Just a few years ago, Winky Wu was working on Wall Street, helping to grow investments for wealthy people. She had planned on working in finance ever since she graduated high school at age 16. However, when she got tired of the Wall Street grind, she took her extensive education of a master’s in accountancy, an MBA, CPA, CFA and CA and set out to create Winky Designs, a watch and accessory company. She started out by selling 1,000 watches out of her living room and in 2012, she shipped 25,000.
What made you decide to quit working on Wall Street to start a watch company?
“I was tired of just watching numbers grow on paper. I wanted to do something where I can see the actual product of my effort. I wanted to do something fun in fashion, but I had no design experience. I chose watches because they are easy to design, are made with small components and easy to ship. Watches make great gifts and can be sold in almost any type of store. I decided to set up shop in Nevada because of the friendly business climate.”
How did your educational background help you start Winky Designs?
“I have an unconventional background compared to most people in the fashion business. Designers are usually very creative types and focus on creating the perfect product, and not so much on running a business. My business background helped me analyze costs and marketing strategies which ultimately made Winky Designs more profitable.”
What advice would you give someone considering a business degree?
“A business degree can help you in any industry. The ability to easily understand numbers can open the doors to any type of business. I never thought that I would be running a watch business but my education gave me a good foundation to start my own company. Take advantage of all the technology available to you in and out of school to learn. I researched fashion on the internet and learned photography from Google. While I was working in Hong Kong for Mattel, I took the opportunity to research factories. School is also a great place to network for connections later on.”
Winky Designs are carried in more than 200 stores around the country. Winky’s first store will open this October in the Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas.
Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Christa has been a Las Vegas resident for more than 20 years. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.