Riane Garfin was once a marketing manager who aspired to be a designer. She was Marketing Director for several Filipino retail companies for over a decade before moving to London.
All the while, Garfin hoped her nine-to-five job would prepare her to become an entrepreneur who designs and creates her own products. It was at the start of the last decade that Garfin felt the urgency to act on his dreams. At that time she saw herself as someone who “was already 30 years old and doing office work with a lot of suppressed creativity.”
Finally, in 2014, she took the plunge.
With P20,000 as seed money, Garfin launched a line of fashion accessories called Leupp Ltd. The company grew and attracted her friend to join as a business partner. Soon Leupp Ltd. expanded to offer more accessories, including watches.
Watches quickly became the most popular product of Leupp Ltd. In 2018, the group changed direction and focused solely on watches. They branded the products after the company name, Leupp, which is a play on the word loop.
After all, time, Garfin thought, is just that: “A cycle of repetitions.”
With a starting price of P1899, Leupp is positioned on the low-cost spectrum of the watchmaking market. For years, this was a segment that was synonymous with the parts catalog, offering generic white label designs from fast fashion brands that have watches simply as an extension line.
“That’s what makes us unique,” Garfin said. “Leupp is a micro-brand focused on watches and only watches. It is this laser focus that keeps us obsessed with design and providing customers with the best unique designs for their money. “
Garfin and two London-based design associates handle the design of the products, which are then produced by their Hong Kong-based manufacturing arm. “This allows us to stay true to our commitment: to provide sophisticated products at radically affordable prices,” she said, adding that their ultimate goal for Leupp is to become the public’s go-to brand for fashion watches. to wear everyday.
Inspired by minimalism
Leupp is inspired by the principle of kanso, which is Japanese for simplicity. The idea is to eliminate clutter; to get rid of the non-essential.
“[Leupp] is characterized by unique, versatile and elevated designs, as well as flattering, crisp and genderless silhouettes, ”said Garfin.
These elements are most evident in the Kubo, Mori and Ito lines, which Garfin notes as being so versatile that they can be worn with both casual and formal outfits. Kubo, in particular, has an asymmetrical winder, which gives it an unexpected but elegant look; Mori, on the other hand, fully embraces the minimalist aesthetic with his clean-looking markers. Ito, arguably the most daring of the three, features a Bauhaus-inspired square shape paired with an all-black dial.
Other models Leupp is proud of are the Ueno, which Garfin considers her personal favorite, and the Imako, which she describes as “an unconventional watch designed for non-conformists”.
The road map
Like any other business today, Leuup Ltd is also feeling the effects of the global pandemic. Nonetheless, the centuries-old tradition of giving birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions continues to help the brand survive these difficult times.
“We are still able to pay our bills. The staff always receive their salary. We are all in good health. So I’m grateful, ”Garfin said.
Now operating from a studio nestled in leafy Putney in southwest London, Leupp continues to focus on creating simple, clean and contemporary timepieces for fashion-conscious consumers, in stark contrast to their contemporaries. , most of which often tend to emphasize style rather than substance.
Today, Leupp watches are available in its official store at www.leuppwatches.com, as well as Lazada, Zalora and their physical stores located at Paragon, Mall of Asia, Penthouse, SM North EDSA and Market Market.
Garfin said the plan is for Leupp to start supplying a global market within the next two years. “It’s a notion that is just ambitious, I would tell you, but judging by the success of the Leupp watches, I’m convinced it won’t take long.”