Q&A with Jahn Karsybaev about his course on starting a watch brand

How to start a watch brand

How to start a watch brand

Jahn Karsybaev is a serial entrepreneur who launched several watch brands: Amir Watches, Miami Watch Company, and Stranger watches, a brand that we covered here and here, but he also got his feet wet in tequila business, fashion and IT.

Earlier this year, he created an online course on Udemy on how to start a watch company. It is intro course targeted at those who dream of combining their passion for watches with their entrepreneurial fire. While most of the content, if not everything, is already available online, for sure it saves you hours of Googling and reading through blogs and forum threads. To make things even sweeter, Jahn is offering 50% off the regular price for readers of this article, by using the WATCHPAPER50 discount code.

I was curious to learn more about the course and reasons why he would share his experience with others:

First of all, you are the owner of several watch brands and for anyone following watch blogs, forums, or Facebook groups, it seems that the market is really crowded. It seems counterintuitive to create a course that will encourage others to become your competitors. You mention in your biography that you like sharing knowledge. Would you like to expand on this?

These are very valid points in terms of counterintuitive reaction to launching something in a crowded space. I believe there is space in this competitive watches market for unlimited number of entrepreneurs. For us, watch fanatics and enthusiasts, there are limited number of business options that we can explore if we want it to be tied to watches, but there is always demand for something new, something unique, something cool. And that is where your creativity as a watch entrepreneur can come into play and find your unique niche. Moreover, a story sells and if you have an engaging story that prompted you to create a particular collection, it will help stand out. Lastly, I am an executive IT consultant and Project Manager, and the bulk of my daily responsibilities is based on information and knowledge sharing. The more my experience and knowledge are disbursed, the more my stakeholders, clients and partners are informed on the best ways to succeed as a team. I have applied the same exact strategy here while building up my watch brands. Holding on to your secrets caps your opportunities. This course alone has already brought me several new clients and partners, with whom we are collaborating on existing and new collections. I have shared this course material with my existing network of contacts to help better understand the basics and specifics of our trade and motivated some of them to pursue similar endeavours.

Who is this course for?

This course is for an entrepreneur who is seeking to start a unique business with exponential growth opportunities. This is unique in a sense that the majority of the companies that are launched these days are either reselling something or are following the mainstream. According to a research, the Global Watch Industry will reach approximately $50B by 2017, with the growth driven by the global demand for fashionable and unique watch models. Essentially, any entrepreneur or a watch enthusiast who is looking to gain insight into a new industry that you know little or nothing about, and your ambition is to create and operate a successful company, then this course is a great start. This material will provide key insights into Starting your own watch company, from a perspective of an entrepreneur who is successfully operating the same business, rather than someone who is just looking to make a quick buck by offering a course he just did some research on.

You started this course on earlier this year, and in the meantime, you have successfully raised capital through Kickstarter for the next Stranger model. Will the course evolve in time, as you become more and more experienced, will you share with your students the new trick you have learned?

The content of this course includes extensive material on getting funding for your watch business and part of that strategy is Crowdfunding. There is science to it and having an amazing product is not the ultimate key to it. The Crowdfunding section of the course covers a Step by Step approach on strategies to execute Pre-Launch, During the campaign and Post-Campaign. I cover very detailed tactics that we’ve implemented during these campaigns and I hope that some of them will help the entrepreneurs succeed in getting funding on Crowdfunding.

Additionally, I am already working on a second course which is specific to Crowdfunding. The outline of this course includes the specific strategies we have implemented on getting funding for our campaigns as well as the Business Case studies of other successful campaigns. I am creating these courses from the perspective of a novice watch entrepreneur and including content that I would have wanted to hear and learn when I was starting out my brands.

I see, you finish the course with a bonus chapter about JCiro Designs. Will you be adding new bonus chapters in the future from fellow microbrand owners?

Absolutely. In fact, any fellow entrepreneur who has his/her own watch brand or has experience with launching a watch collection should reach out to me to get interviewed. I have an outline of updated content to be added to the course (all existing students get lifetime access to it) and part of that is to add new series of podcasts by new and experienced microbrand owners. The CEO of JCiro Designs operates a successful accessories business and including him in this course was one of the motivating factors in helping him launch his own microbrand timepiece collection which is due to launch in September.

What is the most important thing you want your students to remember after going through the course?

This course lays a solid foundation, especially for those who are just getting their “feet wet” in getting their watch collection launched and provides valuable supplementary strategies for those who are already operating watch businesses. The most important thing that I want each student to remember is to select a niche target area for their watch collection. For example, don’t try to go after the Daniel Wellingtons or the MVMTs by saying that I will create a minimalist and classy design watch that will be better looking than the other. It will be challenging to move that product. Instead, focus on something very unique and niche either based on a specific geographic area (your state or hometown) or a distinct group of people based on your interest who will then can become your customers as it will be easier for you to engage in initial interaction with these target groups.

As a graphic designer, I'm fascinated by the crossroads between technology and aesthetics. Horology is one of these crafts, where art and engineering come together to produce mechanical wonders that grace the eye. WatchPaper was born from the desire to create an online tool where I can share my passion for watches.