Redefining luxury within the Black community goes beyond improving price points for the average consumer. It’s about ensuring quality, accessibility and overall catering to our interests as a community.
When entrepreneur Kwame Molden co-founded his designer watch company, Springbreak (SPGBK) Watches — alongside his co-founder Maurice Davis — he envisioned a brand that would merge education with cultural tastes and ultimately redefine the watch industry for Black consumers.
Prior to creating their company, Molden noticed the relationship between Black consumers, foreign designers, and their products. While we often covet after these brands, they do little to give back to the community they take so much money from.
“The problem we’re trying to solve in our community is that expensive and foreign companies, watch companies, in particular, are perceived as high value, but their products are unattainable for the average person,” he tells AfroTech. “We as a community grow up looking for those status symbols but we [in fact] have the power to control what is deemed high value.”
While witnessing his community attempt to keep up with popular and expensive trends, Molden and his co-founder came up with an idea to create a watch brand that encompassed their core values that revolved around education.
“The common thread between me and Maurice has always been education,” Molden says. “That’s a piece of why SPGBK Watches was built on education because that’s the linkage between me and him. School is what connected us and where we had our positive experiences at.”
Molden and Davis grew up together as close friends in Fayetteville, North Carolina where they attended all the same schools and even went off to college together. As HBCU graduates of North Carolina A&T, both entrepreneurs knew they wanted to make a difference in their community and they believed their mutual interest in watches was the pathway to doing so.
“Even though we’re making watches, we’re using watches as a vehicle for education,” Molden adds.
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According to Molden, part of his educational background that sparked the inspiration for his thriving brand comes from renowned activist Frederick Douglass. Like the famous freedom fighter, Molden also wants to use the power of education to empower his community to develop smarter shopping habits.
“Like Frederick Douglass, SPGBK is inspired by education because I believe it provides a direct pathway to true freedom,” Kwame says of the brand’s origin story. “I have always been obsessed with Black History and have an intense personal interest in education, but it was not until I read [Frederick Douglass’] book did I discover the true value of it, which made me want to share its importance with our community and the entire world.”
In speaking with Molden, he revealed to us that upon launching the brand back in 2013 he had no real knowledge of what it took to build a watch company. That barrier of information is what he believes impacted the brand’s growth in its earlier years and why it took firsthand experience to really get it off the ground.
“I didn’t have that knowledge of how to get a watch made or how to promote my company,” he shares. “That’s the thing with a lot of Black-owned companies, we just don’t have the information or blueprint on how to grow our companies. If we had that information readily available, I think it’d help jumpstart a lot of our endeavors.”
It took a conversation with a close friend to remind Molden and his co-founder why they started the company in the first place. That reminder helped them shift their focus from trying to gain new customers to catering to their own community who has supported them since day one. Staying true to their mission, remaining authentic, and being transparent about their origin story is what has attracted so many consumers to the brand recently.
For Molden, he believes that having a brand that so many people can relate and feel close to is what has catapulted their success. Getting people to invest in a brand they feel they know personally is the first step Molden and Davis are taking in uplifting their community.
SPGBK Watches has seen a surge in support over the last year, especially as more people look to intentionally shop with Black-owned businesses. That support is what helped the brand line up an in-store/ online distribution deal with major retailer Nordstrom and partner with Hulu for their Black History Month “Your Attention Please” gift box campaign in 2020.
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Looking ahead, the brand hopes to continue building upon their partnership with Nordstrom as they gear up to release their new product line. SPGBK Watches’ goal now is to be a game-changing brand that shifts the watch and retail industry overall for fellow Black-owned brands.
“We’re on a strong path to become the number one destination for watches in the game period,” Molden concludes.
For more information about SPGBK Watches, visit its website.