Happy accidents are blissful. They’re part of what makes life enjoyable and give us cause to nod to something or other in appreciation of new and insightful discoveries. Running YGT generally means that my quota of happy accidents is fortuitously higher than that of most. My time is filled with stumbling across amazing new things by way of tip-offs from friends of friends or referrals from creatives that I meet on my travels. Coming across Shore Projects was one of these happy accidents and I was lucky enough to catch up with one of the team responsible for the company’s inception on a sunny afternoon in Soho.
It’s always interesting to learn the specifics of what makes a start-up brand like Shore Projects stand out from the crowd. For one thing, these watches own a lovely story and when it comes to design, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better looking piece to call your own. The landscape of style is forever changing but these guys seem to have built a solid name for themselves, by distilling their inspirations: childhood homes, coastal towns, a sense of adventure, exploration and the British wilderness, and channeling them into a peerless product that everyone seems to want a piece of.
How did Shore Projects come about?
The three guys that founded Shore Projects realised that none of them ever wore watches and decided that what they really wanted to do was to create the watches that they wanted to wear. Pulling in favours and owing some new ones to mates they used shore as an opportunity to work with some of the best designers and producers they know.
As much as it’s a watch brand it’s an opportunity to collaborate with talented people whether writers, designers, artist, musicians or other brands. When you commit to a watch, you commit to the whole thing. Shore Projects watches have interchangeable straps that can be switched around whenever you feel like it or whatever your mood. We’re always working on new strap designs and hope to have a huge range.
What’s the story behind Shore Projects?
The guys grew up by the seaside. I’m from the Welsh Valleys so don’t have the coast but the sense of being outside, it’s just lovely. We’ve got great coastlines in this country, we’ve got amazing outdoor scenes and spaces and we maybe aren’t encouraged to celebrate what we’ve got enough.
There are a lot of lifestyle brands that are all about LA life and London-centric streetwear. Maybe we’re not very cool for not going that way, but we wanted to focus on the amazing bit of our culture that everyone takes for granted. With that said, if you want your watch to compliment your concrete-focussed streetstyle, that’s the beauty of the straps. If you want it to look at home on a weekend in Whiststable, you can do that too.
What’s most important to you and the team when it comes to your customers?
We’re very conscious of the importance of making Shore Projects watches unisex. We were keen to create a platform that we could go anywhere with and weren’t interested in just appealing to one group of people. The great thing about our watches is that one day we could be working with art students from Bournemouth, the next we’ll be with graphic designers in central London.
Also, there are a lot of brands we admire on the basis that they make beautiful things well. It’s very easy to package something that isn’t great in a nice box. We worked really hard to create really high quality watches. There was lots of vigorous testing! We didn’t just want to take something and package it up as a lifestyle but actually make something really well, that we believed in. That was most important to us.
Tell us a bit about the process behind creating a Shore Projects watch?
We work with two really talented designers, who spend long evenings working out exactly how our watches should look. It’s driven them completely nuts but they’ve been amazing. We’ve then spent a lot of time working with prototypes, Swiss manufacturers because they really are the best, testing and wearing the watches, and diving into the sea a lot. When we passed the 100 metres test, that was the best day ever! It’s been quite a long process, a lot of trial and error but we’re really happy with where we’re at now.
We’ve met other watch companies who have praised our products and that’s amazing because we’re not yet experts. What’s been great is the support from other start-ups, for example P&Co. They create really nice products and love what we do too. We take pride in what we do so even the packaging, the hand-stamped bags, everything is part of what makes us stand out. Now we can also be vocal in our support of others that we think are doing a great job and creating with integrity.
What’s next for Shore Projects?
We’ve called this first group of watches Project 1 because, obviously, it’s the first one. We’ll then have Project 2, Project 3 and so on. The watch faces might change or the concept might grow into loads of other fun collaborations. We thought we’d start simple and small and then grow through what other people want to do with Shore, so that everything we do is collaborative. We want loads of people to get involved and for Shore Projects watches to reflect our ideas-sharing.
Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth