Meet Angel J. Wu, the co-founder and managing director at ADEXE, a premium timepiece brand that reflects the spirit of its wearer and has cleverly distinguished itself from the mass-produced line of “more of the same” masses. We chat to Angel about how ADEXE prides itself as a master of the venerable art form and how ADEXE is melding mechanical precision with luxury and aesthetic finesse.
Hey Angel, how is it all going?
Hey, busy but great! How about yourself?
Not bad thank you! Thank you for asking, ok can you talk us through a typical 24 hour in your shoes?
Sure, my alarm kicks off at 7:30 a.m. but I am usually woken up by my boyfriend earlier than that as he is a super early morning person. While I am making myself some breakfast, I am either on my phone filtering emails or tidying up the kitchen simultaneously.
Around 9:30 a.m. I am in the office in Shoreditch after a refreshing 30-minute walk from home. The first thing I do in the office would be communications with colleagues in Hong Kong, the production team in China and some Asian distributors because of the time difference.
Just before lunch, I check with my team in the office and make sure they are ok with their work, or if they have any questions or difficulties. Then I reply to emails and check out the daily report on the website and social media platforms to make sure everything is running correctly.
Towards the end of the day would be my strategic thinking and planning time or attending events and meetings.
At night, I am usually done with my dinner at 9 p.m. then I would loosen up for an hour by joking with my family, speaking about very random things then head to bed at 10:30 p.m. where I do some readings and reflections until I fall asleep around 12 a.m.
How has the journey been since launching ADEXE?
The ADEXE Project started in summer 2016 when I was finishing my Master degree at UAL. It has been tough, fun and rewarding especially for my personal growth.
What were the first steps to set up your business?
The first steps are to make sure you have a good product and sufficient financial inflow for a minimum of one year. Be prepared it is tougher than you can imagine but it will be worth it if you do not give up. Success really is just being a little better than your competitors.
What are you currently learning about in business?
My parents are both entrepreneurs and seeing their success in business since a young age made me naively thought starting my own business would not a difficult task until the ADEXE project started. Everything was a bit messy in the beginning because frankly I did not have a lot of experiences but needed to manage so many things at the same time. It was overwhelming and I struggled to get the ADEXE name out there even though I know my watches very well.
Then I realised my job is not to be good at one particular thing but a little bit of everything and I should delegate tasks to specialists which I did and with appropriate KPI, the brand is definitely going in the right path now.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Not to unnecessarily over-stress yourself.
Best advice you can give someone?
Find the right people to work with you. Right people do not mean the best and most expensive employees but someone who is willing to join your journey wholeheartedly and enjoy the work they are doing.
Who do you feel is an inspiration to your life?
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. It is because he is a great speaker and a great leader. Listening to his speech always puts me in a good mood and gives me a better idea what great bosses should do.
If you could travel back in time what would you do again?
I would probably study less and take on more part-time jobs from different fields to maximise my experiences. At the end of the day, a degree will get you a job but what keeps you in the job is the attitude and experiences you have.
What podcasts or YouTube channels are currently great for motivation? If any?
I am not subscribed to any Youtube channels. For motivation, I think the best motivation is “pressure”, I remind myself often that I am not only responsible for the well-living of myself but also my staff and my family and I have no interest in disappointing any of them.
Any great books you have come across lately?
I have about 5 books next to my bed so I can choose what to read, depending on my level of tiredness every night. I do some easy read such as topics about trees and animals after a long day otherwise it will be more business-related books. If I have to pick one, I still think ‘Bold’ by Peter H Diamandis is a fascinating read that tells us a lot about the future and technology in a fun way.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
The goal for ADEXE this year is to increase the awareness in U.K., especially in student cities as our buyers are mainly from those regions. We have set up small monthly goals for everyone plus individual KPI, things have been working pretty well since we implemented the schemes and I am very glad that everyone is helping each other to achieve their goals.
What are the most effective tools you use to spread the awareness of ADEXE?
Undoubtedly, I would say Instagram because everyone is just on there.
What about any challenging times you have had to overcome?
Yes a lot. Almost every day there is something happening. Some challenges are big, some are small. But there is nothing on top of my head that I can think of is unsolvable because I believe it really is a matter of time it takes to tackle problems. Inevitably, there are times when I am lost and clueless, the best thing is to take a deep breath, be open and honest about it with your staff, and your close friends, ask for their opinions.
Best moment so far?
We just finished our biggest blogger sleepover event in London (Don’t think many brands are organising similar events so we are definitely one of the pioneers!) and we organised everything in a week! Yes, a week. It is because many big brands we asked for collaborations said yes in the very last-minute and we are debating among ourselves to let the opportunity go and organise it properly next time or fight for it. And as all of you know we did it.
The moment I was so proud was seeing the dedication of the team, everyone was working till late, on the weekend, not being grumpy at all, working together only to make sure the event will turn out great. And of course, also the moment when my sister came home and told me sincerely “I am so proud of you”. Nothing beats the appreciation from your family I guess.
What does success look like in your eyes?
Hitting the “1 Million watches a year sold” goal and my employees’ living standards continue to improve every year.
What does it mean to you to truly #BEYOUROWN?
In life, in business, you will hear a lot of opinions and voices that are meant to be “good for you” and I think it is very important to listen but always remind yourself to think outside the box at the end of the conversations. Thinking outside the box does not mean coming up with crazy and impractical ideas but seeing things from a bigger picture and more long-term oriented.
Lastly, what is on the horizon for 2018 for you?
2018 is a super busy and fun year for myself. Work wise, ADEXE will be working with Barclays on the contactless payment watches, we are organising pop-up shops in London, sponsoring some music festivals this summer so really I am traveling at least 3 times a month this year just for work.
For my personal life, some friends of mine are getting married everywhere in the world so got quite a lot of bachelorette parties to go to, I am picking up ballet again after 10 years, and so on. The good thing is I am the kind of person that cannot sit still, but always on the move so I am enjoying my life very much at the moment.
Instagram: @angelwcj | @adexewatchofficial