It was the summer of 2014, and I'd just picked up a my first "good" watch - an Omega speedmaster professional.
This kicked off a unhealthy obsession with watches, and I soon picked up my two other favorites (a Seiko skx700 and Steinhardt Nav B-Uhr 44 fleiger) amongst many, many others.
I would spend hours browsing the watchuseek forums, and following /r/watches on reddit, and noticed how many watches looked great on NATO's.
NATO straps were not only becoming extremely popular for "hardcore" watch enthusiasts, but also in the mainstream with fashion brands such as The Horse, MVMT and Daniel Wellington becoming extremely popular.
After looking to purchase up a few NATO Straps for myself, I noticed a lack of local Australian suppliers and was concerned about putting my $4k baby on a cheap glued, tacky $4 strap.
That aside, I purchased from an international supplier, and they were ok, but there was definitely room for improvement.
Having a web design and marketing background I started researching the viability of setting up a website and selling them for myself.
The Australian demand was obvious, and I started contacting manufacturing partners, and after months of reviewing samples and ensuring the quality was up to standard, I launched watchstraps.com.au (originally natostraps.com.au).
I kicked off with a range of 8 straps, in mostly 18mm and 20mm sizes, and sales in the first year exceeded expectations.
In 2016, to streamline the order fulfilment process I paired up with a logistics company to handle our warehousing and shipping, which has allowed me to focus on marketing and customer service.
The range has now expanded to 111 diferent products (and growing!), and we've now had over 3,000 orders since we started in 2014
What's next for NATO Straps Australia?
We'd love to set up multiple warehouses in the eastern states to speed up delivery times, and we are looking and releasing new colours more often, especially for the female market.