Charitable fashion has become pervasive in the last few years, but could the next big trend be something many students barely wear—a watch?
1:Face Watch, a relatively unknown phenomenon, allows people to help solve some of the world’s most difficult issues all by the color of a wristwatch. Profits from each watch support different charities based on their color.
According to their website, watches cost $40 and the consumer gets to choose which cause to support. Every watch has a square mirror-like display that shows the time when a button on the side is pressed.
The company hopes to one day grace the arms of millions of people just like Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong bracelets or enter in the charitable realm of Blake Mycoskie’s Toms. Unfortunately, 1:Face watch has not reached that level of popularity just yet.
The only ways to purchase a watch is through the official website or in participating Journey’s stores. There is no way a person could tell if this brand is genuine or not as not many of the charities seem to voice their support for it or publicize a partnership. In other words, there is no way a consumer can make sure that the watches are in authentic partnerships with these various charities – the money could be going anywhere.
Faraz ‘Fam’ Mirza, the man behind 1:Face, is trying to use a specific brand strategy to accommodate those who are less fortunate. According to his Twitter bio, Mirza is known for his idea branding, establishing trends and working with celebrities like P. Diddy.
Mirza hopes to successfully commercialize 1:Face Watch like the other projects he has worked on. Despite Mirza’s expertise, 1:Face has simply not grown to the caliber of his past brands.
Could poor brand reputation be the reason why this company not taken off? Bonnie Knutson, professor at the Eli Broad College of Business and expert on consumer trends, certainly thinks so.
“What guarantee do I have that the money I pay for the pink watch is going to breast cancer?” Knutson said. “I will give money to the Red Cross because they have a history. These folks don’t.”
Knutson also notes of the lack of direction when it comes to marketing the product. Truth of the matter is, not many kids actually wear watches and smartphones have taken over that industry, Knutson said.
Knutson also doesn’t think Journey’s is good place to sell watches, as the demographic that usually shops at the store doesn’t necessarily buy watches.
“Young pre-teens [and] teens, do they have 40 dollars to throw? Are they into charity?” Knutson said. “I don’t think so. So right away, that’s not making any sense to me.”
Despite all this, 1:Face Watch has managed to capture more than 3,000 followers on Twitter and over 100,000 on Instagram. The buzz could be big enough to generate the next Toms-like sensation.
Before this can happen Knutson suggested that they need to get their marketing game up. According to Knutson, the average person in the Lansing, Mich. area gets hit with about 6,000 ads a day.
“In Metropolitan areas like Chicago or New York it is at about 20 to 30,000,” Knutson said. “For you to get noticed, you’ve got to break through that clutter.”
Students seem to have dissenting opinions on the watch. Marketing major Elishia Johnson thinks the watches are cool but weird looking.
“I don’t know, the watch seems pretty one-dimensional and strange,” Johnson said. “I don’t really wear watches, and even if I did, I wouldn’t spend 40 dollars on one”
But public health major Shay Bradford thinks the watches are a great investment.
“The watches are weird looking but that’s what make them unique. I love how each one supports a different cause, what’s not to like?” Bradford said. “I wish more people knew about it.”
In the end, 1:Face Watch purchases will come down to personal preference. For those that are interested in a watch, however, 1:Face gives an opportunity to give back.