Here at Vortic, we relish our ability to share our successes, failures, and surprises with our fans. We want to show you how building the best business strategy really goes down, so you can learn about and from us.
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know the long, meandering, sometimes crazy — but always exhilarating — journey of building from the ground up. We never sugarcoat it. As we experiment and tweak our business model and infrastructure, we’re here to report what works, what doesn’t, and why. Perfection is never the point.
Today, we’re excited to share with you that we’ve reached a new phase in our evolution as a company. In fact, when we really sat down and looked at where we’ve been and what stage we’re at, it was pretty easy to imagine what the next step would be.
Getting to this phase took years of hard work and refining how we work as a team, what factors we consider when planning, and what type of mindset we need to adopt to be successful.
In this article, you’ll learn what all that looks like, plus you’ll hear updates about our newest machinery, our next event, and more. Are you ready to see what we’re up to here at Vortic? Let's get into it!
The Future of Vortic Watches
There comes a time in a company's life when you really hit your stride. As you reach the peak of a mountain you never imagined you would, you have a choice to make — where do we go from here?
We’re happy to say that we’ve evolved to the point where we’re able to maintain an unprecedented pace. As we recently sat down for our six- to twelve-month plan, we decided to roll out a new product every three months.
“The long and short of it is that we have a new thing coming roughly every three months in perpetuity.” - R.T. Custer
Also, take note that these new products will not be fluff products. They’re not random ideas we just whipped up in order to churn new things out.
Everything we’ll be rolling out has been in development, in some shape or form, for years. Whether it was an idea shelved or an inspiration that didn’t get properly developed, our new watches will be much like the creative, well thought-out, and unique pieces you’ve come to expect from us.
This may seem like a lot, but the fact is, we’re ready. We like to think of our plan as visionary, bold, and assertive. We had some moments where it could have felt aggressive, but that’s not exactly right. We’ve got everything in place, so “assertive” is the word that captures our strategy the best.
“You use the word ‘aggressive,’ and I think that's fair — it’s an aggressive plan [to do something new] every three months, but I would call it assertive. Aggressive feels reckless. Assertive feels like we’ve got this and we're confident we can totally do this. As long as nothing goes majorly wrong, I think we will be totally good.” - R.T. Custer
Be mindful when it comes to your own business — it’s great to be assertive, but once you cross the line into pushing too fast too soon, you’re getting into more rocky territory.
Challenges of Business Growth
One reason we felt confident in taking such an assertive approach to production was simply experience. We’ve been on this path for a while, and we’ve had many, many brainstorming and planning sessions. Sometimes we’ve really hit the mark. Other times, things didn’t go as planned.
On the one hand, there’s all the potential for growth that, when all goes well, just seems to gather momentum. When things are running smoothly, it can feel like success just layers over success, making each step even more powerful.
On the other hand, there’s always the unexpected and unplanned for elements of business, which we’ve discovered and know all too well.
“[Previously], we didn't really plan for things to go wrong, which is tough to do. It's tough to plan for things [going] wrong.”- Tyler Wolfe
The fact is, we can’t possibly imagine what goes wrong because if we could, we’d probably prevent it. The unexpected is a given. That’s why it’s essential to set things up so that when things inevitably hit the fan, so to speak, they don’t completely derail you.
Infrastructure for an Evolving Business
Setting things up properly requires experience. Luckily, at this point in the game, we’ve got a pretty good sense of how to be realistic. We know how to assess what we’re capable of, we know what to plan for, we understand that we can’t plan for everything.
“We've made these lists in the past. We've made spreadsheets, and we've said, so many times, ‘Here's what's gonna happen this year.’ … I definitely think bringing some of that experience into this past session helped to try and be more conservative with our planning.” - Tyler Wolfe
Besides planning and experience, the other simple fact is that we’ve leveled up all-around. Compared to where we were just a few years ago, we’ve got much more raw power. We’ve got the human, technological, and financial resources — like machinery and a super talented team — all at scale, plus processes that have been tweaked, toyed with, and refined to run like a relatively well-oiled machine.
“We've got more machines, we've got a bigger team, and we've got excellent people on the team. We've just got more capability. We've got stable processes underneath us as we're working towards these new products and new versions of some of the stuff that [we’ve been] doing.” - Tyler Wolfe
Obviously, this didn’t happen overnight. Every year, we’ve been working toward getting a stable, solid infrastructure for manufacturing and marketing beneath us. If you’re on the same path we’ve been on, we encourage you to keep going, no matter what mistakes you make. That old saying, “Progress, not perfection,” is exactly what you need to remember.
How to Achieve Growth in a Balanced Way
The fact is, running a business and putting as much meticulous and painstaking detail into it as we do is a delicate balancing act between playing it safe and going all out. Sometimes it makes sense to scale back or streamline, and other times, it’s important to take advantage of the moment.
Balance is just as important when it comes to how we work together. Thankfully, as you might have seen, we have a really great system between the two of us. Where one of us pushes forward, the other makes sure we're prepared. Bouncing ideas off of each other helps us maintain that fine balance between being visionary and being down-to-earth. You truly need both to win.
“[There’s] always the balance … of, ‘You let me know what's possible, what you think is feasible from a manufacturing standpoint,’ and then I challenge that and say, ‘Well, can we just go like a little faster?’” - R.T. Custer
While we’ve learned not to be reckless, one thing is for sure: We’re never here to play small. We’re ready for the big leagues, and we know that we have to make some changes to reach the level we aspire to.
“If we want to be the American Watch company, then we need all this infrastructure, we need all this stuff. And now that we have it set up, it’s really just us in the way.” - R.T. Custer
Now it’s just a matter of believing, because we know we’ve got the practical nuts and bolts in place, and not just literally — with our machinery, our resources, our team — but even in terms of how we’re going to present it to the public.
“There's just blue ocean in front of us. It's really exciting, and I think the way we laid it out [was] really intentional. … It flows and it makes sense not only from a manufacturing standpoint of what's possible but also a marketing standpoint of [knowing that you should] release this one before this one and that one.” - R.T. Custer
Now that we’ve got all the puzzle pieces in place, it’s time to get started ramping up.
Other News at Vortic Watches
To keep our production smooth, we’ve also got new machinery we’re excited about. It’s a big step up from most of what we’ve been using up until now. It’s got more raw power, more precision, and more nuance. In short, it’s more reliable.
“It’s hard to put a price on the way that the five axis reinvigorated me. It’s just a whole new world and a new tier of machines. You can really count on the machine to nail the things that you're trying to do,” - Tyler Wolfe
It’s definitely required a bit of a learning curve, however. As with anything new, it takes some time to really orient and learn how to use it effectively. But it 's worth it.
“Just about everything on this machine is different, so it’s [involved a lot of] reorienting of my brain. We've[previously] used all Haas machines, which are American machines with a certain control layout and different functions and different ways that they do things. This machine is different in just about every way, but pretty much in cool ways.” - Tyler Wolfe
Finally, we’re super excited to attend the Windup Watch Fair in New York City, where we’ll connect to fans and show off our newest creations. If you don’t know about this event, it’s a trade show-style event that takes place regularly in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. It’s free and open to the public, so we highly encourage you to check it out when and if you can.
Check Out Our Instagram and YouTube Channel for More Vortic Content
We couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store for Vortic watches, and we’re confident that you’ll be just as thrilled as we are when you see our latest creations.
You can expect to see more incredible restored pieces of history, and as always, they’ll be one-of-a-kind, unique watches that are stylish, practical, and incredibly high quality. To see our watch of the day, check out our Instagram page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for email notifications.
Please visit Custer & Wolfe's YouTube channel for more great content about the evolution and background of our company. We’re excited to share our journey with you!