iKen Watches (pronounced \’eee-ken\, which is Japanese for ‘opinion’), are America’s most interchangeable watch! Paru Radia, the founder of iKen Watches, moved from the UK to New York City and developed these incredible time pieces. These watches are fully customizable, having over 248,000 unique possible combinations.
But besides being a super unique and incredible idea, one thing about her iKen watches stand out even more. For every orange watch face sold, iKen donates $1.00 to the anti-bullying Farley Project organization in Los Angeles, CA (click here to read more). As a victim of bullying herself due to her Indian heritage, this is one organization that Paru is passionate (as well as many others!)
We recently had a chance to interview Paru and learn more about her and iKen Watches. So keep reading and find out more about these original watches, and how you can get, and give back… all at the same time!
Name: Paru Radia
Occupation: Founder of iKen Watches
Why is giving back is important to you? I believe in paying it forward. There are people that need help. If I can, I will.
How has giving back helped you? I’ve never really looked at it that way. I don’t do it to help myself, I do it to help others. No, really.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life (and company)? To me, giving back doesn’t have to be formal. I help those I can, if I can. Be it a friend, a neighbor, or someone on the street. My weakest point with strangers/the homeless is if they ask for food. I can’t not give. If I have food with me, I’ll give it to them. If I don’t have food, I’ll give them some change. More formally, before I started my own company, I used to donate directly from my paycheck. This goes way back to when I first started work. Now, I donate $1.00 for every orange watch dial sold, to The Farley Project. It’s an anti-bullying non profit organization dedicated to teaching kids kindness.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? I’ve always made donations to organizations rather than specific projects, so it’s hard to say what exact impact my contribution has made. For all those years I contributed to the NSPCC in the UK, I’d like to think my contribution helped save the lives of children, saved them from abusive environments, made their lives and experiences at least a tiny bit more comfortable or bearable.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why? I’ve always had a soft spot for charities for children. Either abused children, or deprived children in underdeveloped countries. I feel children are more helpless than adults and need protection and the support to set themselves up for a better future. I really believe there is a higher chance for a better life if people are given the right support at a young age. The earlier people are helped/taught how to help themselves, the more control they have over their future. The reason I chose the Farley Project for iKen to make donations to is because I was a victim of bullying in school. It affected me for many years. And in ways more subtle today than when I was younger, I think it still does. I think kids that are bullied need to know they have support. And kids that are bullies, need to know and understand the impact bullying actually has. The Farley Project do a fantastic job in communicating this. They are very hands on and they go to school assemblies to address the children and they also have courses for children to attend, where children are taught about being kind and learn about the long term negative affects the victims endure from being mis-treated.
Favorite food: Pizza and my Mum’s Dhum Aloo (an Indian curry)
Favorite cocktail: Orange and ginger mojito
Favorite restaurant: Oh no! I can’t answer this. I like so many! It really depends on the cuisine and also my mood.
If you could host a dinner party for 8, who would you invite living or dead? Mark Cuban, Lady Diana, Timothy Ferris, Katie Holmes, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Barbara Corcoran, Beyonce
Favorite vacation spot: Thailand
Favorite TV show: Scandal
Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting
Favorite song: Something Inside So Strong – Labi Siffre
Favorite book: Four Hour Work Week
Favorite apps: Dominos pizza app. Timely and almost automated delivery of my custom pizza is very important to me. Lol!
iPhone or Android: iPhone. No question.
Favorite workout routine: Interval training on the treadmill whilst watching an episode of 24. I’m up to season 6 now.
Where do you get your news? The internet.
What experience in your career are you most proud of? I’m not yet. I have very high standards. Although I’ve had some ‘big’ achievements, none of them deserve an award! Ask me again in five years.
What advice would you share with those still in school? Don’t be lazy. Follow your passion. Not just something you enjoy, but something you’re passionate about.