Watches were thought to be a thing of the past. Starting a watch brand that specifically targets millennials in 2013, the same year as the 5th installation of the iPhone, would seem like an outlandish business idea destined for failure. Jake Kassem, one of the founders of MVMT, is quoted in a recent New York Times article stating that he likes asking individuals for the time, and almost overwhelmingly, those questioned check their phone. When the interviewer followed up on whether these results trouble him, he states that he couldn’t care less. He believes his target audience cares only about style, seeking function in their hi-tech smartphones rather than their accessories. Despite the founders bold predictions and daunting market conditions, Kassan and Kramer LaPlante dropped out of college to start fashionable watch brand targeting specifically young men.
The two friends started with a singular design in Los Angeles. They proceeded to crowdfund their original design with two Indiegogo campaigns that totalled $300,000. Since then, they have been featured on Business Insider, The New York Times, Complex, Entrepreneur, and GQ for their “timeless designs.” The founders perceived a need of an affordable fashion piece that would compete with items like Michael Kors that retail in the $400-$500 range that would break a college kid’s bank account for a mere accessory.
Tired of big brand markups and the outdated retail model, we set out to create an online-first brand. One original watch design and a successful crowdfunding campaign got us off the ground. Through social media our brand and vision grew globally, along with our company. -MVMT story
MVMT watches have rapidly grown to a fashion powerhouse, with 2016 revenues of $60 million reported by the company, and expanding their offerings to women’s watches, in the form of MVMT for Her, and sunglasses. So how has a company with no previous brand equity grown to be a powerful player within the men’s fashion industry? The key to their success has been utilizing Social Media for marketing and reducing the costs associated with classic retail mark up to deliver a product to the consumer for less than $200 dollars. The founders believe in a basic premise: “Young adults, with their do-everything smartphones and tablets, may not need another device to help them navigate their daily existence. But they care deeply about any image enhancer that helps them pop on Instagram.”ˆ While I do not personally own a MVMT watch, I have stolen my brother’s from time to time and can say they are very aesthetic pieces that are understated yet attractive. I understand the belief that sometimes an item, an article of clothing, a pair of sneakers, or even an experience is just a statement piece for social media. As empty as this sounds, it’s an evident reality and it definitely sell product.
An advantage they have in comparison to other fashion labels is their go direct to customer business model. Utilizing their sleek website consumers can purchase any one of their Men’s and Women’s watches or sunglasses. Thus MVMT is able to cut out the middlemen, who distribute products to retailers such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdales as well as avoiding the retail markup cut that goes to the retailer. This is a dual sided asset as many young men are reluctant to go into classic department stores to search for accessory items and a watch is a piece that is easily comprehended through a simple photo online, eliminating the need to try it on as one might need to with pants or a shirt.
MVMT has positioned its marketing campaign as an Instagram first marketer. Its feed is reminiscent of its minimalistic style, featuring shots of their products in desirable exotic locations while not be loud, in your face advertisements. It’s honestly reminiscent of a Jay Alvarrez music video (if you know, you know the absurdity of it). One clearly recognizes the elusive cool factor within their feed, the ability for them to push their products as a company in a way in which that you want to follow them. Brands like Patagonia and Yeti, are similar in the way that they position their product marketing campaigns in almost organic fashions, creating content that you search out and want to view as a consumer rather than it being thrust upon you. Influencers on Instagram have partnered with MVMT, generating excellent results. Sam Kolder’s Instagram has the similar minimalistic, cool guy mystic that embodies MVMT’s brand. His almost 600k follower base, also doesn’t hurt the reach of MVMT’s advertising.
MVMT has positioned itself with many endorsements both of big name celebrities, and social media cult stars. While partnering with the likes of Klay Thompson and Kylie Jenner have the effects of a massively broad reach, it is lesser known stars such as Fitness Youtubers (the fact that Youtuber is now a recognizable term still blows my mind), such as Christian Guzman (over 770,000 subs) and Steve Cook (close to 900,000) have been much more beneficial to their brand. This circles back to the notion of organic advertising as these individuals are seen as more authentic than the big name, well known endorsement like Kylie Jenner.
MVMT is an example of a well executed e-commerce brand that has successfully marketed its product and filled a market need. While there’s nothing revolutionary about MVMT’s product, it’s clear that they have effectively gotten consumer’s attention through a variety of social media.
Check out mvmtwatches.com to see more styles and check out their sleek website.