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Q&A: Klokers’ Richard Piras on crowdfunding a watch business

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The internet is awash with great crowdfunding projects but few have captured the imagination of the watch buying public as much as Klokers. The French project, founded by Nicolas Boutherin, president and artistic director, and Richard Piras, chief executive officer, achieved a total of €605,898 (£464,000) and hit its 50,000 euro target in just eight minutes.

Was it a surprise to have such success on Kickstarter?

“We didn’t expect to reach this high number, we were addressing 80m people around the world. Thanks to the Kickstarter we validated our hypothesis of the size of the market, also that our market is quite international because 40% of our contributors were European.

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“That’s quite tricky on Kickstarter because you’re mainly visible to American contributors, 30% are from North America, 30% from Europe and about 20% from Asia, we didn’t translate everything but still people from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan contributed also people from English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand. These people reached us because of the kind of articles you did. So this gave us confidence in the strength of our international market and the capability of Klokers to address demand of international clients.”

Are you aiming for direct sales or to become a wholesale brand?

“We are looking for retailers, thanks to the campaign we also have new contacts from distributors and retailers from everywhere; the Middle East, Europe, United States and Asia. We’re developing the distribution network and we will soon be available in the shops in France, Germany and Italy, hopefully in the UK and Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Mainly Europe first because it is easy for us to address these markets.

“We are talking to potential partners in the United States, Taiwan should be okay, Hong Kong is well-advanced and after that will be China. We’re still looking for partners in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to also support Australian and New Zealand markets.”

UNDER Klokers 01How was Baselworld for you this year?

“We had lots of positive feedback on the design and price positioning. It’s what most of the shops in the world are asking for; design, high quality, refreshing and cool.”

What kind of retailer to you see selling Klokers?

“Through the distributors, we’re looking for a different kind of retailers. First the concept stores and design shops are, for us, quite nice. It is not this kind of shop that will have the widest  volumes for sure, but it is good for image, explanation and environment. It’s perfect for us. Obviously department stores, we are already having discussions with a department store already in France and hopefully Germany. That is the second target, the third is all those watch shops that have a trendy attitude that are looking for a trendy product.”

Tags : baselworldcrowdfundingklokerswatches
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour