Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A New Brand And A New Voice - A Few Minutes With Susan Galvin

Having lived in Finland for four years, I am always happy to find another Finnish watch maker putting their work out to the world - this way via Australia!  
Courtesy of Galvin Watch Company

And now, a few minutes with Susan Galvin, the woman behind the Galvin Watch Company

James Henderson - How did you get started in watch making?

Susan Galvin - I was 22 years old when I went backpacking around South East Asia and during this trip, I started to think about my future career. I did a one year art course after High School and I really liked designing and making jewellery. My Dad saw an article in the local newspaper about the Finnish School of Watchmaking and he suggested that I should consider becoming a watchmaker. Since I really liked doing things with my hands and I appreciated the complexity of the mechanical watches, I thought I might just give it a try! 

In the watchmaking school you learn how to repair the watches rather than making them. However, during my last year I designed and modified a skeleton watch using the ETA 6497 Calibre. This project was so enjoyable that I thought to myself that one day, I would like to establish my own watch brand. 

James Henderson - Prior to launching Galvin Watch Company, what were you doing?

Susan Galvin - After graduating from the watchmaking school, I was offered a job as a watchmaker with LVMH UK. I worked there for three years and from there I transferred to Sydney. From LVMH I moved to Swatch group and worked as a watchmaker with Omega. In March 2020, whilst on maternity leave I was made redundant. I worked in the field all together for 10 years, before I started my own brand in April 2020.

James Henderson - What took you from Finland to Australia?

Susan Galvin - Ever since travelling as a backpacker, I was dreaming of coming to Australia one day. When I came across the opportunity of transferring to Sydney, Australia from the LVMH UK, it was a no brainer for me! Initially I was offered a job from Hong Kong or Sydney, but I chose Sydney. 

James Henderson - You've now got your first collection (as Galvin Watch Company) under your belt. What has been your best seller?
Courtesy of Galvin Watch Company
Susan Galvin - That must have been the Alku White. It has been the most popular option from the day one! I call it a flagship design of Galvin Watch Company's Alku collection. 

James Henderson - What is your largest market?

Susan Galvin - I was lucky to get a lot of printed press attention in the beginning of my crowdfunding journey. From the publicity I received a lot of interest from Finland and Australia. So I'd say the biggest market audience comes from these two countries. 

James Henderson - I am assuming that the name of this collection - Alku, indicates that this is just the first, and that there's more to come?

Susan Galvin - Absolutely! I am currently finalising the new design, before ordering the samples. I am not sure yet if I should do it via Kickstarter or not - the future will tell. I am currently working on brand awareness. I currently have a relatively small but very loyal customer base who I appreciate immensely. It seems they love my story and background - so I suppose I just need to keep spreading the word.  

James Henderson - What were some of the challenges you encountered getting started?

Susan Galvin - At the beginning of the process I struggled finding a reliable manufacturer with good communication skills. After several weeks of work and research I found the right manufacturer for my business. Good communication skills are so important when concluding the design process and importing products from overseas. 

James Henderson - What was the most surprising thing you (hopefully positive) that you experienced in launching?

Susan Galvin - The support has been just amazing. I received so much heartwarming, positive feedback from all over the world before, during and after my crowdfunding journey. 

James Henderson- How has the reception amongst the watch fans of Australia been to the Alku collection?

Susan Galvin - It's important to have a brand story. My background and knowledge as a watchmaker has definitely helped me become noticed in Australia and elsewhere. It can be challenging to design something unique as there are so many microbrands out there, especially with the Alku design being based on classic vintage dress watch design. I added 3 new colours at the beginning of this year and they new have received a lot of interest, especially the Alku Peach.
Courtesy of Galvin Watch Company

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