Subscription boxes are definitely a thing these days – you can get makeup, clothes, dinners – delivered regularly to your door.
A 26-year-old Ceres entrepreneur has joined the trend, with an eye toward men’s fashion. Mike Vega started Wrist Society in late 2015; he’s already lined up more than 1,000 subscribers.
The idea started about as simply as possible: “I love watches,” Vega said. “Guys really don’t have a lot to accessorize with.”
He started an Instagram account just to display his watch collection. It quickly started getting attention.
“People started commenting,” Vega said. And the watches his fans seemed to like best were not among his most expensive.
“One of the things about having a watch collection is how expensive it can be,” with many pieces running from hundreds to thousands of dollars, Vega said. “I thought, what if we say, ‘Let’s not focus on the brand. Let’s focus on it looking good.’ ”
Watches have a singular appeal for men, Vega pointed out. For many, it’s the only accessory they have.
Here’s how it works: For $29.95 a month, members get a watch sent to them monthly. An elite membership is available for an additional $10; that includes a bracelet with each watch and some other occasional perks.
Vega quickly amassed a few dozen clients. “I thought it would be great to get to 100,” he said.
But then someone posted a question on the popular aggregation site Reddit: “What is a subscription that is actually worth it?” Someone responded: “Netflix, Spotify and Wrist Society.”
Suddenly, Vega found himself with 200,000 hits on his website and hundreds of new subscribers, from as far away as Iceland. Men enjoyed finding themselves with several options in the morning as they got dressed for the day.
“The most challenging part during that time was dealing with growth in an instant,” Vega said. Fortunately, he got help from family members, including his father, who found himself put to work immediately after retiring from a 30-year career at Sensient in Turlock.
Among the FAQs on his website is, “Do the watches work?”
Vega said people find it hard to believe that they can get quality watches for such a low price. Vega said he keeps the prices down by working with watch manufacturers and buying in bulk.
As important as it has been to grow the business, Vega said he’s also enjoyed seeing the development of the Wrist Society Facebook page. There, fans offer advice, buy and sell their own watches, and display their collections.
“It’s truly a little community,” he said.
And it’s growing: Vega said he plans to expand into offering women’s watches later this year.
Find Wrist Society at wristsociety.com.