How a Vintage-Inspired Watch Brand Used Crowdfunding and Social Media to Raise Millions

Opinion: Xeric is a Kickstarter-first watch brand that raised more than $2 million for its three previous product launches

You wouldn’t normally associate the Kickstarter crowd, an audience of techies and millennials, with vintage watch success, but that’s exactly what is happening. Some early movers in the watch space are taking a social approach to marketing in a fairly traditional industry.

A search for “watch” on Kickstarter yields more than 2,000 results. These include tech brands such as infamous smart watch Pebble, which raised more than $30 million on the platform. However, many smaller brands are starting to gain considerable momentum in a way many would not expect.

One of the brands capitalizing on this novel approach is Xeric, a Kickstarter-first watch brand. This means that all of its funding and marketing stems from the crowdfunding platform—a disruptive solution revolutionizing how new products are funded by buyers and enthusiasts, not traditional venture capitalists.

The Xeric brand of watches is a small family-owned operation that has relied on crowdfunding and leveraged social media to bootstrap brand awareness for its vintage inspired watches. The company launched three successful Kickstarter campaigns prior to its most recent release of the Evergraph.

The company has already raised more than $2 million for its previous three product launches. All of that was raised on a shoestring marketing budget, leveraging the power of social media and crowdfunding.

How Xeric amplifies its brand

Fact: 64 percent of crowdfunding projects fail, and 14 percent never receive a single pledge. But some succeed beyond their creators’ wildest dreams. And it’s not always grand ideas that succeed and bad ideas that fail. What does that tell us? Starting a project is only the beginning. Without a massive social media push, many projects are dead in the water.

Xeric succeeds with a solid following on several social media channels, with heavy saturation on the visual mediums where it can showcase its products with artistic photos and high-quality videos.

From the beginning, Xeric understood the value of social media. Brand evangelists have uploaded hundreds of user-generated-content photos, and their enthusiasm is genuine and unbridled.

The founders, brothers Mitch and Andrew Greenblatt, see Kickstarter and social media as the future of their brand. Where traditional methods work for the high-end Swiss watch brands to appeal to the well-heeled crowd, reasonably priced Xeric appeals to a younger, more socially attuned audience.

They attribute the success of their brand to people’s desire to be unique:

People want to stand out. They don’t want to wear the same generic Apple Watch or a prescribed minimalistic watch.

A visual medium works well with an aesthetically appealing product. Xeric attributes much of its past success to its videos. Each video is produced in-house and showcases two primary elements—high-quality renderings of the product, coupled with a compelling story and emotional appeal.

Crowdfunding sites have one massive benefit: They intersect a business startup with market research. Buyers fund projects, not investors. Immediate feedback from the market is stark proof of concept.

Successful projects strike a chord with their consumer base, come in at an affordable price point, produce a quality product and create a killer presentation. Social media is the spark that takes a product from hot prospect to wildfire.

Sherry Gray is a freelance content writer from Key West, Fla., currently suffering in the suburbs of Orlando. She is a science geek, a social media junkie and an unapologetic fan of all things bacon. Follow her on Twitter: @SheriSaid.