Cabaro is a socially responsible watch company – an incorporation of minimalist, understated, and classical mechanical timepieces, with a long-term commitment to helping others in need.
A couple of years ago, co-founders Ruqqaiyah (Ruqi) and Omer Nazeer had the opportunity to visit war-afflicted areas in Sri Lanka. They witnessed, first-hand, the hardships faced by families in these regions, especially children, and returned home with an incredible sense of responsibility to drive change.
A well-known quote rang true for this brother-sister team: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Shortly after, Cabaro was born. In their model, the donor has a direct connection to the recipient, encouraging long-term solutions.
To launch their first product, a “buy one, empower one”, mechanical timepiece, Cabaro turned to Kickstarter. Today, let’s we’re digging into a few questions with co-founder, Ruqi.
Tell us more about your “buy one, empower one” model – how is it different to current popular models, such as nonprofit or one-for-one?
When you give away something for free, like clothes or shoes, you’re providing a bandage. The deeper causes of poverty will continue to remain unaddressed. These communities are made poor because they lack the infrastructure to create wealth. As a giver, it’s easier to connect to a person than to an abstract action.
With Cabaro, we decided we didn’t want to just provide a bandage. We wanted to provide something that can offer a real platform for wealth creation and progress: education.
To do this, we’re collaborating with regional nonprofits.
With every timepiece sold, we educate and empower a poverty-stricken child in developing countries. We allocate a set budget for every watch that is purchased, which is transferred to the partnering non-profit cooperatives at the end of the month.
We’ve met the children that benefit from these programs. We know that they can lift themselves out of poverty. They don’t need a handout, they just need the right tools and foundation.
So why a watch as your first product? Is there a special connection between a watch and the brand mission?
Like our mission, we want our products to trigger an emotional connection. For us, watches do that.
We opted for a classic, mechanical watch, prioritizing design and durability. We want it to be timeless – something that wouldn’t be phased out due to the latest model or upgrade. Something that could be admired as much in 2036 as it is 2016, that could be passed down the generations. And just like the watch, education outlives generations.
We hope that this watch can inspire our customers to think more deeply – about themselves, the world around them, and the role they can play in a better future.
Can you share a little more about the programs Cabaro will be supporting?
The programs are designed to empower children to discover and unleash their untapped potential.
They involve a series of social, educational, financial, legal programs that addresses the problems children face in these regions such as child labor, abuse, early marriage, and negligence.
Specifically, the children dive into an innovative and immersive curriculum focused on delivering the most in-demand skills in that particular region such as digital literacy, language skills. This has the aim of making them independent and instill confidence as they grow older.
We believe these programs will set a strong foundation, one that you can build or rebuild anything from it uplifting them from the cycle of poverty.
‘Education breed confidence, confidence breeds hope, hope breeds Peace’ – Confucius
Clearly, aesthetics are important to Cabaro. How long did it take you to come up with your final design?
After a series of brainstorming sessions, collaborating with specialist dial and case makers, sample prototypes and feedback from beta testers, it took us almost 18 months to land with the final design.
The inspiration was derived from life. For instance, the complex mechanical movement with intricate gears and components inside the watch is the heart of the timepiece, a beating mechanical heart that pumps life to the timepiece, just like the beating human heart that keeps us alive.
What does the future hold for Cabaro?
Our model is something that we will expand and replicate in other countries where children have been displaced or have no access to education, to build up economies through the gift of empowerment.
As for the future, Cabaro is not about one-off philanthropic acts. It’s not just a polished marketing campaign. It’s a lifelong pledge, embedded into our roots.
Our model revolves around giving our customers an experience that’s inspirational, visually stunning, and, more than anything, socially sustainable. And that’s what we plan to do, with new products and new collections already in the pipeline.
You can see the Cabaro Kickstarter campaign here.