If you love wood enough to want to wear a bit of it as a fashion statement, you’re in luck: TruWood offers watches, bracelets, sunglasses and rings made mostly or in part out of wood. Even better, the company is committed to planting 10 trees for every purchase made. So, your TruWood timepiece or other accessory is helping the environment, too.
“Working with natural materials was part of my identity growing up, as I was quite an outdoorsy child,” says Ibrahim Hyder, co-founder of TruWood. “When I was looking into what type of fashion products appealed to me, I fell in love with wooden watches and sunglasses.”
Hyder explains that he and his business parter, Bisholi Khella, went to university together in Canada before launching TruWood in May of last year. The two set out to create unique wooden watches with their Toronto-based company. But, unlike some other wooden watch designers selling timepieces for several hundred dollars or more, TruWood intends its product line to be affordable for any budget.
“We truly believe that if our customers are getting a great product at a great price, we’ll have a successful track record. And that’s what’s happening,” Hyder says. “We could have done what our competitors are doing — charging $200 to $400 per watch and pocketing a lot of money from every customer. However, we want to remain true to our values and principles, with a commitment to give back to the community and deliver a great value.”
Currently, TruWood offers 15 different watch styles that sell for between $69 and $129. Most of the watch cases are made of stainless steel and accented with black sandalwood, zebrawood, maple or bamboo. Some have marble or wood-grain faces. Watchbands are made of either stainless steel or wooden links, or a combination of the two. Genuine leather bands are also featured on certain models.
Hyder says their best-selling watch styles are the TruWood Hawk, Architect and Leaf Green. “I think the reason they’re so popular is because as soon as you see them, they instantly stand out as a product you’ve probably never seen before.”
His personal favorite is the Leaf Green. “How often do you see a watch with a minimalist green face that highlights natural patterns in the wood? I think we know the answer,” Hyder says.
TruWood is able to keep costs down on its watches by partnering with a manufacturer in China who can produce them on a mass scale. The black sandalwood, bamboo and maple used in TruWood watches and other products is also sourced in Asia. Efficient manufacturing materials sourcing enables the company to pass savings along to the customer, Hyder says.
He adds that wood presents its own challenges to making watches, especially since its brittleness increases with thinness. It’s not as strong as the plastics and metals used in conventional watches, either. But, TruWood’s overseas manufacturer has excelled at meeting those design issues.
“It wasn’t an easy feat to create a slim, great-looking wooden watch that can also take your everyday beating, but we think we’ve accomplished it. Through rigorous quality testing, we were able to determine where the ‘pain points’ in watch design were. At this point, we’ve purposely beefed up and slimmed down certain parts of the watch to ensure durability,” Hyder says.
In addition to watches, TruWood also makes 16 styles of sunglasses with bamboo bows and wood or metal-alloy frames. Featuring lenses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, the sunglasses sell for $32 or $49, depending on model. “With respect to our sunglasses, we offer unbeatable prices for the quality you receive,” Hyder adds. “All of our sunglasses have polarized lenses, and we use a high-grade stainless steel in the metal frames. We also include flexible hinges that allow our sunglasses to fit comfortably on pretty much anyone.”
The company sells six versions of beaded bamboo bracelets, too, and two styles of wood-inlaid metal rings in stainless steel or tungsten carbide.
Whether you buy a watch, pair of sunglasses or one of the other fashion accessories, your TruWood purchase gives back to the global community: 10 trees will be planted for every purchase. That’s because TruWood supports with “Trees for the Future,” an organization that has planted over 115 million trees in more than a dozen countries since 1989.
TruWood is focusing its reforestation efforts on 14 Forest Garden programs in five sub-Saharan African countries — Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania. Local farmers are provided fast-growing hardwood and fruit trees to secure and stabilize degraded lands. Then vegetables and field crops are intercropped among the trees.
Hyder says this work is both an environmental and social initiative. “[Trees for the Future] has revitalized hundreds of acres of soil and allowed entire communities to thrive … So far, we’ve helped them plant almost 75,000 trees, and we’re aiming for 1 million trees in 2017!”
And while it aims for more ambitious reforestation efforts this year, TruWood also plans to revamp its marble-and-wood watch line, plus release some new sunglasses designs.
Whatever product you choose, Hyder assures that its craftsmanship and unique wood grain pattern will make it a one-of-a-kind purchase. “We believe that is why people love our watches. Aside from being stunning, they represent an individuality and uniqueness that our customers seem to care deeply about. It’s cool owning something you know no one else in the world can exactly replicate.”
Learn more about TruWood watches and other fashion accessories by clicking here.