A Q&A with Yes Man Watches founder Nathan Resnick. The San Diego, California-based startup successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for its first watch design last month with just over $32,000 raised—more than double the original goal of $15,000. It was founded last year by Resnick, a student at the University of San Diego.
SUB: Please describe Yes Man Watches and your primary innovation.
Resnick: Yes Man Watches is empowering people to realize it’s your time. The most valuable asset in our lives is time, and everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, yet so few actually acknowledge how they spend their time. This is more than just a watch; it is a way to consider your use of time.
Our patent-pending buckle apparatus allows for twice as many sizing options and a sleeker fit while keeping the leather on your watch strap fresh. Right now, all watches with leather straps have holes in them—this damages the leather and restricts the wearer to a certain number of sizing options. To use our buckle, you just slide our strap through our buckle and the buckle catches on notches inserted in the strap.
Resnick: Anyone that wants to consider their use of time and have a better watch strap. We’re focused on men, yet will be expanding into [a] subset women’s brand.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Yes Man Watches from the competition?
Resnick: Our biggest competitor is Nixon—what sets Yes Man Watches apart is the fact that we’re empowering people to consider their use of time. Our patent-pending buckle is also better than our competitors because it allows for twice as many sizing options while keeping the leather on your watch strap fresh.
SUB: Last month you completed a Kickstarter campaign with $32,000 raised—more than double your original goal. Why did you choose to start with crowdfunding, rather than a more traditional equity Seed raise?
Resnick: We are completely bootstrapped and wouldn’t have been able to fund production without the support of our Kickstarter backers. Through the incredible support of our backers, we are now in production.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Resnick: The funds raised through Kickstarter are primarily used to fulfill production and officially launch Yes Man Watches.
Resnick: Our ‘aha’ moment came while shopping for belts last year—I noticed a neat belt buckle where the wearer slides the strap through the buckle and the buckle catches on notches inserted in the strap. I’m always thinking of how to apply innovations in other ways, and as I was checking the time on my watch, I realized this apparatus could be applied to a watch strap. From that point on we dug deep and learned everything we could about watches and buckles.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Resnick: Our first steps were formalizing our design and concept. The hardest part of this whole process has been dialing in our supply chain. We’ve been fortunate enough to connect and build a strong relationship with our manufacturer that we’ve been working with for months now.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Resnick: Last year as a freshman in college, my friends were always asking me how I did so much with my day. I’d be surfing before class and never missing a sunset after class. I realized I made the most of my day by considering my use of time.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Resnick: We are open to strategic partners that have experience growing a consumer product-driven business. We also enter business plan competitions—the next one we have coming up is University of San Diego’s V2 competition with the potential to win $50K.
Resnick: The biggest stepping stone for us has been dialing in our supply chain. Once we had that set, the next step was launching our Kickstarter campaign. We spent a ton of time figuring out the keys to a successful campaign and were thrilled when we launched. The support of our backers has been incredible.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Resnick: We’re currently continuing to sell preorders online through our website, beayesman.com, and are expanding into retail this May. Our preorder price is still $119, yet when we go into retail we’ll be selling at $139. There is still time to get this special preorder price through our website.
SUB: What are your goals for Yes Man Watches over the next year or so?
Resnick: First-and-foremost, we are focused on fulfilling our initial preorders through our Kickstarter campaign. After that, we’ll fulfill the preorders through our website and then expand into retailers in San Diego. Within the year we hope to continue to drive sales through our website and expand into retailers across the country. If you’ve got a shop you want us in, be sure to let us know.