The Profit

This hip watch company lost its way when one of its founders lost his mother

When Trevor Jones' mother passed away from breast cancer, he lost more than just a parent -- he lost the key figure behind Flex Watches, his charity-based business. The stylish wristwatch company, which he'd co-founded with childhood friend Travis Lubinsky, was created with her as its charitable muse and carried a suitable mission: 10 distinct watch styles with 10 percent of proceeds donated to 10 charities.

But after her passing, Jones found it hard to continue telling his mother's story and largely abandoned the brand identity that had brought Flex success. Without that guiding light, Flex became unfocused and began to spiral into an unremarkable, me-too luxury watch brand. Sales soon drastically dropped. But a visit from The Profit's Marcus Lemonis was all it took to get this charitable company back to its roots and back in the black.

In 2016, when Marcus first arrived at Flex, he was puzzled by the absence of the colorful watches and charities that had initially attracted him to the business. It soon became clear to him that Trevor, unable to cope with his Mother's death, had steered Flex away from its successful branding model. He also isolated another major flaw in the business: Travis, with his eye fixed on cutting costs, often rushed out unfinished and cheaply made products.

To get Flex back on track, Marcus had to do more than just "rebuild the brand using social media, using packaging [and] product development." He also needed to help heal Trevor's emotional wounds. And that he did in a touching heart to heart that convinced the young founder to reignite his passion for charity and embrace his mother's legacy.

As a result, the '10 colors, 10 charities, 10% donation' model was reinstated. Marcus even overhauled the look of Flex's in-store displays, packaging and watch designs, putting the company back on the path to success.

Today, Flex is flourishing once again with a renewed focus, diverse designs and additional charities onboard. "We're excited to expand on not just our ten causes, but more causes and introduce the cause per month. And get more and more people involved and really make a difference in what we're doing," says Brad.

And, due in no small part to their performance under Marcus' watch, the tiny team of three has now been folded into a new company under his umbrella: ML Creative. The company, which functions as an e-commerce and digital marketing agency, works alongside a portfolio of Lemonis' brands like Inkkas, DiLascia, among others, to help with their campaigns.

"Marcus really recognized our skill sets and our ability to sell product online and create cohesive campaigns from the top of the funnel to the remarketing to the conversion," says Travis of the Flex team's new agency life.

Thanks to Marcus' talent for spotting creativity and passion for backing businesses with a cause, Flex continues to expand, giving the company ample time to carry out its charitable mission.