Le Coeur Founder and CEO Amy Mokris explains why she lets passion drive her business.
Amy Mokris, Founder and CEO of Le Coeur watches, can look back at the past five years and point out exactly when the path to her present was established.
“I moved to Paris on whim,” says Mokris. “I had the intention to stay there for three months, but I lived there for a year. A lot of the best experiences I’ve had in life were because I was naive enough to believe they’d work. And then they did.”
After college, she landed jobs in Paris and in Chicago focused on branding and product development. “That was kind of the pivot point for me because it got me thinking about the brand approach,” says Mokris. “I was working with clients based on their specific marketing and branding needs and I really loved that directed approach.”
In Chicago, Mokris found herself on a marketing team with serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, who became her mentor. His influence continued to get Mokris’ wheels turning about becoming an entrepreneur herself. But then she had to decide what that would look like.
In 2015, Mokris launched Le Coeur, a watch company striving to make beautiful, quality and minimalist timepieces. To raise money, she created a Kickstarter campaign in April 2015, which raised over $10K in just two days. The consistent marketing and social media plan Mokris and her team had worked on throughout 2014 created a buzz and insistency around her watches. Then, seemingly overnight, her hard work had paid off and she had a product people wanted.
As is the case for most entrepreneurs, Mokris’ business idea was born out of an unmet need. She couldn’t find watches she liked, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“Le Coeur was really just a side project for me,” says Mokris. “I started doing watch development and design because I couldn’t find any with clean and minimalist designs. As I began building the brand, I wanted to incorporate things I felt the industry was missing.”
Mokris sites having mentors as one of the most important things you can leverage as an entrepreneur. Now that Le Coeur is her full-time gig, she’s made it a point to remain close with Lemonis and the entire marketing team they worked with.
“It’s incredibly important to have a trusted network you can turn to,” says Mokris. “Even with launching Le Coeur, every single project I think won’t have any flaws always has something unexpected happen that I learn from. I always view things that go wrong as learning experiences. And knowing that I have the support of my mentors makes all the difference.”
Others’ willingness to help anyway that they can—to have all hands on deck when you’re trying to grow something you love—has been incredibly inspiring to Mokris as she gets her business off that ground.
“People are so willing to help you achieve your dreams,” she says.
For other entrepreneurs, especially newer ones, Mokris’ biggest piece of advice is this: “Let the love drive you, and not the money. The money will always come. Working on Le Coeur never feels like work for me. It’s a part of me that I want to be doing at all times. Money is just kind of a pleasant side effect.”
People don’t work 60 to 80 hours a week just to make money, Mokris points out. Something else must drive you.
Photo courtesy Natalie Probst.