It is with such pleasure that I introduce you this new line of colorful, fun and unique watches for your everyday use, designed by Winky Wu, founder of Winky Designs. So I was excited to invite her to answer a few questions and delighted that she accepted graciously to my invitation. She’s been very busy traveling around the world promoting her brand so I was lucky to be able to share Winky’s dreams, inspiration and creations in this exclusive interview. I hope you love her work as much as I do.
Please check out her official website for your favorite color.
RH: Tell me about the design process and when it began? What first inspired you?
W.W: People may not notice this, but the watch market is going through an evolutionary period right now because cell phones have pretty much killed watches in the same way that video killed the radio star! As a watch designer though, I saw a great opportunity here to redefine what watches mean to the modern consumer. It’s no longer just a time keeping device, but also a fashion accessory, a conversation starter, and a means of self expression. My motto has always been “It’s not just a watch, it’s an attitude!” – and that’s really the core thinking behind my design process.
I was first inspired to do this when I noticed that the selections of watches in the marketplace were either really expensive brand name designs, or very cheap and tacky watches of poor quality. I saw an opportunity to serve the market in-between, by improving the quality, adding style, and still offering them at reasonable prices. So I launched Winky Designs to share my line of fun and affordable watches with the world!
RH: Which part of the business do you enjoy the most? And the least?
W.W: My business is like my baby, and honestly I enjoy every moment of it because it’s extremely fulfilling to watch it grow. If I had to pinpoint one thing though, I would have to say the best part is the flexibility! I can run my business from any location, for example, right now I’m in Munich, Germany where I’ll be staying for a month. Having flexible hours is also great, for example, when I go to sleep at night I never set an alarm to wake up in the morning so the work day only starts I wake up naturally. On the downside, running a business is a lot of hard work and there’s always more to do! I pretty much work from the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep (even on the weekends!).
RH: Is it easy to come up with new designs? What are your inspirations?
W.W: It’s not easy to come up with a new design, but it helps if you have a clear vision. So far, my 3 collections of watches are all inspired by fun foods and cocktail drinks. When you’re wearing a delicious watch like the Mint Choc Chip watch or the Tequila Sunrise watch, it feels like it’s happy hour every hour on your wrist! The themes are great because they really bring out the essence of joy, color and freshness into my products.
RH: What materials do you prefer to work with? What influences your choice of materials? Do you favor one color over another?
W.W: The slap band watches are made out of silicone because the material is durable, comfortable, waterproof, and hypoallergenic which makes it a great “everyday” watch. The bracelet watches are for more classy occasions so they’re mainly made out of leather, but they’re unlike traditional leather watches because they’ve each got their own modern twist to it.The Ice Cream Bracelets features 4 separate leather straps including a braided one which gives the watch a fun and feminine feel. The On the Rocks collection features semi-precious stones weaved into leather straps and are extremely elegant! I love all the colors, but I think I prefer the more unconventional colors because how often can you find a cool mint green colored watch?
RH: What is a typical work day for you?
W.W: Typically, I start my day by checking emails, making calls and corresponding with my customers and wholesalers. Some time is also spent doing research and keeping on top of fashion trends and new watch styles. If I have some new design ideas, I may go out and buy the materials I need and spend the afternoon putting together some samples. At night, most of my time is spent talking to my manufacturers in Asia as we have a 12 hour time difference and they only become available after 9pm. It is a full-day job!
RH: Can you tell me a little about the quality guarantee and warranty for your watches?
W.W: Absolutely! I invest a lot in the quality and every watch I make is equipped with Japanese Quartz movement and are water resistant. The slap band watches are actually water resistant up to 98 feet so that you can swim with them as well! We want people to buy our watches with confidence and we offer a one-year warranty on all our products.
RH: Describe the type of girl or guy (?) you envision wearing your watches? Does gender matter?
W.W: Every watch I design is a watch I would wear myself, so my target customers are generally young women like me who want to express their individual styles in fun and practical ways. I have had men buy the slap watches, but my color selections and styles are more targeted towards women so far (although I do have some ideas for men’s collections in the future!).
RH: What’s the story behind the “On the Rocks” collection?
W.W: This is my favorite collection personally! The accessory trend in 2012 is all about stacking, and precious stones are making a comeback as a popular material in jewelry this year as well. I’ve simply taken it to the next level by making fashionable jewelry that also tells you the time as a bonus!
The “On the Rocks” bracelets are made out of different types of semi-precious stones (onyx, amethyst, pink agate etc) hand-woven through leather straps. I envisioned people wearing these to trendy restaurants and lounges, so my friend Jeanette suggested naming the watches after fun and flirty cocktail drinks. Shortly after, “On the Rocks” came to me randomly one day, and the play on words just tied the whole collection together perfectly. The theme also lends itself to cool slogans like “It’s Happy Hour, Every Hour!” or “These watches will make your wrist drunk with style!”. It’s been really fun coming up with these cheesy but memorable tag lines.
RH: Which five words best describe your brand?
W.W: Fun, modern, colorful, fashionable and affordable
RH: Do your remember your first sale?
W.W: When I first launched my business I was mainly selling to friends, but I do remember my first sale to a complete stranger on my website. I was so excited when I got the order! It’s really fulfilling to know that others enjoy and love the designs as well.
RH: What are your goals with your brand? How do you see yourself progressing?
W.W: So far I’ve been focused on growing Winky Designs in the US market, but the long term goal is to build up an internationally recognized brand. I’ve already started building some traction in Canada, Australia, Mexico, and the Middle East which has been exciting.
Winky Designs has only been selling watches so far but we’ll soon be expanding into other accessories starting with these really awesome Recyclable Plastic Belts. Read on to know more about it!
RH: Is there anything you’d like to share with us about upcoming project(s)?
W.W: We’ve got many exciting things planned for the rest of the year (which is top secret!), but we are proud to announce that our newest collection of Recyclable plastic belts will be debuting this Spring!
These plastic belts come in many vibrant colors and are designed to be one size fits all (you can cut the plastic to make it any length you want). However, they do come in different sizes (Classic cut, Slim Cut and Kids). It’s made completely out of plastic so it’s recyclable, waterproof, hypoallergenic and convenient to travel with (you won’t need to take these off when passing through the metal detectors!) These will be on sale for an affordable price of $25 and come packaged in a cute & clear plastic box which will be perfect for gifting!
PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the designer.