This university freshman is working for a major watch company, runs his own business, and still makes time for schoolwork.
Naturally, I sat him down for a cup of coffee (and for a period of about five minutes, accidentally sipped from his cup) to ask him how he pulled off this stunt. I was beyond-curious to learn how this eighteen year old turned himself into an expert. I know you are, too.
Dana Iskoldski: Thanks for sitting down with me, Aaron. First things first, what are you up to right now?
Aaron Young: I go to OCAD University for industrial design, and I’m working part-time at Marathon Watch Co. They make really purpose-built watches, like this *points to a watch* military-issue Navigator. I’m responsible for their Facebook page, Amazon, Instagram, etc. Oh, and I’ve just recently opened an Etsy shop.
DI: What’s this Etsy shop all about?
AY: It’s called Boutique Horlogerie, and I sell serviced vintage watches. [Ed. Note: I checked out his store. If you appreciate history in a thing, his stuff is for you. He knows the story behind, like, every watch.]
DI: When did you realize you could immerse yourself in your passion?
AY: The first watch I tried to fix, I completely failed and broke it. So when I tried again and got it right, it was the most satisfying feeling. I got serious with it in grade twelve, and started buying a ton of watches to fix up. Then eventually my mom asked why I had so many of them in the house. She said if I was repairing them, why can’t I sell them? So that’s what I started to do.
DI: How did you land the Marathon job?
AY: It started with a summer job I had at my uncle’s warehouse. I had known Marathon for a while, and when a shipment of binoculars came in from them, I asked my uncle if he could get me a deal on one of their watches. He called up the VP, who invited me to see all the watches Marathon had so I could pick one. I spent two hours talking to the man about watches. I think he liked me, because he told me to give him a call when I started school in September. [Ed. note: this goes to show that passion is contagious. Do what you love and own it!]
DI: What are you doing to make it all work?
AY: Every day is different. I go to school for classes and studio time, and Wednesdays and Fridays I go to work. I generally ask what needs to be done for the day, or I finish things that are outstanding. The stuff I do is fun, like reading up on what distributors and manufacturers are doing. So when I’m asked to do it for work, it’s already done. When I get home from school, my intention is to do schoolwork, but I procrastinate and fix up watches. It’s one of the first things I do because it relaxes me. 4AM is for schoolwork.
DI: What’s the hardest part of it all?
AY: Getting 4 hours of sleep each night. But that’s also because I have Netflix. It’s kind of hard balancing school, work, and running my own thing at the same time.
DI: What’s the most rewarding thing?
AY: The fact that I’m setting up a career. If you enjoy something, working on it feels amazing. It’s nice looking at the Marathon website and thinking “sh*t, I did all this.” Or when I have a broken watch that starts ticking again, it’s incredible. They don’t tell you in high school about all these careers that are actually enjoyable. I’m looking into my future now thinking I can be doing what I like and enjoy.
DI: What is success, to you?
AY: I think success means looking back at what you’ve done and being satisfied. It makes me sad when people say “my parents forced me into that” or that they’re “really looking forward to the weekend.” It’s not a matter to me of “I can’t wait till I have a day off.” I want to genuinely enjoy coming to work everyday.
There you have it, folks. Two coffees down, ninety eight more to go. I hope you learned something. And to Aaron, I see fulfilment in your future.
P.S. I couldn’t not share the photos I took.
Has something like this happened to you? Do share.
Also, questions for Aaron will be seen by Aaron, so ask in the comments below.