Interview with founders of e-shop 24TIME.cz about watch business and how it stands after 5 years

Honza Kulda asks for Freelo
Could you introduce 24TIME.cz, tell us a little bit of history, your vision and future plans?
For 24TIME.cz responses David Hriech and Michal Novák

24TIME.cz is an online shop with designer watch. The first launch of our e-shop was July 1, 2013 and we offered the same brands as competing e-shops initially. However, soon we have realised that without a complete change of strategy in such a competitive environment we will not succeed.

At that time, I liked two unconventional brands, the Wewood and the Italian NAVA watch. After we agreed on cooperation, we decided to change our focus and offer an unconventional, unprecedented watch. In the coming years, we have also adapted the design of our website and overall corporate identity.

In the future, we would like to open a small designed showroom where customers could have a look at some of those really unique watch. We would like to expand to the Polish market.

What makes 24TIME.cz unique compared to other e-shops?

It is definitely our customer approach that is always individual and personalized. This includes various strap adjustments, warranty and post-warranty repairs etc. We simply want the customer to enjoy the package delivered by the courier.

We are also exceptional with our portfolio of non-traditional design brands. More than 35 % of brands can be found only at our e-shop in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For example: 22 Design Studio concrete watch, The Horse, MVMT and more.

The age of Internet and Freelo is great in the way that we can choose the best colleagues in the field no matter where they are physically.“
What projects do you plan in the future except from 24TIME.cz?

We are constantly striving to move further and bring more and more comfort for our customers. In Freelo we have a nice list of modifications we are working on. Except from 24TIME.cz, we are preparing several new e-shops, such as 24WOOD.cz (wooden watch) and 24TOYS.cz (design toys).

The biggest project is still in its infancy and it is custom design brand with worldwide ambitions. We cooperate with two best designers in the Czech Republic to design the first model line, so it will worth it. I don't want to reveal more.

How many people is currently in your team and how do you divide your work?

Currently, there are 18 members across the teams of programmers, photographers, copywriters and people on SEO and marketing. The majority are external colleagues who are spread all over the Czech and Slovak Republics. From the industry no matter where they are physically.

What techniques do you use in your teamwork?

We are still kind of "punk" company where many things are solved while running. However, we have set up regular skype meetings for individual micro teams such as the team responsible for marketing, web and others.

What is the hardest part of running a watch e-shop?

There is a lot of things. I don't think a commodity like watch, has any particular specifics.

In general the problems I see in fashion industry, including watches, are various imitations from China, which many e-shops pretend to be original. We have always been very careful about this. Otherwise it is a complex and long-term work in building the brand itself, position, trust and especially in relation to the customer.

Have you experienced a real “fuck up” or distress moment and what helped you to pull through?

I have to touch the wood, but strictly fuck up hasn't happened to us yet. Time and again a bigger hitch appears, but nothing serious that would put our business at risk. We try to keep all internal things in order and under control. Of course there are external problems that cannot be influenced. Then you need to react quickly, flexibly and most importantly as a team.

Thanks to Freelo we no longer spam all team members with e-mails. A huge amount of information used to get lost in the copies.”
What system did you use to manage  the team communication before Freelo?

Before Freelo, we were constantly exchanging emails where everyone got lost over time. We used to write down individual tasks into several shared files with zero visibility about their fulfillment. As the number of team members increased, communication became pretty unclear and time-consuming.

How has the workflow and efficiency changed after implementation of Freelo?

Both went up very quickly after Freelo was implemented.Everyone had lists of tasks, assign deadlines, budgets. It has significantly impacted the workflow. Team members, who did not participate in the task directly also saw it. It often happened that one of those members brought an important, remark or opinion to the task. Thanks to Freelo we no longer spam all team members with e-mails. A huge amount of information and tasks used to get lost in the copies and most importantly it wasn't clear who was in charge of.

Why did you choose Freelo and how did its implementation in your team go?

We've been in Freelo right from the beggining, when an external supplier invited us. We used it to solve all the graphics and program modifications of the e-shop.

As our team expanded we needed to change the internal communication as well. We have done an internal benchmarking of similar softwares, but none of them suited us for some reason. So we have decided to continue in proven Freelo.

How many projects are you currently working on?

Nowadays we have 5 major projects in Freelo. There will be more in short term ;-) All projects are long-term nature with many sub-tasks. Every time we complete one, there are three new ones already.

There is usually no need to specially train colleagues in Freelo. If they do not know Freelo, they quickly get used to it because of it's simplicity and intuitiveness.”
How does Freelo help manage the entire company?

In Freelo, we are already dealing with all company activities.From marketing to online shop development and design to strategy itself. Individual activities are divided into projects and tasks, those are assigned to team members. Some activities, such as marketing, also have budgets assigned to each activity.

In terms of customer care, we need to respond very flexibly and online. However, we would like to look use Freelo in this field as well. Your new mobile app will certainly help it a lot in the future.

How do you teach new team members with Freelo and the entire workflow?

We cooperate witch many external suppliers. They have a lot of experience with similar communication applications, so there is usually no need to specially train them. If they don't know Freelo, they quickly get used to it because of it's simplicity and intuitivity.

Which Freelo features are the most useful to you and why?

I don't think we can pin out one, two Freelo functions that we would consider most useful. Freelo is simply a well-mixed cocktail of functions for team communication.

Freelo is simply a well-mixed cocktail of functions for team communication.”
Is there something bothering or missing in Freelo?

Until recently, we missed the Freelo mobile app, but it exists now, so communication has been simplified and speeded up again. It would be nice to see which team members are currently online in Freelo and the ability to have online chat.

When you say Freelo, which words do you think of?

Team, efficiency and communication.

What brand of watches do real captains wear? :-)

Each of the captains has several favorite brands and there is no saying that the shoemaker's children walk barefoot. Personally, I have Triwa and Mondaine watch and Michael (second captain) also has Triwa and MVMT watch.

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