Iken Watches Paru Radiaby Jason T. Jaskot
No matter how innovative, no matter how fresh or how well designed, launching a new product is never easy; particularly in the highly competitive fashion world. Jewelry and accessories with interchangeable, customizable parts isn’t a new concept, but it’s an idea Paru Radia thought she could improve on, which lead to the founding of the Iken brand, currently offering watches, soon to be offering sunglasses, and with more items on the way.
The Iken product is simple, fun and perfectly pop culture charged. A completely customizable and interchangeable watch system with bands, bezels, and watch dials in an array of colors allowing the possibility of over 200,000 combinations. To hear Radia tell it, she was shopping in the UK a few years ago when she saw a similar concept but thought it would be better to “change the colors they had, change the style of the dial, change the way it was presented to the customer….give the watches a personality….then I thought ‘if my ideas are that good, perhaps I should just do this myself.’” And that’s exactly what she did; fast forward to the Iken watch, with a total of 5 interchangeable parts and the ability to order each piece in whatever color preference you’d like.
A woman of Indian descent, born in the UK, living and working in New York City, Radia already had a ton of influences to bring to the table, but it was a vacation in Japan that gave her the name of her company. After returning from Japan and “really appreciating the country, the culture….I looked to translate some words that meant something to me, into Japanese: integrity, choice, authenticity, honesty, fun, opinion, expression, freedom. The word that spoke out to me was ‘IKEN.’” Creativity and the ability to express those opinions through your own style is the name of the game, and it’s at a price point that allows everyone to play. As she puts it, “I took a look at the market place and the competition. For high end items you need a lot more start up capital, and you’re competing with companies that can wipe you out easier.”
Iken watches are available at independent stores across the United States, and also at Ikenwatch.com; on the website customers can make their unique style of watch searchable for all their friends. Up next is a line of sunglasses with interchangeable components, and from there as many other “build your own” concepts as are viable. “I see Iken Watches as more than just watches. I see Iken as a lifestyle brand, with more fun and exciting accessories to offer.”
Visit Ikenwatch.com for more information.