David Shriqui's watch tie is symbolic: It's the connection between his ideas and his execution of them. His enthusiasm for the watch business is as vivid as the red print tie of watch dials hanging from his neck. While not a designer, Shriqui acts as watch liaison and helps bring many watch designs to retailers. Shriqui is now the president of New York-based 7 West Accessories, but he's also a consultant for retailers who commission him to develop innovative new products, including private-label watches, for their stores. Some of his past ideas have paid off since−such as the ring watch and interchangeables.
Shriqui recently moved to a new Victorian-styled showroom, which is quite elegant and suitable for his new Fifth Avenue hub. But the name 7 West Accessories really worked with his previous address: 7 W. 36th Street. "I got the name 7 West Accessories because I had a lot of West Coast watch lines and the number seven is very lucky for me," Shriqui says. "Plus, when I was shopping for my first showroom, I stumbled upon 7 West 36th Street. So when I moved to that showroom, I decided to just call it 7 West Accessories."
The latest project
Shriqui's company is distributing to retailers is a children's timepiece called
the Kiddie Watch, a spin off of the recent Baby Watch of Xonex. The new $35.00
Kiddie Watch not only tells time, but it's creatively packaged in a clear
suitcase with a movable clock and a booklet that instructs the parent how to
teach their children to tell time.
But the Baby Watch product itself wasn't the only growing pain. The packing concept was also redesigned with children in mind. "People just looked at the Baby Watch's French fry-style packaging and said, 'Oh, it's a little watch,'" says Shriqui. "They didn't know that the Baby Watch has a lot of different uses. You can wear it on your wrist, belt loop, backpack or on your finger. It's a very functional piece of jewelry.
"We changed the packaging around so that it's easily identifiable, which has helped the product sell better," explains Shriqui. "And that's important because the consumer only has a two-second attention span while shopping."
Shriqui's company is distributing the Baby Watch. "There isn't much children's product out there in the market," says Shriqui. "The only children's product really available are Swatch, Flik Flak and Looney Toons watches, the latter of which aren't really geared to children. That's why we targeted that niche market.
Niche markets are Shriqui's specialty. And the 29-year-old has the fever for watch marketing, which is evident no only by his tie, but also his extensive watch collection, collector's books, and mainly, his ideas.
Shriqui got his foot wet in the watch business at Temlex when he was just 19. Temlex is no longer in business but Shriqui hasn't forgotten his watch roots. "The reason I started 7 West Accessories is because many customers wanted me to help them with special projects," he says. "I left Temlex to expand, but I owe Temlex a lot because they got me started in watches."
One gets the feeling just by talking to Shriqui that now that he's started, he won't stop. He launched 7 West Accessories at 25 and now he's assisting prominent retailers with special-order catalogs and new product development.
This holiday season, Shriqui has developed a Hanukkah watch and a Christmas watch packaged in an ornamental Christmas ball. In 1995, he will help launch a sports-related watch line. He also works with QVC shopping channel. Shriqui says that sometimes he juggles six different projects at a time.
"I'm not a rep," insists Shriqui. "I help put people in the watch business. I'm a liaison who just points retailers in the right direction. I work with about 10 retailers and watch wholesalers and provide them with input and ideas. I thank them for being open to my ideas."
One idea Shriqui spearheaded was a retail program of $10.00 watches. One retailer picked it up and because it was so successful, others tracked Shriqui down and followed suit. "We were one of the first to try that price point," he recalls. "Now, instead of one $10.00 program it's 20 $10.00 programs."
Where does Shriqui get his ideas? Everywhere including newspapers, magazines, movies, television, trade shows, and in Europe and Hong Kong, where he frequently visits. "I start with a basic drawing and work my way to an alloy case, plated case, dial selection and then the strap," he explains. "I Basically build from scratch. That's the beauty of it. And when it's done, it belongs to the retailer."
As he pulls out his personal watch collection, his eyes light up with even more enthusiasm. He holds up his Fred Flintstone watch, his talking Mickey Mouse watch, his Mickey Mouse watch with a Spanish dial, his Keith Haring limited-edition watch, and his Beatles watch. But his prize for the moment is a limited edition Bulgari.
Then Shriqui expresses his frustration with his
endless search for a "Josie and the Pussycats" watch. "What strikes me are the
unusual things," he says. "I like to collect watches even if they've from a
competitor. I do what I do because I love watches," says Shriqui. "I hate to say
it, but I don't really like jewelry." Maybe Shriqui should broaden his horizons
and buy a jewelry tie. Or maybe not. Watches are in his blood.