This is quite honestly one of the most powerful stories I have come across in the ecommerce success space. I have read and heard a ton of stories about “this” millionaire or “that” millionaire from leveraging shopify with Alibaba, but nothing compares to this, this is a whole new level…
In 2011, Filip Tysander decided to build a watch company at the age of 31. He put $24,000 into the business and it now does $180 million in sales on a yearly basis, with 50% margins (He profits $60 million). The company is also 100% privately owned by him.
It all started back when Tysander graduated high school and wanted to go out and “Find himself” in the world. He thought it would be a good idea to go to Australia and travel around like most young Swedish guys. While he was in Australia, he met a fashionable Englishman named Daniel Wellington. The man Daniel was wearing a Rolex with the classic Nato watchband. Tysander was deeply impressed by the Englishman’s classy look, and that’s how he got his million-dollar idea, and his million-dollar brand name: Daniel Wellington.
“I realized there was room on the market for preppy watches,” he says in an interview with Veckans Affärer. The name just sounded right for an international watch brand.
Just like most entrepreneurs, Daniel Wellington was not Tysander’s very first venture; he failed on a necktie company and a plastic watch company before he started Daniel Wellington. Even before he started those two ventures, he was fired from a few jobs and enrolled in business school instead. The year of his graduation he used $24,000 he had earned from his previous failed ventures to start the third company that was to change his life forever.
“I started a little ecommerce website and designed the logotype myself in Photoshop. Then I sent designs back and forth to a factory in China I found on Alibaba.com that was manufacturing the Nato styled watch bands”, Tysander said to Veckans Affärer.
The preppy watches became a huge success. Not only because of their stylish design and good quality relative to price, but also because Tysander was able to exploit a void in the marketing strategies of his established competitors: social media influencers.
His campaign was built around actively getting influencers with lots of followers to showcase his watches. This is an extremely common strategy nowadays and we see it being implemented everyday, but a few years back this was cutting edge. Now, the brand Daniel Wellington has more than 2 million followers on Instagram
We’re getting used to seeing this strategy applied by now, but a few years back it was cutting edge. Now the brand Daniel Wellington has more than 2.4 million followers on Instagram.
A few years back in 2014, Daniel Wellington did more than $70 million in sales, selling over 1 million units. One year later in 2015, Daniel Wellington’s revenue jumped to $170 million. With margins over 50%, Tysander (Being the full 100% owner) made a profit of roughly $65 million in 2015. So what did he do? He decided to go out and buy Stockholm’s most expensive apartment.
He bought the 418 square meter penthouse for $12.8 million.
Tysander had absolutely no idea the company would boom, he told Veckans Affarer “If you go back to 2013, I had no idea the company had the potential to grow to it’s current size, but today it’s part of my everyday life. I’m incredibly fortunate.”
Filip Tysander truly believes anyone can be a successful entrepreneur – it just takses time and a lot of hard work. Filip failed so many times before he finally found something that clicked for him. If he simply gave up after his first or second venture he would most likely be sitting at a cubicle somewhere back in Sweden.