When Flex Watches started out as a watch brand with a social purpose in 2010, the company had a clear mission.
"We started with 10 colors, 10 charities, and we donated 10 percent," said Travis Lubinsky, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Flex Watches along with Trevor Jones.
"We wanted to make an impact with something that we felt was cool and affordable," Jones said.
Sales of the $35 interchangeable watches were strong in years one and two, but by 2013, the company suddenly veered from its mission. Caving to requests by large retailers seeking higher-price watches, Flex Watches started selling sports watches gilded in gold and marketing themselves as a hip California lifestyle brand.
But straying from the original brand and messaging nearly destroyed the business, serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis said on the latest episode of CNBC's "The Profit."