s watches and bracelets.
Andy founded ZENN back in 2018 and has been trading for about 12 months. The brand has sold over 70 watches and has a 5 star rating for its service and quality.
During this time Andy has learnt a lot of valuable lessons and has kindly agreed to share his thoughts so far.
Over to you Andy!
What made you go into business as a luxury watch startup?
I’ve always known that starting a business is a great way to gain financial freedom, and I’ve always wanted to become my own boss. I have a passion for men’s fashion and in particular, luxury watches, so I thought, why not use my interests to my advantage.
Following a number of brands in the industry over the years, I noticed that there was a gap in the market for luxury watches at affordable prices. I know a lot of people who want the stylish looks of the big brands but don’t have the budgets that most of them need.
“If you want customers to be interested in your brand, you need to be passionate about your products”
What really kickstarted your business idea?
Research – once i knew what I wanted to do, I spent a lot of time researching what it takes to create a product and brand from scratch, from designing logos to finding the perfect suppliers.
Like a lot of people, I’m motivated by the potential gains, so a huge push was the potential profit margins on the products. There are low costs per unit and the sheer quality and design of the items was exactly what I was looking for. I tried and tested a number of companies and would strongly advise anybody in a product based industry to do the same! If the first one is good, that’s fantastic, but it’s great business sense to try as many as you can to get a feel for the product but also the reliability and customer service of the suppliers.
“Price isn’t always the most important factor when choosing suppliers”
Creating a Unique Selling Point (USP) – If you try to please too many people with a general brand, you’re in danger of not standing out from the competition. Choose a niche and really try to specialise your products so they appeal to a specific section of the market. The watch industry is worth billions of pounds and there are lots of players in the game, so there is money to be made but you have to play smart.
Marketing – The difficulty of an online business is attracting people to the website, you need to make sure that you do a lot of research into the best ways to advertise your products because, unlike the highstreet, people aren’t just walking past a shop window anymore. It’s important to have a well thought out marketing strategy that makes you stand out from the other thousands of online brands out there. Before creating a marketing strategy you need to know and understand your target audience. So my advice would be to;
- Analyse your product in detail,
- Define the target audience for your product
- Base your marketing strategy around the above and you’ll get better results!
What kind of challenges have you faced as a luxury watch startup?
Building an effective marketing strategy – For products like mine in fashion, social media marketing plays a huge role and it has been one of my biggest challenges to master.
I would recommend building a sales funnel from your social media platform(s) of choice that lead to your website. For my business, I use paid advertisements on Facebook for business, Instagram for business and Google Ads to reach a huge audience online.
The reason social media and Google marketing is so powerful is that it’s highly targeted and customisable. Some of the benefits include;
Directed ads that only show to people within your target audience, such as to people of a certain age, particular interests, behaviour types and peoples location etc.
- They’re highly customisable and easy to use
- It’s fast, if you have your advert ready it can be out on the web in a matter of minutes
- You can set manageable budgets and in some cases you only pay when you get results (this is particularly useful for those of us with modest budgets)
Once you have a flow of traffic to your website, you can then work on your re-targeting strategy. People often show an interest in a product but need a final push to buy, so you need to be able to make it as easy and tempting for them as possible.
I would highly advise building a database of contacts for an email marketing list (a GDPR compliant one, of course), so you can send out promotional offers to people who have already taken an interest in the product.
A bonus of this is that it keeps your brand at the forefront of people’s mind, so right now they might not want to buy, but for example, when it’s their partner’s birthday there’s a 10% discount at the top of the email inbox. Hmm, temping…
Creating Social Proof – This is an interesting concept, it’s described on Wikipedia as;
“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation”
So, in ‘normal’ terms it means that if we see other people we like / aspire to be like / respect, with a product it makes it more attractive and this increases the chances of a customer completing a purchase.
An example would be a famous instagram model (or influencer) wearing and endorsing a particular brand of makeup, followers see the person they look up to using the brand and automatically assume that the brand is of quality and fashionable. When customers are choosing their next brand of makeup they are more likely to purchase the brand that was social proofed.
There are many different ways to social proof a brand and I would highly recommend doing some further research in this area. It’s really powerful stuff!
Using celebrity / influencer endorsement is a great way to do this but it does require a huge budget and if it isn’t done properly then the money can easily be wasted.
Note – a couple of posts by a celebrity won’t guarantee you sales, it should be used in combination with the rest of your marketing strategy.Crea
What advice would you give yourself if you were to start again?
Stick to what I am good at – I’ve excelled with TextGlobal, my digital marketing company, through business to business sales and providing digital services, as opposed to selling a product to general customers…maybe I should have chosen a business that better reflects my skills?
If I had to restart a product-based retail brand, I’d have something more unique with a better USP.
Focus on a niche rather than trying to please everyone with a generic product.
Rob Moore has a good equation for Wealth that I think about when trying to improve my business:
“Wealth = (Value + Fair Exchange) x Leverage”
If you can provide value in your product or service and exchange that product/service at a reasonable or low cost, it’ll lead to positive referral (word of mouth) and this leverages higher return. If you can’t offer value and the exchange of service isn’t what the buyer expects, it’ll result in a refund, clients leaving and no positive referral (no business via word of mouth).
This equation is working well with TextGlobal but for ZENN I am struggling with the positive referral and value aspect.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who wanted to start their own luxury watch startup?
Don’t rush it – Starting a business is really exciting and you want results as soon as you can but I feel as though I was too keen to get my products to the market. It’s really easy to make mistakes if you don’t take your time and really consider every move. I made a few mistakes with the design of some of the products and the marketing strategy, which could have been prevented if I took a step back from all the excitement and thought rationally.
Like I mentioned before, take the time to get samples from multiple suppliers, stress test them, get as much market research data you can on the best design, colours, etc.
While the business is still small, your marketing budget is better spent building a paid social marketing funnel on Facebook/Instagram rather than paid collaborations with celebrities or influencers. Get your adverts in front of highly targeted potential customers, with a strong call to action.
What resources have helped you with starting a business?
What are Entrepreneur Interviews?
Today's interviewee - Andy Cook
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