Setting up, running and growing a business is something that many of us dream of doing. The thought of working for oneself, doing what we're passionate about daily, having total control over how things work, and raking the profit directly into our own pot is what drives many to set up their own business and go it alone. That's the problem though - that kind of existence is, more often than not, just a dream.
The reality is that it's often terrifying, confusing, and overwhelming. It challenges your relationships - at home, professionally and with yourself. It is an all-consuming process, no matter how firmly you promised yourself before you started that you would be the one to achieve the perfect work/life balance. More often than not, it involves diving into a financial black hole, a hole which some never emerge from. If you are inspired to set up a business purely by control and profit, you are putting yourself at risk.
Marloe Watch Company is the result of one moment of serendipity and two curious minds. It was born from both of those minds wanting more, for less - wanting a perfectly-designed, well-engineered, mechanical watch for the same price as a mass-made, battery powered quartz watch. We could have stopped when we reached that milestone and had that watch on our wrists, which we achieved pretty quickly with the arrival of our first Cherwell watch. We could have made ourselves a beautiful watch, and left it at that. The business itself was born from the desire to bring what we had made to others - to allow all to share in the joy of owning a beautiful mechanical watch.
We truly believe that's why Marloe Watch Company is still here, and still growing, four years on. We have taken inspiration from people and businesses around us who are in it for all the right reasons - rather than being driven by a hunger for profit or for mass production and sales. Yes, we have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but Marloe Watch Company has never been about that for us. Marloe Watch Company comes from a good place, it's in a good place, and wherever it goes as we continue to grow will, if we stay true to our motivations, be in an even greater place.
As with inspiration for our designs, inspiration for how we run our business comes from many places. We aren't perfect, and our eyes and ears are always open to fresh ideas and ways to improve our operation. So this week, let's hear from Oliver - co-founder of Marloe Watch Company and driving force of our growth - on what and who has sparked his interest recently.
What have you been listening to this week?
The best thing I listened to this week was a podcast called 'How I Built This with Guy Raz: Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard'. In 1973, Yvon launched the company to make climbing gear as he couldn't find what he wanted on the market. This stemmed from a trip to Scotland in 1970, where he purchased some rugby shirts and sold them with great success. From this initial idea, the Patagonia company developed a wide selection of rugged technical clothing. Over the years he has implemented some unique philosophies around business and leadership, and his company is also known for its environmental focus. It was very inspiring listening to such a talented and experienced business owner who has similar values to ours.
Whose work are you admiring?
Last week I popped over to Harrow & Hope, local wine makers in Marlow, to pick up a couple of bottles of sparkling wine for a dinner party - you couldn't help be impressed by their setup. Their single vineyard sits on an ancient Thames gravel terrace, where water flowed about 450,000 years ago. For thousands of years the Thames cut down into the gravels and chalk and left a terrace with steep slopes with large deposits of flint gravel, mixed into thick orange clay lying on top of the chalk - I'm told this is classic ‘Thames Terroir’. They're now into their third vintage and I for one can't wait to try it, these guys are doing something very special indeed.
Another brand that has been in my mind this week is Fjällräven, an outdoor clothing and equipment company that’s committed to making nature more accessible. Hailing from the small town of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden, a place where mountains and forest meet the sea, in true Swedish style they focus on simplicity and practicality, and much like Patagonia, have the utmost respect for the environment. I've always loved their products and now that I'm in the market for a new backpack these guys are very much on my radar - I'd highly recommend checking out their range.
Where have you been recently?
I'm regularly blown away by the beauty of the area around us - from Henley to Marlow, the valleys are a stunning place to walk - and I've been racking up the miles recently. Most notably through the village of Hambledon, once owned by the WH Smith family and where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was filmed, of all places. Walking north through Pheasant's Hill and on towards Frieth, you cannot help but be taken by the beauty of the area, and it makes me proud to be a small part of this incredible place.
What are you wearing right now?
On Kungsgatan (King's Road) in Stockholm is a small shop called A Day's March, another Swedish brand who offer clean-cut basics of the highest quality - I picked up a shirt from these guys a few months ago and absolutely love it, the shape and cut is perfect, and I'm sporting it today. Interestingly, their name, A Day’s March, comes from an old military term referring to how far an army could move in a single day - a fitting name for a clothing brand that helps you keep going through the triumphs and troubles of everyday life with your head held high.
I'm also wearing my faithful Timberland boots today due to the rain! At 5 years old these guys are very much my trusted companions - they have been all over the world with me and are still going strong. Timberland is another example of a brand doing their bit for the environment - since 2001 they have planted 8.7 millions trees worldwide whilst 233 million plastic bottles have found a new life in their footwear - pretty impressive stats.