I hope you are still on board for a little Christmas cheer and are ready to hear about our next indie business? It is my pleasure to introduce you to the newest kid on the indie christmas giveaway block, Anchor Watches!
Anchor Watches is a brand new business headed up by my friend Clara and I am so excited to be able to host this giveaway with her, to promote this new venture that is taking off in really exciting ways and to give you another GREAT option for that special gift for someone you love that directly supports indie makers here in Northern Ireland.
Let's hear from Clara!
Anchor Watches, you have landed! Tell us who you are, where you are & what you do?
Hello, my name is Clara King & I am from Portadown in Northern Ireland. I am a wife to Mark, mummy to Ella (almost 6), Jonah who is 4 and I have recently launched my own watch brand, Anchor Watches!
SO exciting! Tell us a bit about how Anchor Watches came about?
After graduating from Belfast School of Art & Design in 2006 with a degree in Fine & Applied Art I managed to get a job as a kitchen designer working with Poggenpohl, one of the world's most famous leading kitchen brands. I worked in kitchen design for almost 6 years where I learnt to appreciate the beauty of good design. I fell in love with contemporary, minimal design & began to understand in great detail the phrase 'less is more'
When the kids came along I gave up my career as I wasn't able to offer the same hours of work that I previously could before the kids. When the kids were very young I found my evenings quiet when they went to bed so I decided to teach myself some jewellery making skills & I successfully made & sold my own jewellery.
In September 2012 a friend opened a beautiful shop in Portadown called Bittybutton. She needed somebody to come and work a few days a week who could sew & make jewellery so I landed myself an amazing job with Bittybutton for almost 3 years. This suited me perfectly as the 3 of us who worked there all had young kids & we were flexible around each other. The shop closed in June past & Bittybutton has moved it's business online.
After the shop closed, and with both kids in school, it freed my mornings up. After chatting with Mark, we felt it was maybe time I took the plunge & started my own business. That was when Anchor Watches was birthed!
An amazing journey - what is your favourite part of the business so far?
Anchor Watches LTD was officially launched on the 13th November 2015 after months & months of thinking, planning & designing. If I'm honest, I would say the last few months have been pretty stressful. Not everybody sees the work behind running a business & creating your own brand. It's not as simple as thinking up an idea, designing it, making it & selling it. A lot of hard work goes into starting a business properly.
It is probably only now that things have settled down slightly that I can begin to think of my favourite part. I guess I love the fact that I am doing something I love to do...creating a new brand that's fashionable, classic, yet contemporary & well-made. I also love that I can choose when I want to work - I'm able to bring & pick my kids up from school, help with homework at home & not miss out on family life which is very important to me.
So where do you find inspiration for the watches & how involved are you in the design process?
I have always loved watches & jewellery. I was on the hunt a few years ago for a watch that was simple in design & I noticed that everything was overpriced, very detailed & very decorative. I struggled to find something that could meet my basic needs. That's what Anchor Watches is based around.
I remember sitting doodling in bed one night and the verse 'hope anchors the soul' playing on my mind. I played about with the anchor and that's where my logo & name came from. I knew I needed to create something eye catching and memorable, an important factor in creating a brand.
The watch design process took a while as I wanted to get it exactly right. I never realised the thousands of watch hands that existed until I took an interest in watches!
What are your hopes for the future of Anchor Watches?
It's early days for yet, and I am looking forward to Christmas with family & friends but in the New Year I plan to really push my product & get my brand out there! I already have shops interested in stocking my watches which is so encouraging.
I have booked a stall at the NEC Watch & Jewellery Show in February & am excited to see the outcome of it & hopefully be able to expand my market overseas.
You've worked for an indie business before, what do you think is the best bit about being an locally owned shop here in NI?
I think NI has a lot of talent and when you actually press in & look into the help that is out there for supporting & helping new businesses, the resources are excellent. My local council & local business support centre have been a great support to me already. The support available is incredible if you are open to it. When you get involved & network with other people through business you realise how tiny Northern Ireland really is. You also learn that most people here are so genuinely interested & supportive of local/independent businesses.
As now the proud owner of an independent business yourself, how do you feel about supporting indie businesses on the lead up to Christmas?
As an owner of an independent business I feel it is SO important to support indie businesses at Christmas (and the rest of the year). I think it's easy to promote & talk about local business but actually supporting them financially by buying their products is so important and it builds up the local economy. If we all supported and bought from the usual big/well known names already out there it might get a little safe & boring. Plus buying from indie businesses helps the owners & their families survive.
We are closing in on Christmas - maybe you could share with us one of your best Christmas memories?
My best Christmas memory is probably one from back in my childhood. As a child I always spent Christmas with my mum, dad & two sisters and I remember one year the electricity went off in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner! The remainder of the dinner had to be cooked on the BBQ (I think a camping stove was purchased shortly after this event) and my Mum, as always, still managed to pull off an amazing Christmas feast. We still laugh about it to this day!
I can just picture that! And what are some of your own favourite traditions during the Christmas season?
Christmas for me is usually focused around spending lots of time with family & friends, usually consisting of food, fun, laughing, board games & lots more food!
Sounds about right to me!
Thank you Clara for giving us an insight into the beginnings of Anchor Watches - it is a real joy to watch someone take a leap and do something so professionally and with such style. If you haven't already sent off your Santa letter, now's the time to include one of these beauties on your list - SHOP HERE! Have a look and see what I mean...
Aren't they a beaut?! All named after famous harbours of the world and the very generous Clara has decided to give away the Baltimore Watch in Rose Gold (as shown below) or Silver to one super duper lucky reader!
To win the timelessly awesome Unisex Baltimore Watch, all you have to do is this:
+ Like & Share the image on my facebook page outlining the giveaway! When you have shared it – comment ‘DONE!’ so we know!
+ You can share it as many times as you want between now and the close of the giveaway at MIDNIGHT, on SUNDAY, December 13th!
+ Winner will be announced on Monday, December 14th. Open WORLDWIDE!