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SNEWS Qs, Manufacturer Edition: Sprout Watches

The subjects of this week's SNEWS Qs are Ashley Jones, director of public relations, and Marcella Maselli, creative director, of Sprout Watches.

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Ashley Jones, director of public relations

Marcella Maselli, creative director

Sprout Watches

Tell us about your brands and products?

Simply put, our mission at Sprout watches is to make the most eco-friendly timepiece we possibly can. Both watch and packaging are constructed from sustainable and recyclable materials: corn resin, which is biodegradable; bamboo, which is a quick-growth plant that sequesters greenhouse gases; organic cotton, grown without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers; mineral crystal lens instead of plastic, mercury-free battery, natural mother of pearl and conflict free diamonds. We are even introducing a new line with straps made from recycled plastic water bottles. Sprout watches are toxin-free, biodegradable and eco-friendly in every way possible.

What is the history of the company?

The company has been in the watch business for 50 years. We’ve taken that valuable experience and applied it to the development of Sprout watches, ensuring each timepiece has the same standard of quality as every other watch we manufacture.

Where did your inspiration come from?

We were inspired to create Sprout watches by everyone who is doing their part to better the environment and be kinder to our planet — from the local rooftop farmers in Brooklyn and Queens to the renaissance thinkers like Blake Mycoskie from Toms (shoes). We were a big watch company with all of this knowledge and expertise and we wanted to find a way to “make a greener watch.” We wanted to make our contribution to a healthier planet.

What’s the one best feature of your product?

Our greatest achievement has been in the use of corn resin. It is a material that has a shelf life similar to regular synthetic plastics so it will not break down with regular use, but in a compost environment it is 100 percent biodegradable. Everything has a life cycle and we are proud that Sprout watches will not litter the earth for thousands of years.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The use of corn resin in our watches! Since it is such an unconventional material, there was a significant learning curve in both the raw material and the process needed to make a durable, yet attractive product. Our “secret formula” was constantly evolving.

Who do you look up to in the outdoor industry?

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Chouinard started out as a rock climber in 1953 and made his own tools. By 1970 he was one of the largest suppliers of climbing hardware in the U.S. but when he saw that his equipment was damaging the rock, he stopped making it and found a better way. This is a philosophy his company still follows to this day. I love this statement from the Patagonia website: “We can’t bring ourselves to knowingly make a mediocre product. And we cannot avert our eyes from the harm done, by all of us, to our one and only home.” It is a statement we wish we had said ourselves, but we can still be inspired by!

Who do you want to compete against in the industry?

Saving the planet is not a competition. It is a game in which everyone wins — even the ones who do not play.

–Compiled by Ana Trujillo