My largest entrepreneurial venture to this point has been UNCLE JACK.
I started Uncle Jack in 2014 as a watch brand to rival established brands that weren’t catering well to the millennial market. From a twelve-thousand-dollar investment, we had generated over a million dollars in revenue in just our first financial year. It was a combination of clever marketing, hard work and a little bit of luck.
The idea for Uncle Jack came about after I was looking for a watch for a mate’s birthday in early 2014. I was at uni at the time, balling on a bit of a budget and still pretty conscious of style. Browsing through major department stores, it really struck me how complicated and pretentious the watch industry was. Brands that had been around for decades were producing the same old-school styles that they always had been. But they all looked the same sitting there on the shelf.
I walked out of there almost immediately with the idea to create a watch brand on trend with the ‘minimal’ movement that was just about to take over. I called my good mate Brandon Ellis, who was playing for Richmond in the AFL and he asked him what he thought and if he wanted to get involved. It was a resounding yes. Only a few days later, another of my good mates overheard me talking about it at footy training and almost immediately told me he wants to get involved. The rest was history. The three of us locked on and brought it to life.
I should also mention, my two business partners supported me the whole way through the journey. You hear horror stories about investors and partners that cause drama and chaos, but I only have good things to say about those two. They knew when to help, when to support, and also when to trust me to do what I do best. They didn’t question my strategies and had belief in me. That was a crucial pillar in the success of Uncle Jack.
Through some organic social media & word of mouth we had around 500 people sign up to join the ‘waiting list’ for our first ever launch. We ended up selling around 30-40 watches on the first night. We ordered 400 watches which was pretty much all of our money. We thought, ‘alright, well if we sell roughly 1 per day we should be able to sell them out in a year or so’. We ended up selling out within the month, and it just rocketed up from there.
We had an office within the first month, albeit on top of an Italian social club 10m away from a busy freeway, but it was a start. I remember Channel 7 coming in to do a feature video on Brandon and his off-field venture and the genuine shock they had rocking up to the office. I’m sure it wasn’t the sparkling Fitzroy office they had expected for a brand that portrayed such an image. It was humble beginnings.
The brand exploded on the back of a lot of hype, clever marketing and collaborations. We were fortunate enough to collaborate with some Australia’s most prominent athletes and celebrities including Patty Mills, Megan Gale, Dyson Heppell, Kalyn Ponga & Cam Munster.
In 2019 we became an official licensee of the AFL. A huge achievement that propelled the brand into the next level.
In 2020 the brand was successfully acquired by a private group and continues to achieve great success.