Founders15 #13: Cameron Weiss of Weiss Watch Company

  • Great product description: Each Weiss Watch receives over 80 hours of hand made love.

  • We are one of the only watch manufacturers actually making watches in the United States: It is an industry that disappeared from the USA almost 100 years ago. We want to bring it back.

  • Distribution: The majority of our sales are direct to consumers through our website. We also sell in larger stores like Barney’s and menswear shops. We have about 50 retailers that we work with.

  • How did you get the idea to start a company? It was a long journey. I started by becoming a watchmaker. I was making prototypes. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the watches I was creating. It took over 5 years before I found a design I was happy with. The final straw that got me ready to launch was talking to another founder. I heard about all the support he received. It made me realize this is the perfect time to launch an American watch company.

  • We are still reinvesting most of the revenue into R & D and manufacturing. My wife and I work together. We pay ourselves very little: There are a lot of expenses on the manufacturing side. There’s a few more million we will have to invest before I get to a point where I’m happy with the production capabilities for our watches. We don’t make much but we enjoy not answering to a boss.

  • How do you stay sane in the face of the challenge of building this business? I don’t stay sane. It’s almost like you can no longer relate to other people who haven’t started a business. It is something very different from any other experience I’ve ever had. It will make you crazy.

  • The biggest break so far: Landing on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. We had our biggest sales day ever. An incredible amount of sales all at once. It was October and we sold out of everything for the entire holiday season.

  • If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the beginning of this journey what would you say? There is no rush getting to the next step. Everything will happen when it is supposed to happen. Don’t rush through the phases. Don’t rush to get out of the apartment [where he started the business].

  • What brings you the most joy? Seeing the watches I made out in the world.

  • Full podcast here.