On 10th October 2018 I placed my first order for 300 watches with Walca, Culem’s private-label watch manufacturer in Switzerland. This was not part of the original plan. The original plan had been to design and prototype my first watch collection and then launch it for sale on Kickstarter. Once the Kickstarter campaign had ended, I would place my first watch order with a production time of 6-7 months.
I am fascinated by the crowd and saw it as an exciting experiment - launching luxury watches via a crowdfunding platform. This was the plan since I started Culem the year before, in October 2017. But after seeing those first Culem Watches, I just knew I had to do it - I ordered 300 Culem watches 6 months before my Kickstarter campaign.
Culem has evolved so much in just one year - what started as an experiment to make one collection has turned into a luxury travel watch business with a further 8 collections in the pipeline. And who knows, there could be more after that!
As I discovered in my previous business (M&Y Global Services), so much can change in relatively little time. There was a vision for the business and a plan on how to execute the vision over several years. However, four years into the business those plans changed overnight. My business partner (Yan Xu) and I were focused on developing our business in Australia, New Zealand and the UK with a vision to expand into the USA, whilst continuing to grow our large global delivery centres at various locations around China. Then one day we received a phone call from the Head of Retail Operations for a major international bank in Hong Kong that wanted to use our services in China for a big new product line they were launching in the Chinese market. Initially, we weren’t sure what to do. Then, we decided to follow the lead in China even though it wasn’t part of our original plan and our business changed overnight..
In a way, a similar thing happened to me with Culem. Initially I saw the business as an experiment and personal project; designing an amazing watch collection and then have them made in Switzerland after the Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded. However, despite the considerable cost, I believe so much in Culem that I decided to fund the first 300 watches myself.
My vision for Culem has gone far beyond an experiment and has evolved into an enjoyable, long-term business. In fact, I am already working on the designs for the second collection! I hope, and believe, that many Culem owners will want to have at least one watch from each of the nine collections, and enjoy being part of the journey.
I love what I do, I love the people I am working with and I cannot wait for people all around the world to wear a Culem watch and become part of the community. I have lots of ideas for the community and I cannot wait to get started, but all in good time.
Sometimes we discover things that we are meant to do. I believe I was meant to create Culem watches. So, when it came to making the decision to order 300 watches, it was easy. I just had to do it!
Of the 300 watches, 220 will be available for purchase via Kickstarter from 16th April until 15th May, and they will be delivered by the end of June. After the campaign I will place another order based on the Kickstarter campaign reception.
I am not the type of entrepreneur that does things lightly. I researched and studied for four months before launching Culem. I used the word ‘experiment’ very loosely earlier in this post, and yet I take it very seriously. Before Culem I had the experience of starting a business with just two co-founders, a business that had grown to over 2,000 employees by the time I left the company. Today, the company is thriving with over 20,000 employees!
I guess I am telling you all this because I want to you to know that I am a passionate, serious, ambitious and experienced entrepreneur. I am excited to see what I believe Culem will become and I welcome you to join me on the journey!
This is just the beginning...