Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

David Weiss, Toronto Watch Retailer: How To Expand Your Business

david-weiss-young-upstarts

When Apple unveiled its wristwatch in April 2015, the company rolled out its marketing campaign with a glossy spread in Vogue, serving notice its new timepieces would be as much about fashion as it would be about wearable technology.

Originally a Certified Chartered Accountant from Toronto, Canada, in 1989 David Weiss made what many would consider a bold move: end his career as an accountant and pursue his interest in timepieces by starting a wristwatch importing company specializing in sales and distribution to large Canadian retailers.

For young entrepreneurs and those who want to start their own companies, this initial step – to officially begin a new company – can be daunting and even frightening. But, David Weiss‘ story should provide a source of inspiration and courage for young entrepreneurs. After all, within few short years of its launch, Weiss’ company, Teltime, enjoyed impressive growth, designing, manufacturing and importing watches under the brand names of, Teltime, Hudson, iwatch, HSC, Solo among others.

One could excuse Weiss for basking in the kind of glow normally reserved for a proud parent at a child’s graduation.

For Weiss, innovation was at the heart of a successful career in wristwatch design, manufacturing and retail. He built an impressive distribution and sales network to major Canadian retailers like The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart, but it’s the “revelations” about the nature of customer needs and motivations that make him particularly proud.

Early on in his business, David Weiss focussed on maximizing value by making sure the customer received the best possible timepiece for the money.

That meant pushing for improvements in battery life while insisting on higher quality stainless steel parts that was common in other lower-end watches.

His reputation for being a stickler for details and quality grew along among retailers who noticed rising rates of customer satisfaction.

Weiss designed watches specifically tailored to customers who shop in specific retail outlets, “satisfying those customers needs via the various watch styles.”

While challenging, the rewards of meeting customer demands made his efforts and innovations worthwhile and gratifying.

He watched, observed, listened and absorbed customer fashion needs, trends and augmented that knowledge by studying the colours in style during the season of any given year.

Summer season is about white, so why not create a series of white ladies watches packaged in pastel colours to represent summer. Fall time is predominately darker colours with brown colours empathized, so why not create a series of watches in those specific season colours. I did, and it went very well.”

Weiss’ sales ballooned to over half a million units a year in Canada alone, but it only wet his appetite for improving the customer’s experience of their wristwatch beyond mere functionality.

I had another revelation, that designing, manufacturing and selling watches was not about the watches, it was about fashion and lifestyle,” explained Toronto’s David Weiss.

At the time, his redefinition of watches as being about fashion was in many ways revolutionary and essentially provided the template that would redefine the way in which timepieces would be marketed and produced for years to come.

His timing couldn’t be better.

Women had come into their own as a cultural and economic force. Weiss began designing watches specifically for them, realizing that for women, timepieces were also a fashion statement.

The insight was that watches can be a way of telling the world something about who we are; our beauty, our beliefs, our style, our sex appeal and love of life. Women got that right away, as did Weiss.

The logical extension of that was in recognizing that packaging was more than just a disposal part of the product. It could play a “vital part in the sales of watches”.

Valentine Day is about love and friendship, so why not design a package to house a watch in a red heart shaped box?”

Consider how all of that came to be reflected in the successful branding of all kinds of products over the years.

After a foray into the U.S markets, David Weiss returned to “designing, manufacturing, importing and wholesaling wristwatches mostly to major Canadian retailers”.

Weiss laid out a template for future development of timepieces as being about ‘lifestyle’.

Will he ever get the credit due him for helping innovate the industry?

Time will tell.

Share

Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

Tagged as: , ,

Comments are closed.