How Wallace Hatch Watches Was Born From A Student-Made Co-Op
Upon receiving his first ever paycheck, Ian Hansborough purchased a watch. Now, he might not have to buy his own as the co-owner of Wallace Hatch Watches with co-founder and grade-school friend Greg Miller.
However the entrepreneurial bug hit them much before they landed on watches, as Hansborough and Miller, electrical and chemical engineering majors respectfully at Ohio State started pursuing their ideas by creating an app about ideas called “Hatchli” in the fall of 2016.
“We were working on a project at the time, we had started an app actually,” Hansborough said. “We kind of decided we wanted to take a semester and see what we could do with that.”
After receiving permission from the dean of engineering, Hansborough and Miller started working at a startup accelerator based in Cincinnati called The Brandery, while maintaining enrolled as students with their scholarships on hold until they returned, Hansborough said. From there, the two built out and launched their app, did a co-op through PNG and, in the process, met a wide range of innovators who would contribute to the start of Wallace Hatch watches, Hansborough said.
“We got to be exposed to so many different companies and learned just how to build something from the ground up in so many different worlds,” Hansborough said.
Through exposure to various companies, the two met Zach Blevins, graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and former graphic designer for DSW who joined their team, Hansborough said. Next, Hansborough said a man from Montreal with connections to prominent names in online fashion retail pointed the group to a manufacturer who makes all of the watches for big name companies such as Daniel Wellington.
“He introduced us to this whole new world of how do you actually design a physical product in a fashion/ecommerce space from the ground up and really bring it to market,” Hansborough said. “So we decided on a watch.”
That was about a year ago in March of 2017. Now, Miller said, Wallace Hatch is in the pre-run stage of production with 300 watches in stock, 100 of each of the three styles: Kalio Rose, Soho Hatch and Palermo Soul. From there, Miller said, the group will be working on getting the community involved via email and campaigns to decide where Wallace Hatch goes next.
“We just really want to have a highly engaged community,” Miller said.
The theme of community involvement and engagement is uniform across the Wallace Hatch brand down to the price, style and even the name of each individual watch, Hansborough said.
“All of our watch designs are named after iconic neighborhoods and cities around the world, they all kind of share this unique, chic, adventurous vibe,” Hansborough said.
Hansborough said the three realized that the major pitfall of their competitors were their disconnect with the community by not engaging the public in new designs and using unrealistic, extravagant depictions of what individuals ‘fit their brand’ across their social media.
Blevins said Wallace Hatch can offer the same luxurious quality and look—but at a lower price with a more realistic portrayal of the everyday life of the watch buyer.
“Ours is like it should be, it is something that is very relatable,” Blevins said. “What it showcases is just a couple people going out and grabbing a beer, visiting friends and stuff like that.”
As far as the price point goes, Wallace Hatch watches sell from $140-$180 depending on their model. Competitors that use the same quality parts—sometimes even the same manufacturer—sell for around $225-250, Blevins said.
The reason that the price is so low, Hansborough said, is because the three are communicating directly with the manufacturer in China, sourcing and buying the parts straight from the manufacturer to make the end product. Through much trial and error, the three have learned how to work with the language and time-zone barrier to effectively communicate necessary changes to the manufacturer, Hansborough said.
Now, Hansborough said, they have three models of watches that with metal strong enough to withstand a 9-5 workday, service job, or night out with a battery life of more than 5 years. Miller also said the watches are made to be easily interchangeable with different bands which the group plans to sell separately on their website.
The team is currently working on promoting their brand through Columbus influencers including Columbus Crew player, Alex Crognale, getting feedback from the community and growing from there Hansborough said. Wallace Hatch watches will additionally be offering a Service Industry discount to people who, in their line of work, interact with a lot of people using their hands that will showcase the watch and promote the lifestyle that Wallace Hatch wants to portray Hansborough said.
“What our watches do is connect you to a community of like-minded people who just make the most of that every day adventure and whatever that means to each individual and that’s really the lifestyle, that’s the message,” Hansborough said.
For the month of April, Wallace Hatch will be offering a 20% discount for any OSU students looking to buy a watch if they use the code OSU_SD418. Keep up to date with the newest designs by following their Instagram at wallacehatch or check out their website at wallacehatch.com.