Microbrand University
Business Accelerator

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Who should attend MBU?

  • Pre-launch brand owners looking to launch strong.

  • Post-launch brand owners struggling to grow their businesses.

For those in pre-launch, are you concerned that you don’t know what you don’t know, and want to make sure your brand gets off to a strong start? MBU’s workshop will equip you with the knowledge needed to create a sound, workable launch plan for your business.

For those brand owners who are still struggling to grow the business - is your business suffering from surprise design changes, constant production delays, slow sales, and little to no cash flow? Every startup microbrand faces the same obstacles to growth. Microband University’s business accelerator workshop addresses all of the most common challenges facing startup brands.

This will be the second MBU workshop. Attendees help set the agenda, so that we can address those topics which are most important to microbrand owners, and will have the biggest impact on their success.

Marketing team meeting

Get a fresh perspective on how to position your brand for long-term success, and avoid common pitfalls for microbrand startups. 

Improve your concept-to-delivery product development process, to eliminate costly delays and mistakes.

Brand Strategy

Avoid wasting tens of thousands of dollars on ineffective marketing.

Improve the operational efficiency of your business, so that it grows more quickly, and makes more money for you, its owner.

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Meet Our Coaches

World-class experts in Microbrands, Operations, Retail & Marketing

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Chris Vail

Founder, Janis Trading Company (NTH Watches)

As the owner of Janis Trading Company, Chris is the founder of two watch microbrands, Lew & Huey, and NTH. Janis has been profitable since its founding in 2012, and consistently grown at double-digit rates every year, with customers in more than 50 countries, and retail distribution in seven.


A serial entrepreneur and military veteran, with a background in finance, and extensive experience in both retail and wholesale sales at a national and global level, Chris brings a diverse skill set to running his business, a role which requires competency in strategy, finance, operations, sales, and marketing.


John Tooher

Managing Partner, Head Room

John is a seasoned business leader with 17 years’ experience in multinational / operational roles with global companies such as General Electric and 3M, as well as 10 years as President & CEO of a US-based manufacturing business, which he grew from $12M to over $60M by continuously focusing on the long-term vision rather than last months’ results.


In 2014, John co-founded HeadRoom, a strategy-planning and business-acceleration company

based in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He now works with both mature businesses and start-ups, helping them to stay focused on the long-term and prepare for the future by fixing what’s not working now.

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John Keil

CEO, WatchGauge

John is currently the founder and owner of WatchGauge.com and founder of the WatchWithUs Channel. His past roles include Brand Director for Chronoswiss, USA, Store Manager of Maddaloni Jewelers, Contributing Writer to Quill & Pad, and many other consulting positions.


John is a 20 year veteran of the watch industry. Having worked in many roles, from wholesale, media, and over 16 years in retail management, he brings a wealth of knowledge in how to organize your brand for selling and service success.

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Josh Irons

CEO, River Avenue Digital

Josh is CEO of River Avenue Digital, a digital-first full-service marketing agency that engages in digital storytelling to grow small and medium-sized businesses. 


With over 15 years of experience in the digital space, Josh is an expert in strategy development and tactical execution. He honed those skills running large-scale marketing communication projects for the Federal Reserve, aligning sales and marketing at several successful start-ups and as COO of a market-leading digital agency that doubled revenue, increased margin, and twice made the Inc. 5000. 



Fairfield by Marriott Washington, DC/Downtown
500 H Street NW

Washington, DC 20001



One-hour of 1-on-1 Consultation with our marketing and operations experts, Josh Irons and John Tooher


Unlimited access to MBUs private Facebook Group.

Mini Hamburgers

Lunch Included

Chickpea Hummus

Welcome Dinner




Our next location will most likely be in Ireland. Please sign up for our newsletter to learn more.

Castle Wall
Conference Room
Microbrand University
Microbrand University
Microbrand University

Meeting Space

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Agenda for Microbrand U

Pre-Conference Preparations

Prior to arrival, workshop participants will be provided with some information about the industry and market. Participants will be expected to familiarize themselves with this information and come to the workshop prepared to discuss it. Participants will also be asked to complete a short survey regarding the state of their business, and goals for it, and take part in a new model market pricing exercise. 


Workshop Agenda

Because our agenda is set collaboratively, we divide both days into four sessions, each focused on a different subject matter and led by a different member of our coaching team.


Topics covered within each session will generally include the economics of running a microbrand, pricing strategy, product development, marketing, operational efficiency, methods of product distribution and sales, social media, gaining scale, setting business policies, and sourcing vendors.

Day 1


9 am -10: Orientation and Agenda Setting


10 am -11:30: Business Strategy Analysis & Discussion

John Tooher


11:30 am - 1: Fundamentals of Starting & Running a Watch Microbrand, part 1

Chris Vail


1 pm - 2: Working Lunch – follow-up discussion on morning sessions


2 pm - 3:30: Effective Branding, Differentiation, and Marketing, part 1

Josh Irons


3:30 pm - 5: Microbrand Strategy within the Industry, part 1

John Keil


6 pm: Welcome Dinner

Day 2


9 am-10:30: New product development process

John Tooher


10:30 am-12: Fundamentals of Starting & Running a Watch Microbrand, part 2

Chris Vail


12 pm-2: Working Lunch – Q&A on topics covered so far, and specific agenda topics not covered.


2 pm-3:30: Effective Branding, Differentiation, and Marketing, part 2

Josh Irons


3:30 pm-5: Microbrand Strategy within the Industry, part 2

John Keil

Participant satisfaction guaranteed.



Companies with 2 or more registrants - $500 off each additional participant’s registration fee.

Registration fees are for MBU tuition ONLY, and are non-cancelable. Travel and Lodging Costs are NOT included in Registration, and are not refundable by MBU. Satisfaction Guarantee applies only to tuition for those who attend the workshop.

Read some of what past workshop participants have to say about it:

"Great insight from industry insiders. Provided some course changing input that has made me re-think my plan."