An SPGBK timepiece is more than just a watch, it?s an eco watch. Every SPGBK piece is made using material that was selected for its biodegradable, sustainable, and hypo-allergenic qualities. On top of this, they are super stylish.
SPGBK, an abbreviation of “Spring break,? and the official logo of SPGBK, uses lightweight recycled maple wood and each watch features Miyota movement, a unidirectional, and automatic Japanese winding system. This can be adjusted by a gold watch crown embedded into the right side of the design. Most of the watches are all wood other than the watches that have wood bezels with nubuck, cowhide leather bands.
Founded by Kwame Andrews, North Carolina-based SPGBK not only looks to help the environment, it also fights social issues as well. The company has been known to donate a portion of the sales from each watch sold to the No Kids Hungry Foundation, an organization that provides up to 10 meals to a child in need.
TNJ.com: Why did you launch SPGBK?
Kwame Andrews: We decided to created SPGBK with the idea of creating sustainable products for people who love culture and art. We wanted to make eco-products fashionable and cool in the USA, and help spread awareness for culturally inspired items. We both had a similar passion for watches, so we decided to combine the idea with our passion, and launch a sustainable watch brand for younger and urban demographic.
TNJ.com: Why watches? Why wood?
KA: It was extremely important for us to source our watches from eco-friendly and sustainable material. The core focus of our company is our global footprint and the idea that wood is the most intriguing material. It’s dope from a design perspective, lightweight, and it’s very different than watches you see every day. By using wood, our watches are guaranteed to stand out, which has also been critical for our growth. Also, we noticed that all of the other wood watches in the market look plain and boring, and were being marketed to a specific audience, that was different than ours. We saw an opportunity to establish a great company and also raise awareness about sustainable products in the urban & pop culture community.
TNJ.com: How did you fund the startup?
KA: We originally had the idea of launching our watches through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, but we wanted to grow our brand organically. SPGBK was self-funded with barely any startup funds as a result.
TNJ.com: What were some challenges when you launched such a unique company?
KA: When starting our company, we took the “learn as we grow” approach instead of taking time out to secure funding, launch multiple products, and spend a year to bring it to market. This was a great strategy because we were able to move with agility and test the market, but we could’ve spent more time to build up capital and introduce various watches at the initial launch. I use the analogy that “instead of tip-toeing around the water, we went ahead and jumped in the pool” which was good, but we had to learn a lot quickly.
We’ve been able to overcome each obstacle by doing something each day to improve our business, experimenting with different growth strategies, and learning as much as we can about e-commerce, digital marketing, and our customers.
TNJ.com: ?How do you market your company?
K.A: We put our customers first and we look to them as the number one source for marketing our company. SPGBK has a heavy presence on social media and we spend an enormous amount of time implementing feedback from our customers to grow. Providing an exceptional product and exceptional service is our focus for marketing.
TNJ.com: What are some of the company?s goals?
KA: In 2016, we plan to continue to rapidly introduce new watches into our collection on a monthly basis and implement community-inspired campaigns with our partners in North Carolina.
In the long term, we?d like to bring jobs to our state of North Carolina, have a massive impact on modern culture and sustainable products, and open physical stores.
TNJ.com: What has been your biggest business lesson?
KA: Never forget where you come from and implement your passion(s) into your brand.
We have a love for creative products, our hometown/North Carolina, and modern culture. We’ve integrated this into our business model and it is the sole reason for our growth.
TNJ.com: What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
KA: We get to create every day and be advocates for North Carolina. That’s priceless.