Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A message to makers

If you make things and sign them with your name, then you are a maker. Chocolate maker, or an artist, painter, architect, chair maker, knife maker - a chef or mom who makes the most delicious home made food every day- you have the right to call yourself a maker. You make one of a kind, one at a time, with pride, artistically and passionately.

And here is the punch line: only a maker knows the true value of his work; and it is only the maker who can attach the price tag to his creation.  Makers don't care about market value, to some imaginary 'law of supply and demand '; indeed, what is demand for a sculpture or a painting, or an object skillfully carved out of wood or precious metal?

Makers, don't sell yourself cheap. The general public will never appreciate your 'product' more than you do, and it is your responsibility to stick to your asking price, no matter what. Sure, you may go hungry, but if you believe in yourself and your craft then it's better not to make a sale, then to sell at a discounted rate.

Let me share my six reasons why I cannot afford to discount my watches.

"Hey Nick, love your work but times are tough so how about some discount? I see other Australian watch brands offering fantastic deals. Surely there is room to move in price?"

1. Slim profit margin is a cancer. Businesses which generate cash-flow by discounting products will eventually go out of business.  I cannot afford that!
2. In the past 7 years, over 800 rebelde and NH watches have been sold. The main reason why our customers bought them is because they love the story behind the watch and they want to support our 'Manufactured in Australia' project. They have put their trust and hard-earned cash in me. Not one single watch was sold with a discount, ever. If I were to discount them now - because times are tough - our current owners would rightly feel cheated and betrayed. They will lose a faith in the project. Call me a dreamer, but I am not a cheat.
3. When we take up new apprentices, I promise them years of learning as well as steady wage growth. Watchmaking is a trade worth sacrificing for. But if my watches are sold for less today that what they were sold for last week, apprentices would have every right to call me a liar. I am not a liar.
4. There are many watch brands who happily offer discounts. You land on their website, and before you even start browsing, a pop-up banner comes up with 10% discount. Even 40% on 'all stock' is not uncommon. What does that tell you about the passion for their brand, watchmaking and long-term commitment? I can only think of one thing: cheap junk made in China, sold as "Australian brand" with enormous profit margin to gullible buyers who can't tell the difference between quality and hype. I stand for quality.
5. I am a third generation Master Watchmaker and I am not going to apologize for that. Unlike my competition, I know what makes a watch tick.  I have repaired tens of thousands of watches, the majority of them high grade, before I even considered starting my own brand. Do you seriously believe that a 57-year-old Master Watchmaker should fear 'competition' from another 'brand' run by a clueless online kid? A watch proudly signed 'Assembled in Australia' or 'Manufactured in Australia' has no competition. We have invested millions of dollars of our own money into a high precision manufacturing facility which makes us a leader in our field.  Yes, we are a micro business, but an unchallenged leader in our field. Leaders don't discount.

6. Watches which bear a name of a real maker are never discounted. I would rather not sell a watch that bears my name then to discount it for even a dollar. My family name is not for sale.

And neither is yours, my fellow maker. 

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