The Benson Watch Businessman
I cannot emphasize how much of a small world this is. A few months ago, I bought a watch that looked amazing and was selling fast! I made a mental note of the product, and I knew I would buy more in the future. Fast forward a few months later when I attended a leadership conference and noticed a guy with the same last name as the watch. I asked him,”Excuse me sir, I noticed your last name is Benson, do you make the Benson watches?”. He replied,”Yes, I do. How do you know?”. I explain how I bought the watch, and in that moment I knew I had to interview this guy.
Marcel Benson is Founder and CEO of Benson Watch Company LLC. He is from Prince George’s County, Maryland and graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in business. He is currently a consultant working toward running the Benson Watch Company full-time. To Marcel, The Benson Watch Company is more than just a watch company. In addition to producing carefully crafted timepieces with cutting edge aesthetics, it is a company that strives to encourage others to spend time doing what they love. The watches are metaphoric as they are conduits that drive the message to the masses. The watch should serve as a daily reminder to stay in constant pursuit with those things that you love! Tweet This
I got the chance to sit down with the Watch Mastermind and here is what he had to say.
Q: So, How did the idea come about?
A: This idea came to me while sitting at a table with my old roommate and some friends. We were discussing future goals, and I noticed that many of us wanted a certain lifestyle but had no idea how to attain it. I knew working a job was not going to get me there. So, I decided to start my own business. I was told that if you were going to start a business it should be something that you are passionate about. That said, I began reflecting over my life and timepieces were something that were consistent in my life since childhood.
I was always fascinated by them and I collected them. In that moment, I realized that this was my passion. However, for it to be worthwhile for me, I had to use my business to help others. Another consistent theme in my life was my ability to lead and encourage other people to do better. I began to see the relationship between my passion and abilities. I found that synergizing them would breed the Benson Watch Company, beautiful timepieces with a purpose. Benson Watches would be conversation starters by their beautiful design. It would also lead to a more substantive conversation around the idea of time being spent doing what you love.
Designing the Watch
Q: When I think about designing a watch, the first thing that pops into my head is sketching. Do you come up with the drawings?
A: Yes, I draw and design the renderings for the watches. I even hand craft the boxes, but I have a great team of manufactures who actually make the watches. It’s a very meticulous craft to learn.
Q: I suck at drawing, I remember being in art class in grade school and all I could draw was stick figures. How did you learn how to draw the design of the watch? I don’t want you to give away any secrets haha.
A: Studying watch brands my entire life. Sketching until I find the right aesthetic. My designs are heavily influenced by high end watches. I try to keep the designs as simple as possible.
Q: Do you have a team that you work with?
A: Yes, I have a team who contracts with me for various things.
Q: It’s great you were able to get the right people together! How long did it take for everything to come together?
A: About a year, there have been some people that have come and gone but that happens as a company is developing especially starting from absolutely zero dollars.
Starting a Company with Zero Dollars
Q: I understand, it’s pretty tough to find a team of people that you can mesh with, especially with no money. I think for some people out there, they want to start a business and have nothing financially to start with. How did you get the business going with no money?
A: I relied on my good name with people, I have always been giving and respectful to everyone, so when I reached out to old friends and family members they were happy to support with the business. Some people that started helping in the beginning are no longer with me because the timing was not necessarily right.
Q: So I want to jump to kickstarter, I noticed you raised about $12,000. Was it hard to get there?
A: It was hard but worth it and very realistic. I simply took the time to talk to people about what my plans were on the one on one basis as apposed to just posting that I was raising money on social media. It takes some ground work and strategy.
Q: I’m really curious to hear your opinion on what makes it hard. I see people post on kickstarter all the time and never really raise money. In my opinion, I think it’s because they don’t knock on doors and tell their story. What do you think?
A: Raising money is hard because you are convincing people to give your their hard earned money. There are so many components that contribute to that process; making them flow together take a decent amount of effort and energy!
Q: Where do you see your company in 5 years?
A: In 5 years, I see Benson in major retailers. A recognized brand globally and having given back hundreds of thousands of dollars to high school start-ups! My vision is that when someone sees this watch on the wrist of someone anywhere in the world, they are immediately reminded of the beauty of time and spend it on your terms!
Q: Thanks again Marcel for the interview, where can everyone reach you?
Edited by: N. Cusic