Singapore Microbrands: Insights From Reverie Founder, Samuel TayWritten by Melissa Kong
“There is a surprisingly large number of microbrands in Singapore despite our relatively small population.”
In our series of interviews with Singapore microbrand owners, we ask them to tell us about the challenges and misconceptions associated with running a watch microbrand. Here, Samuel Tay of Reverie shares his hopes for the brand.
The thrill of the chase is what makes microbrands interesting for watch lovers. Given the variety of designs microbrands collectively offer, watch lovers are spoilt for choice. Finding that under-the-radar microbrand, learning more about it, and finally laying hands on one’s desired watch makes microbrands exciting.
We are more engaging than traditional brands because we are closer to the customer. Due to leaner operations, the person who designs the watches is often the same person running the brand’s marketing campaigns and customer service. This means that a watch lover’s feedback and opinion is more likely to be heard. It really isn’t uncommon for watch lovers to have a say in the design of a collection in the microbrand world.
We managed to get some overseas exposure. In 2016, aBlogtoWatch featured our Sea-Spirit collection (above). I reached out to the reviewer via Instagram and explained our brand story and the concept behind the collection. It was a rather straightforward process as he liked the watch’s design and our brand. It certainly felt great to be recognised by a reputable website for watch reviews and it served as an indication that we were going in the right direction. I must add that being featured in CROWN is similarly encouraging!
Reverie produces about 500 watches a year. I plan to maintain our production numbers for now as it usually takes a while to conceptualise a design and even longer to fine tune the details of each collection. The eventual plan is to increase this to two collections per year although we will probably not do much more than that as we prefer to keep production numbers low. This ensures exclusivity for our customers and keeps operations manageable.
The microbrand market in Singapore is competitive. There is a surprisingly large number of microbrands in Singapore despite our relatively small population. Given the cross-border nature of commerce these days, local microbrands have to compete with foreign microbrands as well, not to mention the established brands. One challenge would be carving a niche for oneself so as to stand out in the crowded marketplace.
I want to use Reverie to promote causes I care about, such as wider access to education for the underprivileged. In particular, I am tinkering with the idea of providing for a matching gift feature during the launch of our next collection so that funds can be raised for such causes. Stay tuned!
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".