During the recent Pop Up Flea, which is a temporary Americana brand and menswear bazaar in New York City, Hodinkee stood out among other vendors. The watch blog occupied one booth amongs traditional retail stores.
Hodinkee is founded by former UBS consultant Ben Clymer. He was at Pop Up Flea to sell vintage watches, owned by others, as a marketing effort to make the site the online destination for all things related to watches.
It seems like the strategy worked. Clymer said that Hodinkee gets around 300,000 unique visitors from more than 50 countries. Traffic to the site doubled in 2011 and grew 120 percent in 2012. It has partnership deals with other retailers, such as Gift, Club Monaco, and Park & Bond.
Hodinkee sells other people’s watches. One of its regular contributors is John Mayer. Clymer is in talks to launch a web series on Jay-Z’s Life + Times YouTube Channel. He said that there are presently no plans for a physical retail shop but the company will continue to add new products, such as straps, pouches, and ties to its online store.
Clymer started Hodinkee when he was still working at UBS as a consultant. He love both watches and writing. It started when he wrote a blog post about his Omega Speedmaster that was given to him by his grandfather. Then he started researching about other brands and writing about them.
He didn’t have a business plan when he started Hodinkee. He made it clear that the company is not a watch dealer. It doesn’t hold inventory. Hodinkee are writers. They help buyers and act as consultants for them.
During the past Pop Up, it got $90,000 in revenue in three days. But it was not their money because they don’t own the watches. Hodinkee takes a margin but the company is more focused of talking about watches and bringing them in front of people.