Community//

Esti Chazanow: “When everyone tells you can’t do something, you know you’re doing the right thing.”

“When everyone tells you can’t do something, you know you’re doing the right thing.” — This is really the heart of our brand! We’ve heard “can’t” a lot, especially when it came to launching the Rebel, our rectangular style. But we truly believe that just because something is difficult to do, or hasn’t been done […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

“When everyone tells you can’t do something, you know you’re doing the right thing.” — This is really the heart of our brand! We’ve heard “can’t” a lot, especially when it came to launching the Rebel, our rectangular style. But we truly believe that just because something is difficult to do, or hasn’t been done before, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.


Asa part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Esti Chazanow.

Esti Chazanow is the co-founder and brand manager of LIV Watches. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and studied education and business in college, eventually focusing on management, marketing, and organizational structure and curriculum development in the nonprofit and education worlds. In 2009, she met her husband, watch industry entrepreneur Chaz, and they united their backgrounds and expertise to create a brand that would produce high quality, unique watches at an accessible price point, direct to consumers, and build relationships. LIV launched on Kickstarter in 2014, and the rest is horological history. Esti is passionate about educating anyone who comes into contact with LIV about the rich tradition of Swiss watchmaking. Her focus is on multi-channel communication and working with the LIV team to craft an authentic fan experience — because the word “customer” doesn’t do justice to the enthusiasm LIV fans have for the brand. Esti lives in Miami, Florida, with her family.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Esti! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Igrew up in Melbourne, Australia. I studied education in college and received a degree in business and commerce as well. Eventually, my focus became management, marketing, and organizational structure and curriculum development which I worked on in the nonprofit and education worlds. In 2009, I met Chaz, my husband. He was already an entrepreneur in the watch world, operating e-commerce watch stores since the early 2000s. In our first years of marriage, Chaz was starting to realize that he wanted to make a shift. The goal was to create a brand that would produce high quality, unique watches at an accessible price point, direct-to-consumer, and build relationships.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

As co-founder and brand manager of a boutique-yet-affordable Swiss-made watch brand, I think about disruption every day. We are disruptive by our very nature! Here are a few ways that LIV Watches is different:

  • We have a strictly direct-to-consumer business model. No inflated retail pricing. So many big watch brands have to inflate their prices to cover the costs of massive ad campaigns and celebrity endorsements. Our watches are built with the same incredible quality and attention to detail as other Swiss brands, only at a fraction of the cost
  • We live and breathe our fan experience. We don’t believe in the word “customer,” which is way too transactional. We aren’t just selling watches. We’re building a community of people who love watches as much as we do. LIV Watches is dedicated to providing an awesome experience from beginning to end, including personalized, concierge service.
  • We love to hear what consumers think and keep them involved in product development. We want to build watches that our fans crave, and the only way to do that is to take their feedback and apply it to our designs. Our new releases are project-based launches and we take the time to gather feedback at multiple steps along the way.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

It may sound cliche and nerdy, but I’m really grateful to my husband and LIV co-founder, Chaz. He really pushed me to do everything I’ve done because he saw that I had that skill and that ability to do certain things. I think if not for him, I would never have made the leap into being an entrepreneur. He pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me feel capable to do so much more than I would have on my own.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“When everyone tells you can’t do something, you know you’re doing the right thing.” — This is really the heart of our brand! We’ve heard “can’t” a lot, especially when it came to launching the Rebel, our rectangular style. But we truly believe that just because something is difficult to do, or hasn’t been done before, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“Remember the big picture.” — We aren’t in business just to sell 1 watch to a consumer. We want to create a relationship with every fan. Therefore, it’s so important to look at what we do as a whole, in the context of the long-term. No nickel and diming.

“Be grateful to whoever helped you along the journey.” — We’re so grateful to our fans. Everything is because of them. We do our best to show that gratitude every single day.

How are you going to shake things up next?

We just want to continue to grow organically, we have some numbers in mind, like 100,000 fans, that’s our next step. Our goal right now is to grow. We have a proven idea, we have loyal fans, all organic, and now our idea is to scale. Our main goal is scaling. That’s our objective.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I listen to a lot of Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman. Lots of great conversations there, but one that I really learned from was Mark Zuckerberg talking about interviewing potential employees and looking for stability in resumes. That’s something that has really made a difference for us in terms of putting together an excellent team.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think some sort of mentor system, perhaps an app that people can easily find mentors or volunteer to mentor others. Maybe it already exists, but I’m talking about something that is very mainstream and easy to find. I think mentorship is so important, and people can really be helped by having a good mentor on many levels — economic, social, emotional. Having a mentor can change everything for a person getting started in the business, and that is something that I want for everyone.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Winston Churchill once said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Praise, while nice to hear in the moment, doesn’t help you improve. I believe that constructive criticism is so important and valuable, and the ability to be critical of yourself is a gift. Being strong at your core allows you to listen to criticism (including from yourself) with grace — and to learn and grow from it.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Youtube

Pinterest

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“What Our Company Is Doing To Become More Sustainable,” With Designer Christy Dawn Baskauskas

by Carly Martinetti
Community//

Women of The C-Suite: “The only way to grow your business is to listen.” with Libby Fischer

by Yitzi Weiner at Authority Magazine
Community//

Daisy Jing: “Ideas are not patented”

by Jilea Hemmings

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.