Darnel Greenidge (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
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The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘monumental’ as epic, huge, massive or enormous. That’s exactly the type of impact Darnel Greenidge is looking to make with his new local luxury brand Monumental Watches.
Since launching his brand on August 30, the buzz has been nothing short of huge. Images of the watches have been steadily circulating all over social media and the talk has been on every corner.
“People are amazed that there is a Barbados watch company. But I think because of the economic times people are a little reluctant to purchase but they like the idea and they are proud,” Darnel said.
But who exactly is Darnel and where did the idea to sell watches, of all things, come from?
Darnel, a junior accountant by day, said he came up with the idea after realising he really couldn’t afford ‘one of those fancy watches.’
“I love watches, I’m a watch enthusiast. I wanted to purchase a watch because I passed my taxation exam; previously, I failed it, so it was like a triumph for me. In looking for watches, I realized they were $1000 and above, so that became a problem because I’m not wealthy by any means. So I realised that if I could solve this problem myself I could help people who were having a similar problem as me.
So I went about trying to design my own watch and hoping that other people would like it too” he explained.
During the lunchtime interview, Darnel revealed, however, that his love for watches was not fly by night.
“I always loved watches. When I was in school, I used to sell rubber watches, it was fashionable. The straps and faces were interchangeable and were quite popular,” the former Harrison College student said with a chuckle.
To be sure that he was making something that people loved and would sell, Darnel said he got feedback from his friends and even strangers before he went ahead.
“I went around giving out questionnaires, doing some market research and I had some of my designs on the back page asking people what they preferred and so on. I asked my friends for their input as well,” he said.
So with the idea in mind, and a good understanding of what the public wanted to see, Darnel then put pen to paper and went in search of manufacturers to produce his masterpieces. And that he did.
Darnel said when he saw the watch for the first time; he knew it was going to be something special.
“I could not believe that something I envisioned for so long had actually come to fruition. It was an amazing feeling,” he said.
The first sets of watches were themed ‘Icon’ and all carry something that would make any Barbadian proud to own a piece.
The designer also assured all that the watches were of superior quality.
“Our Monumental Watches are top quality. The first one is called the Icon. It is made of stainless steel L316 grade. Premium leather with a hardened mineral crystal. It’s a crystal that’s basically scratch– resistant. The batteries should last around three years.”
“All of the Icon collections carry the Broken Trident engraved on the inside. That was a decision made because if it’s Barbadian, then Barbadians should have something to resonate with,” he added.
The first batch of watches weren’t for females but Darnel promised that he was cooking up something special for women, which would be launched in December.
Since then, the 24-year-old, who is a former junior Barbados cricketer and a current member of the St Catherine’s Cricket club, said things were going well and he couldn’t be more proud of himself.
“I’m very proud of myself as well. I never knew I would be here in 2018 but it is nice to create something and have other people like it too, and want to share in it. Sales have been slow but I believe it will pick up between this month and next month as its coming on to Christmas time,” he said.
Darnel, who holds a degree in accounting and finance from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus, said it’s his dream to have his watches in jewellery stores across Barbados and was currently working at making that dream a reality.
And as for expanding the business, the young entrepreneur said that too, was in the works.
“We are still working out the logistics of getting our watches in major stores. With regard to other products, if value can be had elsewhere in fashion we would do it. It’s just to find the quality product and once we find that then we would do it,” he added.
The entrepreneurial spirit he possesses was with him from birth, so Darnel said he knows that Monumental Watches will only get bigger and better.
“Growing up, I always loved entrepreneurship. This is my eighth business. My parents are also entrepreneurs. So that’s kind of where I got the ideas from. I also sold memory cards, protein powder. Cricket bats. I used to sell sweets at HC. I really always had a passion for entrepreneurship; I even joined with different students from different schools selling the same sweet. So, for my current brand, I would like to produce many different forms of fashion pieces as we go on but one step at a time,” he said.
And as a current cricketer with a great love for the game, Darnel said he still has not given up on his dream to play for the West Indies.
“I am still trying to make the West Indies team but I’ve realized that it demands more of me than I was putting out before so I’m currently putting out more effort,” he said.
And balancing cricket, his day job and his brand, Darnel said it was hard but called it a labour of love.
“Balancing the two has been difficult. But I’m trying hard. It’s a lot of sleepless nights but that’s what it’s about, sacrifice. I enjoy it though. I have a passion for entrepreneurship so I’m just trying to do the best I can for now,” he said. (DB)