Entrepreneur

How A S'pore Couple Turned A Simple Watch Into $25,000 Kickstarter Funding

The Kickstarter universe is full of smart ideas, some quirky, some innovative and all together a fascinating place to be. Although many projects end up falling short, there are also others that manage to catch the wave of success.

The Everyday Watch is one of them.

Simple Has Always Been Elegant

Designed by the PLAIN SUPPLIES couple team of Mandelena Koh and Poh Shen, the watch is the startup’s virgin Kickstarter campaign.

MS16 Rose Gold Watch with interchangeable straps / Image Credit: PLAIN SUPPLIES
MS19 Gunmetal Watch with interchangeable straps / Image Credit: PLAIN SUPPLIES

The first thing you notice is that it’s remarkably simple, and without any revolutionising timepiece tech. But if local projects have taught us anything, it is that simple solutions are often the most successful ones.

The Everyday Watch offers a sleek analogue face with 3 interchangeable straps for different styles.

The watch was designed to reflect the startup’s mottos – affordability, durability and versatility. In addition, it comes in line with the startup’s goal to produce high quality, yet affordable creations for mass consumers.

But interchangeable watch straps aren’t exactly a novel design, so what makes the campaign so successful?

1. Listening And Improving

“If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.” Sam Walton, founder of Walmart.

And in doing so, the pair found an opportunity for a breakthrough in their existing line of watches. This led them to the Everyday Watch and their decision to tap into the Kickstarter community.

“While we are still growing the brand to greater heights in the local community, putting our name on Kickstarter, allows us to breakthrough and tap into international markets.”

Typical social media marketing aside, the pair frequently participates in pop-ups such as the monthly Art and Design Markets. By getting up close with their customers, they are able to better learn what the market needs are.

As both Mandelena and Poh Shen subscribe to the Japanese Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement, these pop-ups are perfect opportunities for self-growth too.

Pop-up stall / Image Credit: The PLAIN SUPPLIES Team

2. Keeping Costs Low

The watch is surprisingly affordable considering its design, so what we simply had to know was how the team did it.

It turns out that the PLAIN SUPPLIES team is made up of only the pair, so they face many “unique challenges compared to startups with substantial fundings and resources”.

However, it also means lesser overhead costs from hiring team members and PR agencies.

Mandelena Koh and Poh Shen / Image Credit: The PLAIN SUPPLIES Team

Both founders have to wear multiple hats, with Mandelena filling in as both PR and Product Managers. Meanwhile, Poh Shen supports everything else from operations to business development.

“Fortunately, our main jobs gave us the luxury and flexibility to run the brand concurrently,” shares Mandelena. The end goal however, is to one day quit their main jobs.

“As we lay down future plans for the brand, we are devoting all our energy to our company and we know that we will be leaving our holding jobs and pursuing PLAIN SUPPLIES full-time.”

Pop-up stall / Image Credit: The PLAIN SUPPLIES Team

3. Watching Out For Challenges

What is a startup without challenges, and the pair certainly has had their fair share of them.

“One major setback we faced 2 days before our Kickstarter campaign launched was a technical glitch, and it caused us to delay the launch date by a week. It was a stressful week for us to cope.”

Already having to juggle multiple roles, the technical fault was something neither of them hoped to have to deal with. Although in the end the campaign was funded within a day, the entire experience did cement one lesson for them.

Obstacles should not be seen as setbacks, but merely detours to the final goal.

“Running the brand has given us the resilience to create a presentable product that we felt was lacking in the market,” Mandelena reflects.

At First, No One Will Believe You

“Be prepared to work like hell,” the pair shares, “because any success story is definitely not a result of an overnight’s work.” 

Although it hasn’t been smooth sailing for their virgin Kickstarter, Mandelena describes it as an “exhilarating experience”, and gives a shoutout ‘thank you!’ for the strong support from their customers and the ripple effect of their word-of-mouth.

So if you’re interested in suiting yourself up with an Everyday Watch, you can get a pre-order here. As for the upcoming Indiegogo campaign, it is set to go live 15 March at 9pm, so remember to keep a lookout!

Meanwhile, you can also check out their main site and Facebook page here.

Featured Image Credit: The PLAIN SUPPLIES Team

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