What was your background before starting Abingdon Co.?
I had just graduated from university and started my flight training classes.
What inspired you to start Abingdon Co. and how you got there?
After I got my private pilot certificate, I was shopping for a lady’s pilot watch. Nothing existed in the market, so that’s where the inspiration came for me to start a watch company that caters to adventurous women like pilots.
Where did the name Abingdon come from?
My parents gave it to me. The story goes that it was the name of the pub my parents were working at when I was conceived.
Tell us about your design style and what makes it unique.
We design function first. My customers are our designers. They tell us what functions they want, and we start with their wishes. Then we make the watch beautiful.
Who is your inspiration?
My customers are my inspiration. I have the most amazing customers. They are women who have set world records, done tremendous feats, broken bones, and truly live a life of adventure.
As a creative and a designer, where do you draw inspiration from?
All of the activities we market towards...flying, diving, racing, traveling...all have materials that I like to incorporate in my designs. Whether it’s rubber from a race car’s tire or mother-of-Pearl for a dive watch, you can bring elements from your passion and present it beautifully on a watch. You end up wearing your passion on your wrist.
What new things (designs, etc.) do you have planned for 2019?
For the first time ever, we are introducing a new kind of watch for automotive enthusiasts. It comes out in October!
Who are your favorite designers?
I can’t say, I’m not really a “designer” kind of girl. I never notice the label or the designer. I just wear what I like.
Which is your favorite watch you have designed and created, and why?
Hands down the Jackie in Seaplane Green. I still wear the original prototype that was made over twelve years ago. It works perfectly and I always get compliments on it.
What has been the biggest challenge in building Abingdon Co?
Most of our customers (we call them Crew Members) are doing activities in traditionally male industries. For example, only 7% of pilots are women. Reaching potential new Crew Members is our biggest challenge because we are usually marketing to a male audience.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of building Abingdon Co?
I love talking to women who breathe a sigh of relief when they realize that there’s finally a watch that is as tough as them. My favorite comment is when someone tells me, “It’s about time someone did this.” My response: “Exactly.”
What is your favorite aspect of flying?
When I fly, I can’t think about anything other than the airplane and the flight. What I love about flying is that it feels like a mini-vacation. Business, personal life, all of it goes out the window when I start up an engine.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
I would love to work with some of the people at the big watch groups like Fossil or Swatch. They have resources and people that can really bring possibilities to light. It would be incredible to work with their teams.