Jun 11, 2024

Vero Watches: From Triathlon Champion to Watch Connoisseur

Written By

Onramp Funds

Vero Watches: From Triathlon Champion to Watch Connoisseur

Since working with Onramp




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From Track Athlete to Triathlon Champion 

Chris Boudreaux’s journey to eCommerce and founding Vero Watches is not what you might expect. He began as a walk-on to the LSU college track team, quickly developing a passion for running. This enthusiasm led him to his first triathlon, igniting a full-time career as a professional triathlete. Over the years, he completed over 100 triathlons, competing professionally until 2014. The thrill of competition and a love for sports led Chris to open a brick-and-mortar store called "Athlete’s Lounge," offering everything from bikes to wetsuits. The store was a success, generating seven figures in revenue and serving as a hub for local athletes.

Transitioning to Watchmaking 

In 2015, Chris decided to sell Athlete’s Lounge and embark on a new adventure—watches. This transition might seem unusual, especially considering Vero's watches are not performance-oriented but modern, bold timepieces. The inspiration came from a personal experience; after getting married, Chris bought himself a nice watch and fell in love with it. This fascination grew as he immersed himself in the world of high-end watches, attending trade shows and visiting luxury watch stores.

Building Vero Watches 

Together with his partner Danny from Athlete’s Lounge, Chris decided to create his own watch brand. They began by purchasing the necessary machinery and learning the intricacies of watchmaking. This hands-on experience proved invaluable, allowing them to understand every aspect of the manufacturing process. Initially, Vero was more of a manufacturing company, but as they grew, Chris realized the need to focus on direct-to-consumer sales. The pivotal moment came during the COVID-19 pandemic when Chris was forced to go all-in on a new design or say goodbye to his dream. He invested in high-quality photography, a sleek website, and the right mechanics, hoping this launch would resonate with consumers. Thankfully, it did, with success driven almost entirely by organic traffic.

Celebrating Successes and Overcoming Challenges

One of Vero Watches' most exciting achievements was the release of their Smokey the Bear Watch. This project connected with the nostalgia and love for the outdoors shared by many. The watch was a huge success, and with Smokey's 80th anniversary this year, Vero is hard at work on a re-launch.

However, the journey hasn't been without challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Chris to sell their machinery and let go of talented team members. Despite these hardships, Chris managed a successful product launch that kept Vero alive.

Seeking Funding for Growth 

As they scaled, managing cash flow, especially when placing larger inventory orders, became a significant challenge. Although profitable on paper, running a small business meant dealing with constant ebbs and flows. Vero needed upfront capital not only for purchasing inventory but also for maintaining their brand's high aesthetic standards, including professional watch photography.

“For small businesses, I think we can all appreciate that cash flow is often the largest issue. We all face it.”

Choosing Onramp Funds 

Chris explored various funding options, including bank loans and credit cards, but revenue-based financing with Onramp Funds made the most sense. This type of funding aligns with the business model, allowing them to repay quickly when revenue is strong and giving them the flexibility to decide if they need additional funds.

The Onramp Experience 

The straightforward, transparent business model with Onramp has made the financing process simple. Chris appreciates the easy tracking of payments, without complicated calculations. Timely communication with the Onramp team has also been a significant benefit, making it easy for Chris to reach out whenever needed. In a world where many financing options can feel like traps, Onramp Funds has stood out as a reliable and trustworthy partner.

“In life and with loans, you often see something that looks like a good deal and you get burned. This certainly isn’t that.”

This financial support has been key in helping Vero Watches grow and succeed, allowing Chris and his team to focus on what they love—creating beautiful, modern watches that their customers adore.