INSIGHTS: Conversations with Business Leaders
Gain insights on business growth in our series of bite size chats with Business Leaders, brought to you by The FD Consultant.
We interview high achieving individuals who we believe everyone can learn from, and who bring insight into the many aspects of successfully growing a business.
Today we welcome Matthew Cule, CEO of CuleM Watches. CuleM Watches produces uniquely designed contemporary Swiss watches which have featured in the GQ Magazine Watch Guide for the last 3 years. The company has recently launched a new collection and is seeking to challenge in a very traditional market.
Hi Matthew, please tell us about your business.
CuleM Watches is a Swiss made travel watch brand. We create beautiful, high quality and unique watches with designs inspired by the world.
We focus strongly on ethics, and we contribute 3% of our sales to good causes. For every watch sold, we will plant 100 trees, protect 25,000 square metres of rainforest and donate to global or local humanitarian organisations.
What are the key factors which have driven growth?
The number one factor that has driven growth is the unique design of the watches. When I created CuleM, I wanted the designs to be completely different to anything available on the market. When you look at our designs, you will see that they stand out and speak for themselves.
Secondly, the brand building and marketing machine that we are building to get CuleM and our watches as much as attention and visibility as possible. When we launched our new Skyline GMT Collection for example, this included an excellent launch campaign video and photography, press and social media.
Our watches are also fairly priced given their quality and special designs. Add to this the focus on ethics, and I believe we have a very attractive product.
Finally, perseverance is key. After we launched our first collection we were hit by the pandemic. I believe this impacted our growth, but by how much I am not sure. However, we used the opportunity to maximise our focus on the delivery of our message as mentioned above, which has resulted in good sales growth.
What makes you so passionate about what you do?
I love watches and travelling. In fact, I am travelling to Asia now and I have brought a number of CuleM watches with me. I cannot wait to wear my watches in different locations because when I look at them on my wrist in the future, they will have more meaning because I will associate them with different adventures and experiences.
It also makes so much sense to help protect what you love – and that’s why we give back 3% of our sales to help protect our planet.
What do you view as your greatest achievement in this role to date?
Our greatest achievement is the impact our watches have on our customers – I love the stories our customers tell in their personal emails to me and their reviews, as well as the fabulous support we have received from the independent press.
I was particularly proud when one of our watches was chosen by the 2020 GQ Magazine Watch Guide as one of the Best Watches in the world. We were honoured to be selected again in 2021 and 2022.
What are the biggest challenges your business faces?
We are a challenger brand in a very traditional market place.
The greatest challenge is creating as much as visibility for our brand and products as possible. I have learnt that can never do enough when it comes to marketing. It also requires deep pockets and persistence in order to consistently reach a big audience.
The way to approach it in my experience is to have excellent basics (website, Instagram, facebook, press) first and then make a plan for new initiatives thereafter. Don’t over complicate things.
What one piece of advice would you give to those who want to achieve or sustain high growth in their businesses?
In a B2C business, my advice is keep the product inventory costs as low as possible and reserve a good budget for effective marketing. Many product based businesses spend too much on product. My advice is that it should be the other way around.
I would also advise any B2C business to be as creative and and innovative in its marketing as possible. Innovation will help you lead and stand out in an often crowded marketplace.