Vitae London is an ethical watch brand that offers fashionable watches at affordable prices in order to advance social justice. Vitae London works within several South African provinces where education is free, but much of the youth are unable to take advantage of such learning opportunities due to their lack of access to school equipment, such as uniforms and shoes, which are required to attend school.
Each watch purchased from Vitae London’s classic range of watches supplies a child with two sets of school uniform, a bag and footwear to see them through the year.
#TBB10 caught up with Vitae London’s founder Will Adoasi…
1# Hello Will, thank you for speaking to us, so tell us about Vitae London?
Vitae London is a watch brand, Vitae is Latin for life and our mantra is to be the fashion brand changing lives so with each watch sold we support a child through education for a year in South Africa.
2# What was the inspiration behind the brand and why watches?
The brand was initially inspired by my father’s story. He was the first in my family’s line to learn to read and write so it inspired me to impact more lives and break cycles of poverty. I chose watches because they’ve always been a symbol of wealth so I wanted to disrupt this industry and create a symbol of philanthropy.
3# You’re also a Virgin Start Up alumni – tell us a bit about this, how did you get involved with Virgin and how did you manage to catch the attention of Richard Branson himself?
Out of a few thousand applicants I was chosen to receive funding from Virgin Start Up and they were so impressed by the model that they chose me to be a U.K. Ambassador for entrepreneurship with Richard Branson.
4# With so many watch brands that have such established names, how are you going to ensure Vitae watches stand out?
We stand out because we’re able to produce high quality, elegant watches with a narrative for real tangible change. This has drawn many celebrities to share about our work and given us a unique angle.
5# You’ve already had success with the limited edition Walmer Midnight line. Why have you chosen to go the Indiegogo route with this new line?
I’ve always loved watching the science behind crowdfunding campaigns and seeing it as a great way to introduce the product to new people on a larger scale than just on our website. The team at Indiegogo have been so helpful in assisting us to push this campaign to more people!
6# You’ve also had the attention of celebrities, how important is that celebrity endorsement, and how were you able to get their attention and convince them that they should get behind the brand?
Celebrity endorsement has been amazing as it has given our young brand instant credibility in such a saturated market. We’ve been fortunate to be able to contact these celebrities and tell them about our vision and they’ve genuinely leapt at the chance of helping us change more lives through fashion.
7# You have a philanthropical interest and pledge that sales will go towards providing a child a uniform in South Africa, tell us more about this venture and how and why you decided South Africa would be your focus?
My heart is for the whole of Sub-saharan Africa and the charity we supports vision is to start in South Africa and work their way up through the continent so it’s been such an honour to work with them! Our dream would be to build schools once we’ve grown large enough and impact even more lives in remote areas.
8# Tell us a bit about yourself… have you always been an entrepreneur and what route did you take to develop your skill set? How does someone educate themselves when an entrepreneur… is it Business school, or the school of life?
I feel like deep down I’ve always had the desire to build a little empire of my own and I’ve never been able to shake this feeling. I studied business management at University but I feel like nothing can teach you more than learning on the job, it’s been a baptism of fire but I’ve loved every moment.
9# Your biography says that you’re from Ghana and you are a family, tell us how influential is your heritage and family when it comes to your personal and business life and motivation to keep pushing forward?
My dream is for progress across Ghana and the rest of Africa so it really is embedded in all that I do. My family have always inspired me to see beyond myself and ensure all that I do leaves a legacy.
10# Who do you want to thank for supporting you along this journey?
I want to thank my wife for believing in me from the start and allowing me to pursue this vision. I also want to thank all my friends, family and anyone who has ever contributed towards our success as a business. We would be nothing without the support of others.