By the LFW team
The Managing Founder of Millennial Watches says the time was right to open his own business. Riley Tanton looked for more than six months for a good looking and affordable watch that didn’t weigh a tonne. When he couldn’t find one he liked, he filled the gap by designing and manufacturing his own. But here’s the catch. Riley is just 17 years of age. Yup. Just 17.
It’s fair to say that Riley isn’t new to business. He became an entrepreneur in Grade 6, selling drinks out of his locker at school. “I’ve always had a passion for business and want to stay in business,” says Riley. “I’m thinking of property development, but for now it’s Millennial Watches which I produce believing that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
If you’re looking for a great watch for yourself, or a fab Christmas present for someone special, simply head to Riley’s website and order online. Sure, sure, you can check the time on your phone or tablet or whatever device you have on hand, but a stylish watch is always going to be a fashion statement. As further inspiration, Riley donates $3.50 from every online sale (watches are $59.70) to The Garvan Institute for Medical Research.
Riley launched Millennial Watches with six styles, including the Alpine, with a snow-white leather strap and case, and Sunrise, with white strap and rose gold case is very pretty. The Australis, with its tan strap and gold case is très chic. The Midnight—black on black—is super slick and Riley says the Maple with a tan strap and silver case is super popular. Other styles are also available.
Riley’s days are incredibly busy. He’s on the lake at the crack of dawn with his rowing club mates. Then it’s off to a day of studying at Canberra Grammar, and then working on his business. The first batch of watches is due to arrive this week so Riley will soon be ‘head down, bum up’ shipping orders.
Quality was the name of the game when designing and manufacturing the watches. Each includes a powerful and reliable Japanese movement, and the watches are water proof, with long-lasting batteries and high-grade leather straps. Each watch comes in a box, carefully wrapped around a pillow square for protection.
It’s no mean feat to start your own business, and it’s never without challenges. For Riley, major challenges included raising funds—he did so through crowd funding—and finding a reputable manufacturer overseas, which he did so through a global trade website connecting buyers and suppliers. After much research, Riley settled on a manufacturer in Shenzhen, China. He worked with the manufacturer to refine and test samples and then more samples, until together they perfected an elegant design that looks stylish on fashion conscious men and women.
Riley was chuffed that one of his watches was worn to FASHFEST by Chief Executive Officer Clint Hutchinson. Clint, himself a Grammar Boy, was invited to the school to talk to students about entrepreneurship, focusing on his own business endeavours. He told the students to grab every opportunity, which Riley promptly did. After the talk, Riley approached Clint and asked if he would wear a watch to FASHFEST—he did.
If all goes well with this run of watches, Riley will look to introduce a seventh style, called the Royal. And Royal it will be. Blue strap, blue face and rose gold case. Very nice indeed.