I haven’t written in who knows how long and it’s all RUBR’s fault. Two years ago today I sat feverishly brainstorming for a catchy product name. I had just received a test sample batch of 200 watches and now it was “time”(pun FULLY intended) to figure out what to call them. That day, May 15 2011, the name “RUBR” was born. From that point forward I’ve been on the craziest and most wonderful journey that was never a part of the life plan I had so carefully mapped out for myself.
Years before, I had a very clear picture as to what I would do with my life. I had fully intended on becoming a lawyer in high school. When I got to college I worked in the mortgage industry for a year and then realized I wanted to be in the business world; at that point I became a marketing major. Quite unexpectedly I switched to accounting with a fair amount of persuasion from my adorable mom and graduated from college with an accounting degree and an offer from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. I declined the offer to join the firm and instead went to work in our family business which is a mixed accounting and law practice. I knew upon graduating that accounting was not for me but I knew I enjoyed working with my dad so it was the best option at the time.
At this point in life I was feeling pretty frustrated with the fact that I was not working at my dream job or doing anything remotely in line with what I had imagined for myself. I discovered how coaching could help me redefine what I wanted to do with my life and ultimately ended up getting licensed as a coach to help college kids better understand where their fit was in the job world or just get organized on a general level. So I worked in that for a little over a year where I started this blog- PositivB- which I loved writing but completely neglected once RUBR came along.
I truthfully never imaged RUBR would become something. When I took in the test import it wasn’t such an expensive investment and I had honestly planned to sell the batch and then use the profits to go on an extravagant trip or buy myself an expensive bag ( yes I just admitted that). However after I sold off the batch I didn’t want to just blow the money, I wanted to really make a go of RUBR- again I never thought that would be the case. I was walking around selling the watches out of my bag like an unassuming peddler at restaurants, bars and nightclubs. My friends were my models and sales reps. My friend Allie would wear two watches on one arm to attract attention in the city. My friend Arielle along with her mom and grandmother would bring over customers to my table at different shopping events I participated in. Michele and Tiffani sold a ton of watches throughout the Forest Hills Schools. Erin, though in DC, made sure to spread the word about RUBR and wrote so many encouraging facebook posts that directed people to my website. I’ll never forget one night when I had decided to wear one of my old favorite watches to Abe and Arthur and not a RUBR (which I wore pretty religiously). I was given the third degree by a guy I was talking to for not wearing one of my own watches. Thank goodness my friend Lin was wearing a RUBR as she so faithfully does- and once he saw it on her wrist I made a few sales to him in the bar that night. My mom stopped wearing all her watches and put on mine where she proceeded to sell a watch to almost every employee in Saks where she went to lunch. My sister Allison along with a family friend, Alicia, both worked at NBC and organized an informal watch party during working hours in their office. My other sister Lindsey gave up many of her summer weekends to sit in 90+ degree weather in NYC working flea markets with me. Finally, my father, truly practical and perhaps the toughest party to convince of this new project, was fairly skeptical for sometime until we were sitting at a restaurant where I strategically put on an orange watch and proceeded to tell him that by the end of dinner I would have sold the woman at the table next to us one of my watches; about 20 minutes later she asked me about the watch and ended up buying 3 from me which of course I had in my usual luggage size handbag. From that point forward he always nudged his clients to take a look at my watches after their business meetings; my watches are warehoused in his office so clients can now both receive financial, legal and fashion services. I couldn’t have asked for more supportive family or friends in this venture and it has made all the difference for RUBR’s success.
From flea markets (which I still go to on occasion because it’s the best way to test run a new product) I built an e-commerce site and started to think larger. I hired an incredible PR firm- Blink PR which placed the watches in fantastic publications, my favorite of which was Vogue in April 2012 with their 100 best summer accessories for under 100 dollars. I thought that would be the pinnacle of excitement until this March where the watches appeared on a Jill Martin segment on the Today show. I’ve been able to work in so many sectors of the market from my own e-commerce site to flash sale sites to retail stores to fundraisers. I’ve learned a tremendous amount of about business and how critical customer service is to the success of a business. I am glued to my phone all the times because I handle 99.99 percent of customer interactions and usually respond to customer emails within 15 minutes and at the most 24 hours. I have some really great insights on the power of prompt replies but I’ll save that for another blog. The point here is that I do pretty much everything for RUBR; at the end of the day I have a real issue letting go and assigning tasks to other people. As crazy as it sounds I’d rather stay up till 4am doing watch work than assigning it to someone else because I want everything to be as perfect as possible- this is my baby (for now). I’m working on giving responsibility away- but again I’ll save that for another blog post.
The point is that all the planning I did when I was younger was really for nothing and I couldn’t be happier about that. Strange enough, when I was about 10 I had visited a client with my dad who was in the plastics industry. His office had so many fun gadgets I just loved it there. For a while after that I went around telling people that I was going to work in the plastics industry when I grew up. Did I purposefully plan to use silicone as the material for my watches? No- but it does make for a cute coincidence. My newest venture with the watches is in the events industry where I’ve revamped my original 2 interchangeable watches into a bar/bat mitzvah activity (BUILD – A – WATCH). I never thought that I’d be hanging out at bar and bat mitzvahs this spring helping guests create custom watches but that’s really the crux of it all- I never knew and I can’t plan on knowing anything that will happen in the future. The only thing I can hold myself to at this point is being on time.