With the 2018 behind us, we wanted to take a little snapshot and look back on what has happened over the past year for DR.W. And we can say quite a bit has happened. But most of all, we have been able to bring an idea into lives of people. How cool is that! Please find below our highs and lows, both business and private related. Enjoy the read!
January: from paper to real, we got our prototypes!
We flew to Hong Kong and travelled to Shenzhen to pick up the first prototypes of the DR.W. watch. More than a year of preparations had past and finally the moment was there to see how the watch looked like and, more importantly, whether our special feature really worked. Hard to describe how proud we felt and how excited we were when we received those first prototypes from our supplier. The watch looked even better in real life and the click and twist mechanism to change from pocket watch to wrist watch worked like a charm. We were literally high-fiving in the taxi on the way back from the supplier. We couldn’t imagine a better start of the year!
February: testing, testing and more testing
When we were back in the Netherlands we took around three months to really thoroughly test the watch, especially the click and twist mechanism. We have always promised quality so we wanted to be absolutely certain that the mechanism would hold. In those days we were ‘twisting’ the mechanism 30 times a day! After all the testing we decided to make a few small changes to the first prototype. These were all reflected in our second prototype and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
March: Dutch ‘Vlinderkind’ foundation
You might have seen it on our website, there is a header with ‘awareness’. When clicking on this tab you can find a statement that we will relate each version of our watch to a certain charity. By doing this we want to create awareness for this charity and we will financially support this charity by each DR.W. watch that we sell. For our first model called ‘Jurre’ we will support Stichting Vlinderkind with the fight against Epidermolysis bullosa. We are very pleased to have agreed this initiative together with the board of Stichting Vlinderkind. Please find the link for their website: www.vlinderkind.nl
Ever thought about running a Kickstarter campaign? It’s a lot of fun but it also takes a lot of preparations. We have spent months to prepare for our Kickstarter launch but the heavy lifting took place in April. We had to shoot our Kickstarter movie, made a lot of products pictures, we wrote the campaign, decided on the rewards for our backers, wrote to a lot of media to get featured and were managing several social media towards the big day. We wouldn’t have missed it but it’s a lot of work! So if you ever think about running your own campaign, make sure you plan your actions well in advance and give us a ring for some tips and tricks!
May: Kickstarter launch
After months of preparations we finally launched our Kickstarter campaign. We combined this landmark event with Reinder’s birthday and invited all our family and friends for a launch party at the Aristos handball in Amsterdam on May 21 (thanks guys @ Aristos for hosting us!). It was a lot of fun to present DR.W. and show what we have been doing for the last 1.5 years. The launch party literally kickstarted our crowdfunding project as a lot of people immediately started to order their own DR.W. watch. Thanks again all for your support at this stage, without our friends and family we wouldn’t have been able to make such a big success out of it!
June: inbox overload
While we were running the campaign and trying to make it as successful as possible we received an enormous number of emails. Once you are out with a project on Kickstarter certain companies believe they can make money out of you and approach you with all kind of offers. We are not lying if we state that we received hundreds of emails from companies and people specialized in crowdfunding, marketing, social media, logistics, watch manufacturing etc. It was just too much to answer at a certain stage. If you are ever in such a position, be very careful when considering to co-operate with such party. Most of the time there is a reason for their (often) aggressive approach.
July: we got funded on Kickstarter (184%)!
Yes, we made it! On July 1 (David’s birthday) we raised more than 36k euro’s (184% of our 20k euro funding goal) by pre-selling over 150 watches! We sold our DR.W. watches to people in 23 different countries and 6 different continents. Can you believe it?! 2 years of (a lot of) work and finally we were able to start the production of our first batch of 350 watches 🙂
August: recharging batteries
Running your own company next to a full-time job means busy days and weeks. That also means one needs to recharge batteries every now and then. We both took advantage of the lower work load after the Kickstarter campaign and enjoyed some time away from our daily lives.
September: our webshop online!
So what do you do if you sell 150 watches while you bought 350? Of course, you try to sell the other 200 watches as well. How? By building a webshop and offer your product in a great way. And that’s exactly what we did. Well actually, that’s exactly what Roana did. She managed to build a top notch webshop where customers can view any combinations of our watch and straps. Please have a look and let us know what you think! And if you need someone to help launching your new website, brand or product on the market, we can definitely connect you with Roana! She just started freelancing and she loves and has a lot of experience in working with new brands.
October: “Houston we got a problem”
Entrepreneurship is about ups and downs. We had a lot of ups in 2018 so somehow, we could have expected that we would hit a major down somewhere down the road. And yes, we did. Our supplier had all watches finished and ready for shipment to the Netherlands when we got the final results of the lab test. It appeared that the wrong stainless steel was used, not the high quality 316L grade steel but the slightly lower grade 304L. How on earth could this happen after all our thorough preparations?! It seemed to be some short of miscommunication between our supplier and his supplier for the steel. And the result was 350 beautiful DR.W. watches waiting to be shipped. But they never got shipped… We had to make the hard but (in our view) only sensible decision to cancel the batch and announce a delay of delivery to our early supporters. This was the biggest drawback that we experienced so far without any doubt. And we were afraid about the reactions from our early supporters on the announced delay. But in the end, we didn’t receive any negative feedback, everyone was fully supportive and valued quality over delivery date.
In between all the work on DR.W. and our daily jobs there was also a private high in 2018: we welcomed a new member in the DR.W. family as David and Januska got a wonderful baby boy!
November: as seen in GQ magazine
We have started a cooperation with GQ magazine in the UK and will be featured in several editions with more than 350k prints of each of these. A lot of people that ordered our watch on Kickstarter came from the UK. Therefore, we believed it would be good to market our product in this market specifically. We will be featured until March, so if you the chance have a look in the monthly GQ magazine and let us know whether the DR.W. seems appealing to you in this way!
December: Christmas gifts!
Finally, the ‘new’ watches were ready early December. Very exciting to conduct the quality and lab tests again, especially the one that would confirm the stainless-steel substances, and therefore the quality of the steel. Pretty relieved when we concluded that watches passed all the tests. The watches were ready, made according to specifications and finally they could be shipped to the Netherlands. We spend some days assembling all the watches, straps and other accessories and send them to our backers. It took a bit longer than initially planned but we were glad that we were able to deliver on our promise to deliver the watches. It’s a great feeling to realize that we had really done it! Invent and introduce a product, raise funding via crowdfunding and deliver the watches to our valued customers. Cheers!
2019: more to come!
So what will 2019 bring DR.W.? We are currently working on our second model which will be slightly thinner and smaller. We aim to launch this second model of the DR.W. watch in the course of 2019. Not sure whether we will follow the same crowdfunding approach as 2018 but rest assured we will bring this model to life as well!
Thank you all for showing interest and for your support. 2018 was a great ride for DR.W. and we wish you all a very happy and healthy 2019!