Q&A with Sally Lim, the Australian Co-Founder Behind 2°EAST Sustainable Watches

Q&A with Sally Lim, the Australian Co-Founder Behind 2°EAST Sustainable Watches

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As a relative newcomer on the watch scene, 2°EAST was born out of Sally Lim’s need to switch a damaged watch with an eco-friendly model. After looking for a responsibly-made watch with little success, an opportunity encounter with a like-minded producer at a watch truthful led Sally to co-found moral watch model 2°EAST. We interviewed the Hong Kong primarily based Australian co-founder to be taught extra about her lean start-up, the sustainable life-style manufacturers she swears by and why phrases that start with “they need to” makes her wince.

EWP: Why did you determine to begin what you are promoting? 

Sally Lim: I’ve at all times had some marketing strategy or different effervescent away, and have began a number of others with various ranges of success.  

I moved from Australia to Hong Kong about eight years in the past, and found the town’s famed entrepreneurial spirit.  The easy accessibility to China, and common commerce exhibits for each conceivable product class make researching concepts and suppliers easy and cheap. We might meet dozens of suppliers in a day at a commerce truthful and go to three or 4 factories in a day (in these joyous, harmless instances pre-covid).

As is the story for a lot of feminine founders, this enterprise grew to become a severe choice for me after my daughter was born. I used to work in pharmaceutical growth challenge administration, which I cherished, however the work was intense and hours lengthy. It didn’t depart quite a lot of time for a lot else. 

2°EAST co-founder Sally Lim with husband Glenn and daughter Evie. Image provided.

In addition to its entrepreneurial spirit, Hong Kong is thought to be a paradise for watch fanatics. My husband began going to the annual watch festivals and in doing so, sowed the seeds of two°EAST. 

The quantity of watch manufacturers and kinds and manufactures was staggering, however there was an actual lack of concentrate on moral and sustainable manufacturing.  

I had been trying to change my just lately damaged watch and regardless of being utterly surrounded by fairly priced choices, they have been all full of plastic and foam lined packing containers, or had polyester straps and plastic spacers inside their dials.

We met my present enterprise associate, Ron, by these festivals and he recommended we go into enterprise collectively. He has been within the watch enterprise for years, and owns a manufacturing facility a brief practice trip away. Ron was glad to take up the problem of creating a watch that met my lengthy checklist of eco-requirements, so after an eventful few years, right here we’re.

EWP: Highlights of operating what you are promoting? 

SL: The folks I’ve linked with within the sustainability group have been the spotlight up to now.  It is straightforward to turn into overwhelmed with the environmental disasters we face, however then I’ll meet the folks preventing for change, creating new applied sciences, and making a distinction for all of our futures and my temper is immediately lifted.  I completely have extra hope for our future than I did once I first set out on this challenge.

EWP: What do you discover probably the most troublesome about operating what you are promoting?

SL: There have been quite a lot of challenges in sourcing the supplies we needed, in generally comical language difficulties, and in coping with covid shutdowns of suppliers, however these have been all manageable.  What I didn’t count on was how troublesome it will be working alone. I by no means realised how a lot I relied on my previous colleagues and crew mates to bounce concepts and speak by selections. There’s additionally much more alternative for self doubt to creep in with out pep talks within the lunchroom.  

Self doubt is by far the most important problem, it’s extremely onerous to rejoice your personal achievements, it goes in opposition to all our cultural and gender modesty norms. I’m onerous wired to speak myself down, so selling the enterprise I constructed is way more durable than I ever anticipated.

EWP: What makes your watch model completely different?

SL: I take advantage of the slogan “watches that don’t value the earth” as a result of it properly summarises the very fact we make sustainable watches at a really affordable worth. It’s a easy assertion however there’s a lot that goes into doing that. I designed 2°EAST to be sustainable and moral from day one. We select probably the most sustainable, highest high quality supplies out there, and work solely with suppliers that use the very best – eco pleasant and moral – practices.     

I personally actually love the distinction altering the straps makes to the look of the watch.  There are some weblog posts on our web site giving the background on among the illustrators who designed the patterns on the recycled NATO straps and their inspiration, which makes all of them the extra particular.

EWP: Your favorite sustainable life-style manufacturers?

SL: There is a superb scene of actually cool sustainable manufacturers native to me right here in Hong Kong. My favorite being Retykle.com, a Hong Kong primarily based resale platform for childrens put on.  I promote my daughters garments and toys on the platform and use the credit to purchase new (to us) garments that I’ll later ship again once more. It can be a recreation changer.

For years, one in all my buddies in Melbourne has been attempting to persuade me to change to interval pants. I belatedly switched final 12 months and now am an everyday over-sharer of all issues period-pant associated to anybody that has the misfortune of one way or the other broaching the subject in my neighborhood. Because I didn’t hear once I was in Melbourne and haven’t been capable of journey dwelling for therefore lengthy to take a look at the various manufacturers out there there, I’ve solely tried Thinx. I up to now solely have optimistic issues to say about them.

Stasher silicone baggage are additionally in my prime three. Storing children snacks, my snacks, my headphones, protecting my e-reader dry close to the pool, stashing away the pastries we couldn’t end from the breakfast buffet… MAKING POPCORN. How did I ever cope with out these?

EWP: How do you unwind after a giant work day?

SL: Once my daughter is dwelling from college, her power fills the entire residence and no extra work is getting executed.  She is a superb distraction from something I could in any other case have been worrying about. Until she sleeps, the remainder of the day can be spent pretending to be a bear or a walrus or one thing related.

I learn at each potential alternative, am hooked on fixing codewords puzzles and just lately taught myself to unravel a rubik’s dice (for the primary time at 40-something).

EWP: Best enterprise praise you’ve ever obtained?

SL: “I am keen on what you are promoting and the mission behind it. Proof that sustainability may be attractive AF.” From an illustrator and environmentalist that I *LOVE*.

EWP: Influencers/books/movies which have influenced your sustainability pondering?

SL: I keep in mind being actually affected by “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan once I learn it on what was in any other case a calming vacation in 2008. I don’t keep in mind if I had been notably environmentally conscious previous to that, however that was a significant turning level for me.

Not lengthy after that I purchased a duplicate of “Food, Inc.” on DVD and after watching that, drastically modified my consuming habits and for fairly a while prevented any extra environmental catastrophe associated motion pictures.  

More just lately I’ve actually loved the whole lot about Marieke Eyskoot’s e book “This Is A Good Guide”, as a result of it actually, actually is. It covers a lot about residing consciously and sustainably. She can be nice to observe on social media. She has put into phrases together with her #sustainabilityagainstshame motion quite a lot of issues I used to be seeing and feeling however not but actually understanding. (Also I really like her morning stroll tales on instagram as a result of Amsterdam mornings look unimaginable).

The True Cost documentary was most likely my first actual introduction into what an entire catastrophe the quick vogue trade is. A superb observe as much as that is the (free) course “Fashion’s Future: The Sustainable Development Goals” on futurelearn.com. 

My most up-to-date buy is the brand new e book from (fellow Aussie) Emily Ehlers, “Hope is a Verb”.  It is gorgeous and humorous and useful and optimistic and mainly the whole lot we’d like. She’s superior.

EWP: What are some issues that you simply’d like clients to know that you simply hardly ever talk on social media?

SL: Because of our extremely lean enterprise mannequin (i.e the enterprise aspect of issues is usually a one lady present run out of my dwelling workplace), and the very fact we promote instantly from the producer to the patron, our overheads, and due to this fact markups, are very, very low.

Comparing our specs in opposition to related widespread watches, I don’t know of every other model that’s extra clear, or cheaper, or has higher high quality for a worth anyplace within the ballpark of the place we’re.

EWP: Quotes you reside by.

SL: I’ve at all times been bothered by the tendency folks should say issues like “they need to actually…” or “I want they might…” There could be very hardly ever a “they” in query. Who is that this mysterious “they”? It’s a simple method to distance your self from a difficulty in case you imagine there’s an all highly effective “they” that may repair it. There typically isn’t.  

Emily Ehlers mentioned this significantly better in her e book: “If you’ve ever thought, ‘wow, somebody ought to actually do one thing about that’.  Remember: You’re somebody.

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