Backed by Sir Richard Branson and boasting Prince Charles as a fan, ethical watch brand Vitae London combines beautiful, minimalist design with maximal social justice.
Angela Sara West chats with Will Adoasi, founder of the highly-successful company, which is changing the lives of children in Africa by giving them access to education and more through donating its profuse profits.
Not only does Will Adoasi possess one of Sir Richard Branson’s watches, personally handed to him by the world-famous British entrepreneur on buying one of Will’s, but his lucrative brand is helping to transform the lives of children in Africa through purchases of his fashionable, quality watches at affordable prices.
“Purpose is at the core of what we do, and we love that through the sales of our watches, we can constantly and sustainably support children across the continent of Africa with our profits,” he explains.
Will is passionate about creating watches that combine classic and beautiful design with social justice. Subtle, slim and sophisticated, each Vitae London timepiece is imbued with the premise behind their mission. Pairing minimalist concepts with stylish modernity, Vitae watches are elegant timepieces which not only look great but are making a difference in the world.
With the desire to advance social justice within the company’s DNA, all Vitae London watches support children within several Sub-Saharan African provinces. With every watch sold from their new Elmington collection, a child has gifted a solar lamp from the charity Pen to Paper Ghana. “Our latest initiative is providing children in remote villages of Ghana with solar lamps with every watch sold, meaning they don’t have to travel for hours to find a streetlamp or burn kerosene, which is harmful to health and is a cause of house fires.”
The high-end watches are named after the council estate in south London, where Will grew up. His humble beginnings inspired Will to create a company with social change at its heart, and his goal is to help us all ‘live without limits’ – whether we were born in the UK, Africa, or anywhere else in the world. “Above all, I see it as a great responsibility. I’m passionate now, more than ever, to ensure we uphold a strong, rigorous standard across the whole organization and improve over time in the areas that need improving.”
The new range of modular-interchangeable fashion watches is available exclusively through Kickstarter – www.kickstarter.com/projects/vitaelondon/elmington-watch/ – with the delivery of the watches in January 2020. “Our Kickstarter campaign launched on October 1st, and we hit our £20k goal within a week!”
Ensuring their timepieces are of the highest quality, each watch features either a high-quality genuine leather band or a stainless steel band, and is equipped with elegant scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. The watches in the Elmington range come in a choice of four face colors (silver, blue, gunmetal grey, and black), and each watch can be bought with interchangeable straps and bezel (rim) – in a choice of silver, rose gold or gold.
Every watch in the Elmington range is fully modular, interchangeable, and water-resistant. Additional features include sub-dials with stop-watch functionality and sunray dials. “This is a new range of interchangeable watches, meaning you don’t have to purchase multiple watches to create different looks for different occasions,” Will explains. “We love that it also means that if there is ever a defect with a product in the future, we can interchange on singular elements as opposed to the customer having to purchase another watch.”
The ethical brand is backed by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin StartUp, with Sir Richard among the first to buy and wear a Vitae London watch. “Out of 10,000 businesses, I was selected as one of two start-up founders to get one-on-one mentoring with Richard Branson, and he also bought a watch from our collection,” Will explains. “It’s amazing that he understands the vision and has told the world about what we’re building!”
When it was time to tell Vitae London his feedback, Richard said, “What you are doing is great… very simple but effective.” The Virgin tycoon even gave Will his old watch! “I still have his watch to this day,” Will reveals. “ I often wonder what’s the best thing to do with it… or if I should pay it forward to another young entrepreneur.”
Prince Charles has also supported Vitae in Ghana, where Will met HRH The Prince of Wales at a private dinner event. “That was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Exactly 30 years after my father left Ghana, I was back in Ghana at a banquet with Prince Charles. Hearing him speak so highly of the business was amazing and has been a reference point of inspiration during the harder seasons.”
Will was also selected to attend a reception of UK entrepreneurs to meet the Prime Minister at Number 10 in October 2019. “I went to the reception, and they were honoring outstanding young Entrepreneurs for Black History Month. Unfortunately, due to Brexit negotiations, Boris Jonson couldn’t attend, so the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, gave a speech in Boris’s place. It was great to be there and meet so many other driven business owners.”
Other big-name fans of the brand include ITV’s This Morning and Dancing on Ice presenter Phillip Schofield, singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé, rapper/entrepreneur Tinchy Stryder and singer/songwriter/actress, Paloma Faith. As for Will, he’s inspired by another sustainability influencer. “I’m very inspired by Blake Mycoskie of TOMs Shoes. I love the impact they’ve had on the planet, yet their ability to be profitable while doing so, which empowers them to transform even more lives.”
Vitae London is also looking into ways in which they can improve the sustainability of their production for the planet. “One thing we’ve done recently begins the process of phasing out leather from our product range and ensuring all our materials are recyclable.”
What’s next for the Branson-backed brand? “We’re focusing all our attention on the new range. The instant response to this product range and its functionality has been brilliant, and, based on this, we will be expanding the color tones and styles of this range.”
Will’s message to readers on the importance of sustainability? “The key thing I want to get across is that as well as making a difference for the planet and the people of the planet, factoring in sustainability measures makes business sense. Consumers are aware now more than ever, so ensuring you’re keeping up with best practices makes you relevant and keeps you at the front of mind for customers.”
© Angela Sara West 2019 www.angelasarawest.com