Words by Jess Mackay
What is the most addictive part of travelling? Is it seeing a place you have never laid eyes on before, meeting a person who belongs to a foreign country or bringing home a piece of a different culture?
Alex Dask; former model, corporate salesman and the founder of minimalistic timepiece label Wanderlust Watches is bringing the style of travelling, home with us. StartUp Creative caught up with the Sydney-based entrepreneur who is in the middle of designing a brand that can take you from the coast of Santorini to the busy streets of New York in less than a day.
What is the story behind Wanderlust Watches; how did it start? What inspired you?
A few years back I was travelling around New York and Europe modelling and I wanted to create a fashionable watch brand. I had always loved my father's vintage Cartier watches from the 1980s with their simple, yet elegant design [but] I simply didn't have the resources and time then to bring my idea to fruition.
After a few years in a corporate sales role and seeing minimalistic watches becoming more fashionable I decided now was the time to pursue my passion.
What were your first steps in making your business a reality?
The first step was really to find a suitable manufacturing partner as quality is critical to our brand. Once we were comfortable with the quality of our timepieces the rest kind of just fell into place over a relatively short period of time - registering the business, website & logo design etc.
Describe your personal vision for Wanderlust Watches
My personal vision is for Wanderlust Watches to become an accessories brand. I would love to bring out a range of minimalistic wallets, passport holders and lots of other chic travel friendly accessories.
What is it that inspires the signature style behind your designs? Who do you look to for advice or inspiration?
Our signature style would really be classic minimalism. I have done a lot of travelling and through this journey I have seen a lot of different cultures and fashions, from the eclectic vibe in Tokyo to the effortless style in Paris, and I really draw my inspiration from this.
Do you have a background in fashion or design or is watchmaking a newfound passion?
I have done modelling in the past so I have always had an appreciation for the creative process involved in fashion. However, the main reason for starting Wanderlust Watches was that I have always loved watches.
How did you create hype around your launch – how did you get people talking about your brand?
Our launch was less than a month ago but a few months prior to this we were on social media creating hype for our launch. Instagram is an amazing platform and one that fits well with the visual story of our brand. Luckily people liked our product and brand and begun interacting with us and sharing our timepiece photos with their friends.
Did you identify a need for your style of timepieces before you started creating your brand?
We definitely try to identify a need before releasing our timepieces so we are meeting our customer’s expectations. Given our timepieces are unisex I find we attract both men and women with an interest in fashion and travel. It is useful that we, and our close friends, are our target market so we can fairly quickly test new styles.
What has been your biggest learning curve within your career as an entrepreneur or the establishment of your company?
In terms of a mindset I would say the biggest learning curve has been determining where my strengths and weaknesses lie and using this to guide what we do internally versus what is outsourced. From a more technical learning curve there are a lot of techie type skills I have had to quickly bring myself up to speed on, such as; website design & coding.
How do you inject your own personality and style into your designs?
I think my personality comes through the most in our social media design. My photography background allows me to inject a little bit of personality into all of our social media imagery. Based on that one could safely assume I am a watch, travel & animal obsessed coffee junky.
How do you manage the work/life balance? (Having enough time to travel and do the things you love combined with operating your own business…)
I have had the whole 9-5 gig and it just wasn't for me. I definitely still make time to travel - I am actually off to San Francisco and Mexico in a couple of weeks but the laptop, camera and watches will be coming with me.
What is your motivation to continue your work – particularly at the most difficult stages of developing your own business?
I am highly passionate about the Wanderlust Watches brand and in particular seeing us serve as many happy customers as possible. Also, I think a long-term vision of becoming an accessories brand helps keep me focused.
Now that you have established your brand do you have any immediate plans to expand or introduce new lines? What's next for wanderlust Watches?
Yes, we certainly do. In September we will be launching our second range; The New York. We will be giving exclusive access to this range for those who sign up to our VIP list at www.wanderlustwatches.com.au/vip
What is your advice for start-up entrepreneurs; people who have an idea for a business or brand but aren’t sure if they should take the risk and pursue their own career?
I think risk is highly subjective - but I would leave this advice from JFK "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."
Find out more about Wanderlust Watches: