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IN CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL NIEDERER OF SEVENFRIDAY
Written by Menswear Style in Interviews on the 2nd March 2020 / In Conversation with Daniel Niederer of SEVENFRIDAY
SEVENFRIDAY is a global lifestyle brand that creates industrial inspired watches, eyewear, apparel and accessories for individuals around the world who live everyday like it’s Friday. Pushing and challenging the norms within the industry according to their own beliefs, dreams and experiences, SEVENFRIDAY is a Life attitude. ‘Show me don’t Tell Me’ is their brand tagline: emotional instead of rational, action instead of words, creativity instead of unquestioned standards. Headquartered in Switzerland, SEVENFRIDAY has a global network of best-in-class partners in 90 countries, more than 700 points of sale and a multi-cultural, multi-national team of experts in design, operations, logistics and administration.
In a recent MenswearStyle podcast episode we spoke to Daniel Niederer, the Founder and CEO of SEVENFRIDAY. We discuss where it all started for Dan and where the idea came from. He explains that SEVENFRIDAY isn't just a watch or eyewear brand, but a brand more about life attitude. He also touches upon why he wants the business to be disruptive and innovative within the industry, with unique and striking watch designs that stand out from the norm to gain identity and recognition. He also gives insights into how he took advantage of the growth of social media such as Instagram for to help build the brand audience.
Please tell us about what you do
“I live SEVENFRIDAY and was lucky enough to make it a brand and a company where I can live how I want. The brand has been going for seven and half years and it feels like yesterday when it first started. It was a combination of mid-life crises, frustration and stupidity that led me to set it up. I was in my 40s working the corporate life and I was frustrated with that. I wanted to work on my own and do my own thing. I use the word stupidity because I had a family and to start a brand from scratch from that age brings a lot of risk. Lucky enough for me things really took off. To be more precise, I wanted to create a company to do and live what I believe in, enjoy and I’m passionate about. I work with people I really appreciate and like, and I try to avoid assholes, which seriously makes your life much better. As a brand we try to create our own identity and universe. SEVENFRIDAY isn’t a watch brand and it isn’t a sunglasses brand. SEVENFRIDAY is a life attitude.”
Yes, I do feel the brand is a rebel brand. It looks like it’s not there for the people who want to play by the rules
“I get what you mean. We do what we believe in and we follow that. Let’s face it, nobody needs a watch. You have a mobile phone which shows the time quickly and more accurately than any mechanical watch. Alternatively, you can buy smart watches for extra features, but that’s not what we do. SEVENFRIDAY is a little rebellious and a little disruptive, but we’re still respectful. We also try to be innovative in what we’re doing, where we’re doing it and the way we communicate. It’s not just because we think we will win more customers, but it’s more because we have a lot more fun working that way. The wristwatch has to function and be correct, but at the same time, the watch is an accessory. It’s all according to taste and whether you want to make it a status symbol or not. Some people make a statement by not wearing a watch and for some people they feel it’s important to wear a £200k watch so people can see that they’re rich. And other people just have a more expressional style.”
How much did you know about watches before you set up the brand?
“I knew nothing. People think because I’m Swiss that I would naturally know everything about watches. The Swiss don’t grow up and have lessons in school about watches. It was actually an accident getting into watches. It was back in 2000 when I wanted to travel the world and I got a job offer to manage a subsidiary of a trading company in Australia and they so happened to distribute watches and luxury goods. At that time, I had never done anything like that before. I had never been to Australia either and I though that it was stupid the company agreeing to employing me. That’s how it all started. I learned a lot about new brands and how brands fail e.g. If you’re a new watch brand, you shouldn’t look at what Rolex is doing and try and copy them because you don’t have the history, finance, capacity, people or reach. I would often give advice to new brands, but nobody would listen to me, so I concluded that either I shut up or I do it myself and see if it would work. I had no money when I set up SEVENFRIDAY and that was a good thing because when you have no money you have to be creative. This is especially true with communications, so we entered social media such as Instagram where other watch brands at the time refused to go. We had a vacuum in that we could build a brand one year ahead of any other brands in our industry. Other brands were afraid it would cheapen their image and they would lose control. They thought that entering social media would make them more likely to be attacked with negative comments. I think that costed the whole industry big time.”
This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 47 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Daniel Niederer , Founder & CEO of sevenfriday.com. You can listen to the full version below or subscribe in iTunes, Spotify or your favourite podcast player.