Wood may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a bunch of young Malaysian lads to be spending a bulk of their time and effort on. But that is exactly what ties the relationship between Bryan Chang, Izac Tan, and Wallace Fong together.
The fast friends have known each other since they were in Standard 1 and they chose to dabble in a business which deals largely with wood, due to several reasons.
Izac had a dream of reviving his father’s legacy in the woodworking business, Bryan on the other hand, had an idea of establishing an impact-driven business. Wallace had always been an environmentalist and even took up an Environmental Technology degree. Hence, together, they joined their dreams and ideas to form Project Woodworks.
Being Watchful Towards Environment
Project Woodworks is a brand which empowers a responsible and sustainable lifestyle through intricately-designed wooden products such as classic timepieces. The startup highly champions an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Hence, it is no wonder that their products are made from unused wood.
By using unused wood, which is a by-result from logging activities, the team are able to furnish a collection of watches from it. Izac said, “When a company logs, there will always be some leftover woods that are too small or not valuable for mass-scale furniture-making or building construction. These are known as the unused woods.”
The lads also spent 8 months handpicking some responsible overseas manufacturer to handle the assembly of their watches. The woods are sourced from all around the world (maple wood from Canada, black-sandalwood from India), and their watch’s movement is sourced from Japan.
Designing The Wooden Timepieces
One can say that the watches are a product of the world, and this uniqueness alone should validate its price, with the watches retailing at RM499. However, even so, the price is rather steep for a timepiece. Izac begs to differ, as he said that the workmanship of the products justifies the price point.
He noted, “It takes around 60 days to manufacture all our watches, and every wood has their own texture and grains.” In other words, each timepiece has its different qualities which makes it stand out and an owner would not own 2 similar-looking products due to that fact.
Millennials are often placed in the limelight as those who leech off of the toiling and hard work of their forefathers. With Project Woodworks, it teaches one to live a sustainable lifestyle and make purchasing decisions which actually has an impact on the world.
The ultimate aim for Project Woodworks is to educate their customers on the cause which they are able to contribute to, which is tackling environmental issues. The team shared with Vulcan Post how forest loss in Malaysia is in fact one of the highest recorded in the world. This is part of their attempt to reduce this.
But “Wood” It Work?
Project Woodworks will be officially launching their web-store on August 28, and moving forward, they would be entering several different retailers, among them LOKA Asia and Petronas Gift Shop.
They are also currently developing their next wooden-watch collection to appeal to the mass-market. In the near future, they would be looking into working with local talents and artisans in order to empower them and provide them with a better living. As such, their hope is to ultimately shift the woodworking and watch-assembling process back to Malaysia to provide job opportunities for the local people.
Being MaGIC SE Accelerator Program Cohort 2’s top 25 startups, it is clear that Malaysians are appreciating what the team is aiming to do. One might not immediately believe that a pile of unused wood could be carefully selected to create true works of art, but then again, it only takes a single soul to believe in something, in order to make it work.
With Project Woodworks, it took 3 young souls to believe that they could make a difference with a bunch of watches. Through this belief, the team also hopes to leverage on the unused wood to create products such as wooden sunglasses, wooden phone covers, wooden wallet and cardholders as well, to target a wider audience in the near future.
Feature Image Credit: Project Woodworks