One watch. Four friends. Four years. Over 160 countries. Over 300 stores. Over a million social media followers. These might seem like merely a set of simple numbers but the evolution of Tayroc has been anything but…
“We have had so many great ideas that never broke out into the market,” Co-founder Dominic Owen, one of the four aforementioned friends, tells us. “And also so many terrible ideas which actually made it.”
But the original idea of Dominic and his brother James, and their good friends Kristian and Reiss Edgerton, was both great and simple – to design unique, high quality watches at the most competitive price ever achieved.
OK, maybe it wasn’t quite so simple as all that. “We wanted to create a high precision stainless steel case with the precision of Miyota, accurate to within 20 seconds per month,” the Tayroc team tells us.
“We wanted to offer a choice of woven stainless steel meshband straps, solid stainless steel link straps and genuine Italian leather options. And we wanted sell it for under £100.” Gulp. “Everyone told us it could not be done.”
At the time, the four were aged from just 20-23, juggling 12-hour days in construction, setting their sights on the competitive worlds of watches and e-commerce. Now that’s the kind of underdog story we at Gentleman’s Journal can pull up a wingback chair and raise a glass to. So let’s continue, or rather, go back to 2014…
“We initially started by designing and ordering only one watch, with the minimum order quantity. This consumed all of our budget. We invested everything we had into the first part of the stock.”
So what were this band of brothers to do? Well, while the rest of us were only just beginning to tap into Instagram, the four had the rather prescient idea of reaching out to social media influencers. “This idea had never really been explored, and it certainly wasn’t as easily done as it is now. Influencers just did not want to market products.”
Little did they know that change was just on the horizon, and the way products were promoted and how brands gathered traction was soon about to changer forever…
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Once they had their first influencers on board, they put together an entire marketing campaign, set promotion dates and gathered around one computer in their office – the aforementioned small Birmingham bedroom – worrying how they would cope with the demand, anticipating a complete sell-out.
Not one single sale…
But the four founders persisted forward, continuing to harness the power of social media and influencers; juggling 12-hour day jobs in construction with late nights, early mornings and weekends investing in Tayroc; putting their weekly salaries from their current jobs into advertising until they finally began to see the first glimmers of success.
One year later, the snowball grew, and they all quit their jobs to put everything they had into Tayroc. For the 18 months that followed, they continuously reinvested the turnover directly back into stock, marketing and building a dedicated team within the office. Oh, we should mention they’d also moved into an actual office by then…
Did it pay off? Well, you’re reading this, aren’t you? “Now we are in over 300 retail shops in Europe,” the team tells us. “The feeling of walking down the street and seeing something you love and have built in the shop window is like no other! And this is just the beginning. Stay tuned, there is lots more to come.”
If you’re feeling inspired and want to read a little more business know-how, here’s how to network without it looking like you’re networking…
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