*When a young Black man weighs his options then chooses to sell watches as a start-up business, one might think: Watches? When everyone has iPhones and Androids and they all tell time. Watches? Yep, watches! This is the story Nordstrom department stores say deserves to be told. It’s about William Adoasi’s Vitae London watches, the spirit and forces behind those watches, and a journey that winds-up affecting lives in the dark continent — just like he planned.
Founder and CEO of Vitae London, 31-year-old, British-Ghanaian, William Adoasi is celebrating for good reason. His Black owned fashion accessories brand, specializing in high quality watches got an important call. A woman from Nordstom department store; a buyer.
“Funnily enough when she first messaged, I didn’t really believe it. I was like Ok is this really Nordstrom?” Adoasi said. “She saw the work we were doing, and she contacted us to set up a meeting.”
And after a series of meetings, Adoasi new it was true.
That’s why EURweb’s the Voice, Lee Bailey spoke with Adoasi. Bailey wanted to know right off hand: So, what’s so special about these watches?
Why does Vitae London have supporters, like Ava Duvernay, Michelle Williams, and Ebro Darden? And billionaire business mogul Richard Branson who selected Adoasi as a 2016 Virgin Start-up ambassador proving he likes Vitae London too. So, why watches?
“It’s a statement,” Adoasi said. “People buy our watches to make a statement of giving back and making and impact on the world.”
His British accent is hypnotizing, he’s hip and smiles often. He’s also handsome, this writer thinks.
Why watches? Well, the watches are seen as more than high quality and attractive accessories, according supporters.
They’re also a symbol of goodwill and hope reaching far away into another land. A place where families still don’t have access to electricity and children walk several miles to fetch water, attend school and return to their villages to study at night under kerosene filled lanterns.
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“We have a strong brand and a great message,” Adoasi said. “Not only have we created a watch without limits but we’re passionate about removing limits for others [ and our supporters are too.] So, yeah that’s why watches.”
Adoasi continues to paint the picture for Bailey and his story is not only impressive but heartwarming, and serious. For sure, a potentially boring discussion about watches turned into a revelation and a tale about an honorable mission. For each Vitae London purchase a child in Sub-Saharan Africa has received two school uniforms, a pair of shoes, and a bag for school. And with Vitae London’s new initiative children are gifted solar lamps providing a clean source of light. Which means the children don’t have to burn harmful fuels.
So, by wearing Vitae London’s Nordstrom quality watches purchasers align with Adoasi and show their support for Sub-Saharan children and Vitae London’s philanthropy. Vitae London stands by its no limits-motto and works to help others feel limitless too.
Adoasi’s tale is brought to life in the voice of a young girl who benefits from Vitae London’s mission.
As for Nordstrom:
“They ended up taking us onboard last November,” he said. “I’ve come [back to America] to celebrate Vitae London watches being stocked in Nordstrom.”
Vitae London is releasing a new watch in July, the Elmington Chocolate watch, exclusive to Nordstrom and available during the Nordstom Anniversary Sale. Vitae London watches will be displayed in 30 of Nordstom stores nationwide and on its website too.
Outside of his doors in the projects of a poor town in London, was an under world that Adoasi’s West African parents were shielding him from. His dad a minister and his mom a nurse were diligent making sure he didn’t go down the wrong path. So, they sent Adoasi to boarding school.
“I lived a sheltered life; it taught me a lot,” William Adoasi said.
Adoasi learned valuable lessons including how other cultures operate and how to engage and interact with others.
Spared from the trappings of inner city life and sparked by stories of his African ancestry; a wealthy grand father on one side and a poor uneducated grandfather on the other. Of his business acumen, Adoasi said he drew from two wells (both the heritages of his mom and dad).
“My mom was one of 24 children. My grand dad, on my mom’s side, was a wealthy business man. I realize that’s possibly where I got the [entrepreneurial] trait. I have uncles who have the trait too”
On the other hand Adoasi’s dad whose family was poor, was the first in in generations of family to learn to read and write, finally breaking the cycle of ignorance and poverty.
Adoasi enjoyed the family stories and later visited sub-Saharan Africa where he saw many charities just trying to make a difference. A revelation struck Adoasi. Considering the two sides of his family he saw education and business as a way to change lives. Perhaps he didn’t know it than but he would later combine the two fueling his destiny.
Before Vitae London
Before Vitae London, Adoasi tried college, dropped out, started a sports academy business and dropped it too. He moved to another city and worked as a recruitment consultant while completing a degree part time. Though he earned a decent living he wasn’t happy with his job. He knew something was missing.
“In that role, yeah I was making good money but I guess I realized money alone didn’t give me that level of gratification I was seeking in my life,” Adoasi said. “Tide to that I loved creative pursuits and I loved entrepreneurial pursuits and I wanted to be doing something on that level.”
At 26-years-old, Adoasi thought of the charity workers he saw in Africa, pondered what he’d learned about his family and the promise of education, and then decided he’d use his passion and frustration to make an impact. So, Vitae London was born.
“There is a clear correlation between lack of education and outcomes,’ Adoasi said. “And yeah we just want to stand in the gap. Now I get to do something that I’m passionate about in the area of business. I always loved watches and I always loved creating and I also get to make a difference.”
Vitae London demonstrates success in entrepreneurship, changing fates with education, while reaching forward to inspire others. #Yourwatchtheirfuture.
About Vitae London
Vitae London is a Black-owned fashion accessories brand that specializes in high-quality, stylish and affordable watches. The brand represents Black excellence. On top of producing top-tier timepieces, with each purchase Vitae London support underprivileged school children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
About William Adoasi
William Adoasi is a British-Ghanaian entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, philanthropist and fashion designer who is the founder and CEO of Vitae London. Last year Adoasi was featured as one of Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British Business People To Follow. In addition to Vitae London, William has three other successful business ventures in the media, music and corporate consultancy industries.