A track star, a business leader, and an innovator. Calvin Kang is man of drive and ambition. Many may know Calvin as a sprinter on our national team who has represented Singapore in numerous international competitions such as the Olympics, ASEAN and SEA games.
But that’s not all that is to Calvin.
As a man with big dreams, he has already explored a few variations of startups and businesses.
Now, he is expanding his horizons and pursues his passion in creating his very own timepiece brand- Monsieur France Co.
Calvin, alongside fellow entrepreneur Seamus See, came up with the concept of recreating a modern Swiss-French watch back in 2016. It is their goal to create a watch that delivers the value to end users and is affordable at the same time.
With the belief that every gentleman deserves to celebrate their inner self, the watch is designed with the idea of it an extension of a gentleman’s outlook - Simple & Bold.
The minimalist and timeless design has definitely caught our eyes and we can’t wait to get our hands on it! But hold up, the watches aren’t up for sale just YET.
Monsieur France Co. will launch on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter on 1 August 2017(That’s today!!) for a 30-day campaign, ending 31 August 2017. To find out more about the watch, visit their website at https://www.monsieurfranceco.com/ or check out their Instagram @monsieurfranceco.
We had a short chat with Calvin about his latest venture as well as to find out more about Monsieur France Co.
Hi Calvin! We’re really excited about your latest project! Could you share with us what is the meaning or idea behind the creation of Monsieur France Co., and where did you draw your inspiration from?
The inspiration started from me wanting to create a definitive brand for men.
Monsieur-French pronunciation: [mə.sjø} aka Gentlemen etches throughout our watches as we believe that every gentleman deserves to celebrate their inner self and the watch is an extension of their outlook - Simple & Bold
Monsieur fits the bill and why a timepiece? I like precision, timeliness, works well with my event, the sprints. I also like the watch as an extension of oneself.
It is also more than just an accessory. I also saw many successful crowdfunding campaigns and decided to give it a go.
We understand that it is certainly not easy to start up your own business. What are some challenges you faced when starting up Monsieur France Co.?
I would say, it is the branding concept, the succession plan and the emotions attached to building a new watch. It is more than just finding the right manufacturers, people to work with. It is about understanding why I would want to create this brand, who does it serve well? Why would people want it? The challenge is to gain varying perspectives and also my own to stick with a portrayal of this Men's definitive style of watch.
From the intricate details on the watch like the engravings of the branding on the BEZEL, selecting the colors of the case, size and diameter. All of these have many thought after iterations until the final product.
The majority would think that the roles of an athlete and of an entrepreneur are worlds apart, but we’re sure that being on the national track team has imparted certain skills and knowledge to you that could be put to good use for starting a business. Could you share some of the similarities or differences between being an athlete and an entrepreneur?
Both an athlete and entrepreneur have vast similarities. On my blog imcalvinkang.com, I have segmented my post into 3 parts (dreamer, athlete, entrepreneur) As an athlete, we often go through a phrase of development, growth and maturity in the understanding of the mechanics of the sport, the rules of the game and how to eventually break more records.
This translates well with entrepreneurship. You get into a new industry, you need to understand the market needs/ wants, you curate your product/ services based on the potential market entry, redefine the uniqueness of your offerings and go out there exploring and setting new milestones.
There was a point where both of the skills and knowledge gap will overlap. This is known as the tipping point. Usually, at this point, it goes downwards as an individual reaches a saturation point. This however, is the breakthrough for most athlete or entrepreneur, venturing into the unknown and going out there with all the previous experiences.I like how this phase is about trusting your gut instincts, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and finding the right people to journey together.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane: How did you first get into entrepreneurship?
I first got the inspiration from my track & field seniors. Some of them started on their own ventures, and I told myself that is what I would like to do in the future. To be able to transfer the skills that elite sport has taught me about excellence, reaching your goals and pushing towards endless boundaries. I love the pursuit and passion to develop something out of nothing.
I explored a few variations of startups/ businesses, this latest one has always been a side passion, to create my own timepiece brand - Monsieur Inspired by the French lifestyle, Monsieur captures the essence of bold living with an eclectic taste for adventure.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur, and what are some of the rewarding moments?
The ability to work for myself, to expand my skills and knowledge that directly spurs the growth of my brand/ product/ service. I like the freedom packed to it but this requires a tons of discipline, a very strong passion and determination to pursue what you like even when it gets tough and there are no initial returns. This journey, not many can fathom.
Nevertheless, it is definitely a rewarding journey. I love meeting people and through the entrepreneurship journey, the people that I cross paths with are vast and wide. No one person has a similar story, we build on one another, share our networks and strive to better ourselves.
Travelling the world and dealing business out of Singapore would be one of the memorable experiences, pitching to different cultures and economies help shape my understanding of the business world and as a whole, it broadens my horizon.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Believe in your dreams, if you do not have a vision, you will not have the runway to work towards to. At the end of the day, we are limited by the time we have in this life, I will always tell someone to live out their dreams and if you aim for the stars, even if you don’t make it, you will still hit the moon. Go for it!
Through this interview, I can feel the genuity, passion, hard work and persistence of Calvin in all that he do. Meanwhile he will be training hard and will be representing Singapore for the upcoming 29th Sea Games. Let’s give it up to this fine young gentleman who is an inspiration to all of us and let’s show him all the support we can give to him! 💪🏻Do cheer him on! 😊
Tuesday, 1 Aug 2017
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