This week’s guest on The Startup Story has a bit of a different perspective when it comes to business and startup. Why? Well, because his startup exists in a space where he has had to stand toe-to-toe with watch industry giants since Day One. Our guest today is RT Custer, CEO and Co-founder for Vortic Watch Co. His passion for this unique watch craftsmanship does not reside in the product alone, but also in the process.
In this episode, you will learn how necessary it is to have people around you that believe in what you are doing. You will hear just how important it is to start the journey without having all the answers. And you’ll hear firsthand from RT how powerful it is when business owners support other business owners. His workmanship and startup story, as you will hear, is one that is deeply rooted in old-school work ethic and craftsmanship. This is RT Custer’s startup story.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Early life growing up on a Christmas tree farm and what that taught him about business
- About RT’s time running a $129,000 business the summer of his Freshman year in college, at the age of 19 years old
- RT’s fascination in college with additive manufacturing and 3D Printing, and how that led to the idea of crafting watches with his friend Tyler
- A brief history of watchmaking in the U.S.
- How and why RT began asking the question, “Why can’t we make quality watches and watch parts in the U.S.? Why does this always need to be manufactured in Switzerland?”
- Which led to launching The American Artisan Series on Kickstarter in December of 2014 to help raise funds to create, produce, and make their first 3D printed watch prototype (and met their goal within 12 hours) and build their company, Vortic Watch Co
- How a passion and idea turned into a successful business, and what surprised them the most
- The process, creation, engineering, and craftsmanship of their products by adapting vintage pocket watches and merging with 3D printing technology
- RT’s thoughts on growing an enterprise that was looking to take on the watch giants of the world and doubts that surfaced
- Vortic’s mission and how it keeps the company moving forward time and again
Resources from this episode:
Our Sponsor, Movocash: https://www.thestartupstory.co/movocash
Connect with RT Custer on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rtcuster/
Vortic Watch Co.: https://vorticwatches.com
The American Artisan Series - The Kickstarter that started it all for RT and Tyler