Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Susan Galvin, Founder at Galvin Watch Company

Susan Galvin is a watchmaker and the founder of Galvin Watch Company, a company she launched off the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I was made redundant in the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020. I was actually on maternity leave at the time and my initial plan was to go back to work in November 2020. 

I decided to turn the tables and use this as an opportunity to start my own business. 

I am a watchmaker by trade and I worked as an industry accredited watchmaker for a decade before the launch of my own company. I used the skills I gained working in the industry to design hi-spec luxury watches. 

To give the business a kick-start, I created a crowdfunding campaign of my first collection, Alku. In two months, I raised over 100k by people backing up the campaign from all over the world.

I used the money to fund the first stock order for the Alku Collection. I continued trading in the e-commerce space and launched a new crowdfunding campaign for my latest collection, Loimu. The campaign has been very successful and I have already gained over 50k in just over a week of campaigning. The next step for the company is to expand into the retail space.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

In between the campaigns we had our second child, Josefiina. She is now just over 5 months old, so I am currently still looking after her full time. I started designing the Loimu Collection already in January 2021.

Seven months later I received the first samples. From receiving the samples we started the process of creating the Kickstarter campaign. We are currently running the campaign and I pretty much use my free time to create brand awareness, social media content, running the bookkeeping and keeping up-to-date with the backers. 

My husband is starting his parental leave mid-July. That is the time when I will start working on full time bases and fulfilling the campaign orders. I test and conclude a quality control testing for every watch, before shipping them to their new owners. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I had an external workshop before starting a parental leave. I decided to move the workshop back home, until I start working on a full time basis. Having my own business has provided me and my family a lot of flexibility, which has worked incredibly well.

My work days and working hours vary a lot, as at the moment I work when I can. Going back to work on a full time basis, will bring a bit more stability and routine to the work itself, which is quite important when working with the watches. There are certain checks I need to do at certain times, i.e. testing for the power reserve or checking the automatic functions of the watch. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Currently being on parental leave, I work when my daughter sleeps. My son goes to the day care most days of the week, however Friday is the day when he is at home and I have a day off as well. I have found a fantastic gym near my house, where they offer creche services.

That allows me to go to the gym a few times a week, whilst our daughter is looked after by the nannies at the gym. I found running extremely therapeutic and I am currently training for my 8th half marathon!

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Having our second child was a massive change and I do find looking after 2 children quite challenging, without having any family help nearby. I’ve learned now to separate the work time from the time I spend with our children.

Trying to do too many things at once can be quite overwhelming. I haven’t worked as self-employed before, so I think it is a matter of finding what works the best for you and in our case, our family. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I am a huge fan of This American Life podcast. I used to live in the UK for 3 years and I fell in love with the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s hour podcast. I can also highly recommend the Radiolab podcast. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I regularly use my heart rate monitor when running, which I have created a bit of an obsession with. I like to train for the half marathon by following my heart rate, from long distance training to the intervals. I also like using my wireless bluetooth headphones whilst exercising or working and keeping up-to-date with the podcasts. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

I’d love to read about Grace Tame, how she manages her work-life balance. She seems such a strong female figure and in many ways I have a huge respect for her. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Someone once said to me “keep it simple”. I’ve taken this simple advice on board from day one and I try not to over complicate anything. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.