My name is Stephanie, and I joined Marloe Watch Company 6 months ago. I may have sent you an email or two, or perhaps you have heard tales of someone having joined the team; maybe we have even had the pleasure of meeting. But with our customers spread far and wide across the world, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself, and, as our Crowdcube campaign enters its final stages and we prepare for a significant period of growth, to provide an insight into what it's like being an employee of Marloe Watch Company.
My background is varied; from working as a Primary school teacher to a fitness instructor, from managing a children's party company to copywriting before a perhaps-too-long stint in recruitment, I have what can quite frankly be described as an eclectic (weird) skill set. Having grown up in rural Scotland, I found myself a Henley-on-Thames resident quite by chance, having met my partner who is based down here, and set about finding 'The One' - not another partner, but the job which would tick all my boxes, allowing me to use my skill set, alongside a team who I could grow with and learn from. Desperately trying to avoid the commute into London, I started scouting through vacancy adverts within my local area - which is really quite small - hoping that some recruiter karma might work in my favour.
A big ask, perhaps - but sometimes big things happen in places and at times where you least expect them to. When I saw Marloe Watch Company's advert for an Operations Associate, I was immediately intrigued and daunted in equal measure. Having perused the website and Journal at length, I became convinced that Oliver and Gordon must be fibbers. How could just two people run a company with this sleek a website, with such a range of beautifully designed and unique watches, with no debt and with such ambition? Above all, somewhat jaded from my decade or so of professional working experience, I prepared for the inevitable mild disappointment of quite quickly realising that the values which the company stand for aren't apparent in everyday working life. So many times before I had been promised progression, inclusion, challenges, an ethos of honesty and integrity, and had seen examples where not only had these values not been demonstrated, but those who demonstrated the exact opposites were rewarded. That's not to say that I haven't worked with some brilliant and good people; I have. I've just never worked with an entire company full of them, where success is measured not only by profit and growth, but by how the company makes their customer feel.
Suffice to say, my fears were unfounded. I met with Oliver and Gordon - in the impossibly picturesque HQ, a converted dovecote nestled on the banks of the Thames - and was immediately struck by their work ethic, their rapport, their ambition and - above all - how quickly they had grown this incredible company in the right way, without compromise. Both founders have young families, and up until around a year ago, both had full time jobs which were completely separate from Marloe Watch Company. This alone is testament to how much hard work has gone into creating the business they run today - quite how they managed to work a full time job while managing this company is beyond me. Marloe Watch Company is the product of true passion, drive, integrity and determination - and a significant amount of exhaustion and grit.
Accepting this role has been the single best move of my professional career, and by extension, it's had an incredibly positive influence on my life. My day to day responsibilities within the company are varied - from packing and shipping orders, answering customer queries and stock management to writing Journal pieces and managing social media - but what underpins and drives every moment of my working day is an ambition to match up to the incredibly high standards that Oliver and Gordon have set for the company. When learning from and working with two such enthusiastic, professional and passionate people, it's nigh on impossible not to feel inspired and motivated. Interacting with customers from day one, I realised how special Marloe Watch Company is to so many people across the globe, and how Oliver and Gordon's determination and natural ability to communicate and work with people in a respectful, authentic way had paved the way for genuine collaboration and interaction with our network. I only had to look at customer reviews to see how quickly a community had grown around the brand, a true testament to the foundations that Gordon and Oliver had laid, and the standards that they had set.
The rapport and affinity that Gordon and Oliver have with each other is quite something. Before I began working here, I had wondered how on earth two people could set up and run a business without having met, and even now while based at opposite ends of the UK. Now I can see that it worked, and continues to work, because of their personal and professional characters; open, honest, communicative and with a shared goal, they collaborate seemingly effortlessly - although there's a healthy amount of sarcasm and gentle elbow digging to keep things real. Both have a wealth of diverse professional experience to draw upon, and their agility in negotiating the business world is impressive.
I had wondered what this would mean for me, as the first employee; how could I find a place within this dynamic? How could they possibly entrust me with any aspect of their business, their baby? How would I fit into this world of mainsprings and lugs as someone with no prior watch knowledge? Once again, I needn't have worried; Oliver and Gordon are frequently stating that they 'aren't watch people'. A strange statement to come from the founders of a watch company, but one which I understand now. This industry is steeped in tradition, pomp and a certain edge of arrogance. There's none of that here. Marloe Watch Company are carving their own piece of British watch industry history, doing things their way, and there's no such thing as a stupid question (fortunately for me) within the safety of our world. I've been given the time and resources to throw myself into learning and discovering this industry, have been entrusted with interacting with customers, and supported in doing the things that I love to the best of my ability.
I am getting to know our watches inside and out; exploring the complex web of tiny parts that come together to power the hands, the seemingly overwhelming scale of the process behind Gordon's designs, and how to manage the sometimes intricate nature of a mechanical timepiece. I might not have been a 'watch person' but I'm swiftly becoming a Marloe person, and I'm honoured to guide customers through the buying process, to answer queries and help them to deliberate over which watch is right for an individual person or occasion. Knowing that someone has enjoyed interacting with us as a company and is now the proud owner of a Marloe watch brings me immense pride; a pride which Gordon and Oliver must - and should - feel at a far higher magnitude.
With the impending conclusion of our Crowdcube fundraising round, we begin to write a new chapter for Marloe Watch Company. We are now the world's first customer-owned watch brand, and we have some huge plans for the immediate future, for the next few years, and beyond. Inevitably, to maintain the quality of the timepieces, customer service and business integrity that Marloe Watch Company has become synonymous with, we will require the right people around us as we grow. Having been through the hiring and training process as the first Marloe Watch Company employee, I know that Oliver and Gordon will ensure that anyone who will work with the company will be in very safe hands, and will become part of a very unique team. I may have been the first, but I certainly won't be the last, and it excites me to ponder that there will be people out there - perhaps not really loving their current roles, sitting at a desk, wishing for something more - who are as yet unaware of the adventure that lies ahead for them.