Entrepreneur: Nico Leonard

Tilt: Hot takes on luxury watches (and the celebrities who wear them)

Scene: YouTube (1.36M), Instagram (132K), Twitter (11.5K), God Tier merch, Pride and Pinion store

Snack Bites: 

  • Nico created YouTube videos to save his pandemic-closed luxury watch store. He ended up with two enterprises – the retail outlet and a content business.
  • Talking about watches could be boring to many except the most fanatic, but Nico’s vivacious reactions and hilarious takes on fakes and more are fun even for those not interested in timepieces.
  • Though he started the YouTube channel under his retail business name, he soon learned his personal brand was the star and switched the name.

Why We Stan: Nico has an extremely niche tilt (luxury watches) that he elevates to a broader audience through his content delivery. He also is authentic, even turning down huge deals (FTX anyone?) when they didn’t feel right.

The Story of Nico Leonard

Nico Leonard dreamed of opening a watch store. After taking out a loan for £20K (about US$24.8K), he bought some high-end watches and turned his car’s trunk into a store. To grow his reach, Nico talked about watches on Instagram, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Eventually, he partnered The Merchant Store (a boutique hotel) and opened a traditional store called Pride and Pinion in Belfast, Ireland. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, in-store shopping ceased. Nico tells Tubefilter he saw his dream become a possible nightmare, expecting to lose all the savings and loan money he invested in the watch business.

But he dove deeper into creating content around his professional expertise. “Little (did) we know … is that, that one idea I didn’t believe in turned out to be the idea to take me and my company. That’s bizarre,” Nico says in the Tubefilter interview.

Content helped @NicoLeonardvdh save his high-end watch store and became his second full-time business. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Now, he operates a full-time content business and the retail store it saved.

Attracting audiences to a watch channel

Today, Nico boasts over 1.3M subscribers on YouTube who come for his takes on watches. To the uninitiated, talking about watches could sound like a boring content tilt. But what hooks (and grew) his audience are his hot takes – and often roasts – of expensive watches owned by celebrities, such as Floyd Merriweather  (Nico says it’s really a collection of diamonds, not a collection of watches), Post Malone’s $1M watch, and Ed Sheeran’s $6M timepiece.

In this video, he doesn’t mince words (or forgo salty language) in revealing what someone’s watch says about them:

While Nico invested a lot into his retail watch store, he didn’t have a big budget when he launched what would become his content business. His studio videos are simply produced with him talking from behind a table with a computer and a gray backdrop. Images and videos from other socially shared content about the celebrities, their watches, etc., are mixed with his reactions. 

But Nico doesn’t do it alone. He tells Tubefilter he works with a creative and production team. First, they write up every idea and figure out 10 titles for each. Then, the team, which has complete creative freedom, works on the presentation. 

@NicoLeonardvdh and his team come up with 10 titles for each @YouTube video idea. #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

What’s in a name?

As Nico’s personal brand took off, they consciously chose to change the YouTube channel name from the store brand Pride and Pinion to his name. “Personally, being able to add value, speaking with brands, being honest, and just saying no to things you’re or don’t believe in – that brought us really where we are now. It’s authenticity. It’s being real,” he tells Tubefilter.

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About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.