As Delugs develops and matures as a brand with a large number of customers and fans worldwide, it is important for us to look beyond our core business of just providing products, and think about what the brand stands for, our purpose and our direction.
We have developed a set of brand values that serves to guide our actions and thinking, and shape the decisions that we make; from the daily customer interactions up to decisions on our brand’s direction. Regardless of what products we develop, who we are talking to or dealing with, we want these values to stay consistent and universal.
We thought long and hard, and have come up with the following four Brand Values that we would like to adhere to:
1. Customer First
Our customers got us to where we are, and will continue to bring us to where we want to be. We will always place you, the customer, at the forefront of our minds, because your continued support is vital for the passion that we have and the successes that we experience. We will not sabotage our long-term relationship with you, in order to gain one extra sale.
While we might be a brand, the team behind this brand are also consumers, and know what poor customer service feels like. Good customer service is not just something that we demonstrate before we make the sale - it is something that we will adhere to one day, one month, one year or even one lifetime after you make your purchase. And when things go bad and a crisis emerges, it is something that will be all the more important to have, to demonstrate that we are not a fair-weather brand.
We will also be responsive to any question or comment that you may have. You can also reach us via multiple channels (Instagram, Whatsapp, email), whichever suits you best. Because we recognise that as a relatively young brand, working in a space where the products are not straightforward (Does your strap fit my watch? How do I order a custom strap?), you will have questions about how this will work. And we are here to answer those questions.
2. Quality Always
We will always strive to deliver the best possible products. We take pride in our craft, in our products, and in our business. We will use only top quality material and leather, and we will not take shortcuts in how we craft. It may save us some money, but you can definitely tell the difference in quality. If we're going to do something, we are going to do it well and in a way that makes the most sense.
We will also design our products thoughtfully and thoroughly, and not just put something out for sale just because we can make a quick buck. We will study what's on the market, find out what is good and bad about it, and make improvements to the design so that we are providing a better product than what is already on the market.
We all love things that are well-made, because you know that someone thought about how you are going to use it, and how it can be best made to meet your requirements. We want to provide value to the watch community, and provide products that you will love to use, and treasure for years to come.
3. Fair Prices
Pricing is always tricky. As a customer, you will always want the lowest prices possible. However, a more sustainable approach is to offer the most fair price possible.
We will price our products fairly, based on our costs and the prices of other comparable products, and based on the value that our products bring. While this means that we will not price our products exorbitantly (even though we believe that our quality and offering does allow us to do so), we will also not undercut ourselves. While low prices are good for the consumer in the short run, in the long run, this is unsustainable to any business, and before long the business will have to shut its doors as continuing to run the business just does not make sense.
Profits allow us to continue investing in research and development of new products, finding new leather, developing new straps, new accessories, new tools, and also allow us to invest in the education and training of our leathercrafters. It gives us the freedom to think big, and imagine what else we can offer to the watch community.
4. Always Improving
As the saying goes, if you're not progressing, you're regressing. So we keep our eyes on the horizon, and keep moving forward. We are here to build a brand and a community. We are here for good. We are committed to the long game, and that means always looking ahead and doing things better.
We will always improve our product line-up. We will always be releasing new products, trying new materials, exploring different techniques of doing things, making things better. Where’s the fun in making the same products over and over? Our crafters are always looking forward to the next challenge.
We will always improve our value proposition to the community. We will be on more channels, creating new media and content to showcase our products, educating the community, showing and not just telling.
We will always improve our communications and customer service, our backend systems and processes, our fulfilment and delivery. And we will do this with your help, feedback and inputs!
We hope that articulating these values will allow you to better understand us as a brand and what we stand for, beyond what you see on our social media, and beyond the products that we put out. In stating these values on our website and Instagram for all to see, we hope to hold ourselves accountable to you and to everyone else in what we set out to achieve. From time to time, we may falter and fall short of the standards that we set for ourselves. But we do hope to seek your patience, understanding and reminders if that happens. We are still learning and trying to find our place and footing, and we are far from perfect.
If you've read this far, thank you for taking an interest in Delugs as a brand, and for your continued support. We hope that you'll continue to walk with us on this exciting adventure and journey.
2016: We started off as leathercrafters. Working with all kinds of leather, day in and day out. Fussing over the tools of the trades, experimenting with new crafting techniques. Crafting straps, belts, wallets, pouches, purses, clutches, bags. Honing our craft, developing patterns, and creating handmade pieces that are as pretty as they are functional.
We were also watch collectors. Starting with a modest Seiko, our love for mechanical timepieces quickly blossomed into an addiction a hobby. Admiring the finishing of the case and movement, watching the balance wheel rotate back and forth, and marvelling at how all that engineering fits into something so tiny that sits on your wrist.
The common thread in our love for leathercrafting and mechanical timepieces was obvious. Amidst all the technological advancements, in the world where almost anything and everything can be done on a computer, there was something romantic about the idea of creating something with your bare hands, or winding the crown and watching the watch spring into life.
The Idea for Delugs
2018: As we started making more leather watch straps for personal use and for fellow collectors, we realised that many collectors were strapping their treasured timepieces with poorly made straps that, frankly, did not deserve to be paired with such a beautiful watch. Most collectors thought that this was how leather watch straps were - that after a few months of use, the leather will start to peel and crack, and you would just have to buy another strap to replace it.
While doing our market research on the leather strap market, we realised that there was a gap, and an opportunity, for us to do something different. On the one hand, you have the large watch accessories and strap brands, offering ready made straps at low prices but using leather and construction of questionable quality. And on the other, you have the artisanal leathercrafters. These crafters know the best leather and materials available on the market. They know the construction method that is the most durable, the "best". They are able to custom make anything - any material, any size. But because of the skill needed and complexity in making watch straps, these straps were often extremely expensive with long wait-time of a few months.
So we thought to ourselves - how can we best bring our experience and knowledge in leathercrafting to deliver value to the watch community? Can we train a group of leathercrafters to craft the straps like traditional leathercrafters do, but make the straps in large enough quantities to justify getting specialised tools and equipment, developing new processes and procedures? By specialising in leather watch straps, we would dramatically increase productivity in handcrafting a leather strap, and hence be able to offer these high-quality straps at much lower costs.
Thus began the story of Delugs.
The New Standard
Delugs was launched in 2018 with a small, curated collection of leather straps, made using the best leather that we knew - Shell Cordovan, Chromexcel, Buttero, Epsom. Sales was slow to begin with, but as more people began to buy, use and experience what a quality strap truly felt like, word quickly spread in chat groups, communities and on social media.
Starting with mostly Made-to-Order straps, we rapidly expanded our offering of ready stock handcrafted straps, removing the typical waiting time of weeks or months. We provided a range of width and sizes that most people weren't used to seeing, catering to the needs of almost all watch collectors. We brought in new leather that the larger watch community had never been exposed to - Babele, Pueblo, Waxy, Russian Hatch Grain.
Beyond our products, we also aspired to provide an online shopping experience that was enjoyable and fun. Through our Instagram, we showed people how straps could elevate the look of a watch, educated people about leathercrafting and offered a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes that many people were curious about.