‘Sustainability is part of our fabric’: how an entrepreneur overcame adversities to build a successful business

“What do you think when you see a luxury wristwatch? They’ve long been masculine symbols of affluence; at the most lucrative end of the market they are appreciating assets that communicate to the world how much money you can afford to invest in a small, precious item.

But when entrepreneur William Adoasi launched Vitae London in January 2016, he sought to invert the relationship between watches and ostentatious displays of wealth by championing a social justice-led approach, from ethical manufacturing to community investment. ‘We’ve tried to disrupt the watch industry and create a statement piece that shows the world how much you can give back.’

For every watch a customer purchases from Vitae London, two sets of school uniforms are donated to a child in sub-Saharan Africa — without this uniform, the child would be turned away from school. Through social strategies such as this, Adoasi makes clear that his enterprise’s purpose is driven by a duty towards black communities, both the diasporas and those on the African continent.

This is the first of the three principles that define Vitae London — purpose, product and people. Purpose underpins everything, then comes product: ‘Our products stand out because of the innovative designs that we regularly bring out. One of our watch ranges is designed to be fully interchangeable. So you can remove the bezel and strap, and one day your watch could be gold, the next day it could be rose gold, the next day it could be silver.’ The third principle is people: ‘We’re trying to bring the community in on the journey — we allow the community to be able to buy shares in our company. We’ve had more than 600 people actually own and partake in the brand.’

Adoasi’s focus on community and the African diaspora is something he is unapologetic about. ‘Being a diasporan myself of Ghanaian heritage, I feel that having a brand that links the homeland to the west and to diasporans is one of our strongest niches, and I don’t really shy away from that. I’m proud that we are a brand started by the diaspora, and that the diaspora will resonate very well with it.’ But Adoasi’s African focus doesn’t impact on Vitae London’s appeal to other global communities. ‘We’ve seen purchases from all walks of life, we’re a brand that reaches all types of people,’ he says.”

View the whole story here: https://www.theguardian.com/empowering-business/2020/oct/31/sustainability-is-part-of-our-fabric-how-a-black-entrepreneur-overcame-adversities-to-build-a-successful-business

Originally published at https://www.focusonthegoodnews.com on November 12, 2020.

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