The Journey Begins - Celebrating the Launch of Vaer with Friends and Family
Vaer launched in 2017 with a single watch - the minimalist C5 Classic, in white and navy.
By Reagan Cook and Ryan Torres
February 1st, 2017
Every business has to start somewhere.
For Vaer, that starting point was our launch party we hosted for our local community of Venice Beach, California. The event took place in the center of the neighborhood, about a quarter mile from the ocean at the intersection of Abbot Kinney Blvd. and California Ave.
For us as founders, this event was really the culmination of over a year of blood, sweat and tears. To have our friends and family together in one space, with our full product lineup was incredible, and the first real chance for us to show off exactly what we'd been working so hard on.
We showed off our watches on burled maple displays that we picked them up at our local lumber yard ($40 a plank!) and also threw a couple into water-filled mason jars, to show off the 10ATM water resistance that makes our product so special.
"My original inspiration for starting a watch company came from a frustration with finding a good looking, affordable watch that I could surf with in the early morning, that I would also want to keep on my wrist when going into the office. Most ocean watches were rubberized, bulky, and unrefined, and most fashion watches were poorly made and lacked water resistance. It was finding the solution to this problem that the vision for Vaer was born. "
- Ryan Torres, Vaer Co-Founder
Vaer has been funded with our own personal savings, so we operate on a pretty shoestring budget (we don't pay ourselves any salary and both work 9-5 jobs). Without an office or storefront, we needed to rely on our network of friends to find a cool space to host the party.
Fortunately, we knew some of the guys working at the Portland-based retailer Will Leather Goods, and they graciously allowed us to use their Abbot Kinney shop for the evening.
While we'd sold some watches to friends and family prior to our launch party in January 2017, this was the first chance for most people to see the full lineup in person.
Building Trust with Our Community
In starting Vaer, we always envisioned it being an online-first business, but that's not to say we don't value the opportunity to sell our watches face-to-face. Communicating product quality online, particularly little things like weight, and stitching, metal finish, can be pretty tough.
The launch party allowed locals (even those that didn't purchase a watch that evening) to pick-up and try on our watches and get a sense of the build-quality and value that our brand represents.
It also allowed us to practice the fine art of selling.
Though it's definitely something that we need more practice with, it was fun to guide people through the lineup and features, and share our advice on the best strap combos for each customer (generally, we like to defer to the opinion of a girlfriend or wife).
"Ryan and I have definitely debated the specific start date of Vaer. While we both went to school at USC, we didn't actually meet each other until 2014, as co-workers at an LA-based tech company. And it wasn't until late 2015 that we first met up after work to discuss collaborating together on a side-project. To me, 2016 is the year things actually got started - with brand and product development pretty much taking up the first 11 months of that year (I came up with name Vaer in July 2016). Our launch party in early 2017 was sort of our announcement that we're open for sales, and that's when the actual business started."
- Reagan Cook, Vaer Co-Founder
A Solid Starting Point for Vaer
It was great to bring everyone together, to share some drinks and conversation, and try to communicate some of the deeply held passion we have for our business and brand. While the party was a pretty humble starting point, everyone's got to start somewhere, and we really truly believe that this is the beginning of something very special.
Ryan and Reagan co-founded Vaer Watches in Venice, California in 2016. As small business owners they handle just about every aspect of the daily operations of the company from watch design and supply chain management, to customer support and photography. Over the years, they've learned a thing or two about watchmaking, online retail, and American sourcing and assembly. If you have a question, comment or correction related to this article you can contact the authors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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