Every season I find myself standing at a jewelry counter coveting a bright candy colored watch, only to walk away with nothing because I couldn't commit to a color. What if I get sick of it? Or it only looks good with a few outfits in my wardrobe? So I was thrilled when I found the Iken Watch, a customizable watch that allows you to mix and match the bezel, band and watch. I picked out a red, white and grey version and was surprised by how much I really liked it.
Of course, the first thing I compared iKen to was Swatch, but there are quite a few differences. The entire look of the watch is different, and you can build them from scratch with five interchangeable parts (Swatch has fewer parts). No tools are needed to switch the watch parts, and it takes less than 15 seconds. Another bonus, it’s much more reasonably priced at about $35 per watch.
The creator of Iken Watches, Paru Radia, was born and raised in London, England, and moved to the U.S. in 2007 where she began creating Iken Watches. Her watches have been worn by countless celebrities, comedians and athletes. How does one go about creating their own watch collection? Radia took a moment to give us a few tips.
Fashionista: Where did you get the idea?
Paru Radia: I saw something similar when traveling in the UK and bought one for myself. When I came back, I kept looking at it and thinking, “If the design was changed a little, and the quality was improved, and the style, and the colors, and then [the watch was] offered as a ‘build-your-own’ concept, rather than making me buy what you think I should buy… It would be an awesome product!' Then I thought, why don't I make this happen? And here I am.
F: How often do you come out with new colors?
PR: We launched with 10 colors and soon saw a demand for maroon and for yellow, so we introduced those two last fall, taking us up to 12 colors in each component. After that, rather than a new color in all the components, we decided to add a bling bezel a few months ago. In June, we are launching a watch dial with a cross, for our spiritual fans. So…. I’d say every four or five months there is a new addition of some sort.
F: What is your favorite color combination?
PR: Light blue watch face, bling bezel, everything else white.
F: Are you coming out with any other styles in the future?
PR: We are super excited to be coming out with a brand new line of products: a build-your-own sunglasses system. We’ve just launched an Indiegogo campaign and if all goes well we will be ready to launch our iKen Shades this fall.
Fashionista: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
PR: It’s not just about designing. It’s about getting your product in to the hands of consumers. Don’t think you can wing it - be prepared for lots of hard work, longs nights and stress. If you have access to a bottomless pit of money, that helps. Also, keep hold of your friends. The acquaintances will disappear, but your good friends - be good to them. They are the ones that will stand by you and help you and be there to give you some sort of normality when you’re about to go crazy!
Fashionista: What is one of the biggest struggles you overcame to create your brand?
PR: Exposure. Making people aware of it’s existence. What iKen is, what it does, what it stands for. We’re still working at it.
Check out Milwaukee Magazine's interactive feature on women's watches here.
Photo courtesy of Iken.