A Charlotte-based, Black-owned watch company is making its mark with major retailers while also empowering their community and other Black entrepreneurs.
Founded in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Springbreak (SPGBK) Watches started in 2012-2013 and they’ve just landed one of their most exciting deals with Belk Department Stores.
This is not SPGBK’s first major retail deal, but the company’s third. They first landed a deal with Nordstrom, then with Macy’s.
Now that this partnership with Belk has come along, founders Kwame Molden and Maurice Davis feel their journey is coming full circle.
“This is incredible. When I think about North Carolina companies, the first company that comes to mind is Belk. And when they reached out to us it was like a no brainer. They’re based out of Charlotte, we’re based out of Charlotte,” said Molden, Springbreak Watches CEO.
The SPGBK brand represents much more than unique, colorful and stylish watches. SPGBK represents community, Black culture, and most importantly, education.
Both Molden and Davis have gone to school together nearly all their lives, and both HBCU graduates have a deep connection to learning.
“Being able to learn and being able to decode and learn more can take you much further than any type of materials or money or anything like that,” Molden said.
Access to information and access to capital is something Molden knows a lot of Black-owned business are in need of right now.
First-time Black business owners often want to start their own brand or company, but the knowledge of how to launch a product or service is not always readily available, something SPGBK has felt firsthand.
“How do I sell product online in 2012, 2013? How do I get it out to these people? I had no clue,” said Molden. “I just didn’t have any access to information. So I would be scouring the internet, trying to listen to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and this was in 2012,” he said.
“I think access like that social capital of knowing stuff, that’s what’s going to take Black-owned businesses and the Black community further.”
Access to capital is another roadblock some Black-owned businesses face.
Not only can securing start-up money be tough, but if there are investors interested, sometimes there could be a struggle to keep the business, product or service authentically Black-owned.
“If I get somebody to invest, I don’t have to give up my company and I want to retain ownership and really create a long-term Black business,” said Molden.
To aspiring and current Black entrepreneurs, Molden says it is important to find a product or service that you genuinely are passionate about, and one that you do not see your peer group selling. Once you have found that product, pour who you are into it.
“Leverage who you are and what you represent. With us, we’re from Fayetteville, we went to A&T, we’re HBCU graduates, so I’m able to speak to my company very freely because it’s really about who me and Maurice are. Don’t run from who you are, lean into who you are,” Molden said. “That’s what makes you different.”
Leaning into who they authentically are is what positioned SPGBK to land deals with major retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s and now Belk. SPGBK is in the watch industry, which is underrepresented with minority owners.
Once they started positioning themselves as a top player in the watch industry, those major retailers started reaching out to them for partnerships.
“The true statement is choose an industry, if you’re in that industry, separate yourself because those major retailers are looking to work with Black-owned businesses, and minority owned businesses, because they need to support us, and we need their help as well.”
The work for SPGBK does not stop with landing partnerships with major retailers. They also give back to the community by transparently sharing their struggles and triumphs with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and students.
They also elevate creatives by leveraging their platform.
“We’ll collab with local artists and give them an opportunity to paint our watches and then we’ll give them a percentage of the sales. And we leverage our platform and our following to give them exposure,” said Molden.
SPGBK partnering with Belk gives them an opportunity to now be in 200 stores and reach and inspire other Black communities in places like Mississippi, Alabama and even Charleston, South Carolina.
“I’m really excited about the Carolina connection,” said Molden. “It’s giving us a presence within our community, the Black community, in these little, smaller towns.”
SPGBK watches will be in Belk stores starting in December.
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
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