What if we could all make a difference by reviving our artisan roots of ages old? I’m not implying you ditch your condo for an old barn, wood shop and some chickens, but I am saying us little guys can change the status quo (and save some money along the way) by supporting, well, other little guys. The new designer watchmaker Brathwait shows us how.

Brathwait is a new U.S.-based company that manufacturers designer watches. The company’s claim is “Luxury quality at a fair price, sparing no details in the process.” Brathwait (yes, the same ‘Gentlemanly’ English poet from the 17th century, Richard Brathwait) actually uses the same manufacturing plants to design its watches as other household names, but because the company sells directly to consumers, you can have a watch worth $500 for $180.

How Prices Become Inflated


If you ever wanted to hit the big time, you should become a middleman. As shown in the chart above (and also featured on Brathwait’s website), middlemen are the reason you pay $150 for a designer tote bag that costs $5 to make (overseas under questionable conditions… but that’s a topic for another day). So by cutting out the middlemen, you can deliver great quality products (in fact, the same quality products as your competitors), at a fraction of the cost.

Now this won’t work on all consumers. Quite a few shoppers will pay the extra $300 for a name. But we’re not talking about them. We’re talking about how to target frugal shoppers who want quality at a fair price (but hey, if some customers will pay $400 for a watch, then offer a “deluxe” $400 edition as well, like Brathwait did. Business rule #1: Don’t leave money on the table!).


Quality is actually pretty affordable

Brathwait’s value proposition is certainly attractive and best of all they’re transparent about the process. The company blew the top on how much it actually costs to manufacture a high-end watch ($75), and went a step further to itemize the cost of each part, including the company’s profit (100%… because… we’re still talking about high-end watches).

Brathwait itemizes and gives an explanation for each part on its website. The difference between an economical watch and a designer one is really just a few extra dollars here and there. Sapphire glass can cost between $4 and $15 per watch, while Swizz quartz movement parts go for $2 to $10. Throw in some stainless steel glass, gold coating, a fancy dial, and a genuine leather strap, and you’ve got a $75 watch that will sell for up to $500 depending on the brand. While the company’s business strategy is fun to examine, any maker can use the same process to sell any product.

Expanding the Maker Movement

By using the same strategy of selling high quality products directly to consumers (online or at local farmer’s markets), any maker or artisan can gain the loyalty of bargain shoppers who want high quality products at a good price (which is probably most people).

Plus, when it comes to supporting local businesses versus huge multi-national corporations, most of us prefer to support one another. So if you’re considering starting a small business, you’re in luck. The time has never been better.







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