The last five months have been quite an experience. A lot has happened since this project went live. Most importantly, all the watches have shipped! I made mistakes along the way, learned a lot, received the support of a lot of great people, and finally delivered on the product I set out to make. None of it would have been possible without all of you! So, thank you all so much. Your ongoing support, kinds words of encouragement and understanding (even with delays) made me feel this has all been worth it.
Here are some of the things I learned along the way:
1. The people on Kickstarter are amazing! To support a project that doesn’t exist takes a leap of faith, and a lot of trust. The people who supported me don’t know me – they only knew I had a plan without the money to do it. So they supported it without really knowing if it could be done. I depended on a lot of great people who were willing to stick with me.
2. The manufacturing process was more difficult than I expected. I thought I had the right vendor. But as it turned out, there were delays, and a lack of communication. Luckily, the watches turned out great. Thanks to everyone’s understanding on the delays, it all worked out.
3. Shipping is hard…and expensive. I didn’t take into account the full cost of shipping. Nor did I understand how much time and effort it would take to set up a business account with a major shipping company. But now it’s going and that’s part of the learning curve of getting things started.
4. I have a great graphic artist/web designer. I think the site is going to look amazing. I also I have a great web programmer. She has made the site work as intended. Both are wonderful communicators and easy to work with.
5. There was no need in creating Kickstarter rewards besides the watch – I had to change that in a hurry once I launched the project. I think a future KS project will be a little smoother.
6. I listen to all feedback and complaints. In the end, all I can do is make the best product I can and reduce mistakes as much as possible.
7. People will lend their support and their help when they can. They are also understanding when things don’t go as planned. I have more faith in my customers than ever.
Complaints are always interesting to deal with. For example, one person recently told me he didn’t like the thickness of the leather band, but on the same day, another said he loved the thick leather. We all have our tastes. As for design, I wanted to create something that had familiar elements, but explored different combinations of features, bezel design, and color combinations. When a person complains about why I would offer a leather band that also has a dive bezel I understand the concern. After all, a “dive watch” should have a band that can go in the water. But I figured a band was so easy to swap out, I wanted to provide a more expensive option that provided a different look. There are, after all, hundreds of dive watches (and bands) on the market. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot, I listened to every point of feedback, and promise you that I’ll continue to make the best watches I can.
The bezel is tight on this watch. It’s something I didn’t notice right away but I’ve heard it from a few people. The prototype was easier to turn and I thought the production watches would be the same. I used silicone watch oil to see if that would give it a smoother feel. (Pure Silicone Oil cs 50). It worked pretty well. It hasn’t made it “easy” to turn, but it definitely made an improvement.
Now that I’ve gone through this experience I will be more prepared for the next watch I make. Only part of making a watch is the watch after all. Things like the website design, boxes, manuals, shipping, etc. will all go smoother. I plan on more designs. For the next watch, I am going to use a Swiss manufacturer. I feel I need to move on to a company that can deliver the quality I’m looking for in the time I expect.
There will not be another run of the Oceanis in the near future. I want to try to make it again in 2015.
I currently do not have the money to create the next watch I’m hoping to make, so I’ll do another Kickstarter project. I’ll do it better! I can’t wait!