2020 Summer Catalyst Startup Profile: Disliz
Disliz is a stylish watch brand featuring characters from popular media. These collectable watches can be worn as a fashion statement and provide an opportunity for individuals to unite with others who share similar interests. Inspired by their family business and experiences in the watch industry, Summer Catalyst participant Pablo Uribe MBA’21 and his brothers got together and decided they wanted to start their own venture. Pablo and his team collaborated closely with customers to understand their interests while building animated watches that evoke a sense of happiness and nostalgia. They’ve launched their company in Mexico and are working to scale to the U.S.
Pablo is excited to be a part of the Summer Catalyst community. Conversations with peers and mentors have helped him make new connections, gain valuable insights, alleviate challenges, and make significant progress on his startup. For example, although he believed that one of their biggest challenges would involve finding licensing partners in the U.S., that issue was resolved with the help of Summer Catalyst advisors. It has also been helpful to Pablo to have structure and accountability to stay on track with milestones. Pablo is eager to pitch his venture during Hot Seat and looks forward to receiving valuable feedback from the Summer Catalyst cohort. His ultimate goal this summer is to have a solid understanding of what the company needs to do in order to operate successfully in the U.S.
For Pablo, one of the most exciting parts about being an entrepreneur involves seeing the pleasure their customers experience from the products. The social media posts, thank you notes, and positive feedback from customers are delightful and inspiring: “When people post a picture on social media wearing their watches for the first time, that is the most rewarding part of my job.” Taking the time to appreciate customer feedback and embrace the wins (both big and small) can make the entrepreneurial journey a more fulfilling one. It’s also important to visualize the positive impact your venture will have on an individual, national, or international scale. Disliz watches bring joy to the users and bring them together through shared interests. As more and more individuals begin wearing and collecting the watches, that sense of happiness, nostalgia, and connectivity can have a positive ripple effect.
Disliz has faced both challenges and opportunities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing was negatively affected and the convention they were planning to attend was cancelled. On the bright side, e-commerce sales have been accelerating since people are staying at home and buying items online. The entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one, and the COVID-19 pandemic adds an additional layer of complexity. Pablo reflects: “The entrepreneurial journey is not easy for anyone, but failure is inevitable. Know that failure will come and be ready for it, and hope that you will earn more than what you lose in the end.” Many entrepreneurs would echo this sentiment. When it comes to experiencing adversity, Pablo believes in keeping an open mind and reframing failure as a learning experience. In fact, adopting a mindset that reframes failures is one of the most valuable lessons Pablo has learned as an entrepreneur.
In addition, Pablo believes it is imperative to have a strong support system. He is grateful for the opportunity to start the business with his brothers, and having his family’s support has been transformational. Babson’s Summer Catalyst also provides an incredible community. Pablo has found it helpful to talk through challenges with family, friends, and Summer Catalyst entrepreneurs instead of trying to tackle them alone. In addition to learning from failure, Pablo shared three more pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “One, test and fail fast and easy. Two, be very careful about what you spend your money on. And three, leverage your support systems.”