The next idea, the next project. Not afraid of changes, always seeking out new challenges. My name is Alexander Burhans and have been a TLR members since September 2019. Stagnation was never my thing; that’s why today I want to inspire you with my story from being a jewellery designer and watch manufacturer to becoming an online entrepreneur.
Especially as a TLR family member, I want to encourage you to read until the end, where I’d love to offer you a special gift. That’s my way to thank the TLR family. Without them, what you are about to read, would never have happened.
When I was young I developed a passion for design and art; especially for the merging of these two fields. With my penchant for clear and simple design, I was looking for a combination of aesthetic standards with practical benefits, following the principles of the Bauhaus style. As a trained dental technician, I developed skills in the fine mechanical field, saw the potential of different materials and became a professional in the precise manufacturing of the smallest parts. At the end of the 80s, I entered the jewellery and watch industry. In 1989 I opened my first of 4 retail stores in Freiburg (Germany). In order to be able to offer beautiful designer watches of the highest possible quality at an affordable price, I founded my own watch brand a.b.art in 1991. From the idea for a new design, the first pencil strokes leading up to a finished product, I was involved in the entire process, even organising the entire sales structure of my own retail and wholesale business worldwide.
Everything landed on my desk. At some point it became too much. The stress killed my creativity. A radical step followed: my exit from the business in 2014. Up to that point around 200.000 watches had been manufactured and sold according to my ideas and designs. I decided to sell everything and turned my back on my home country Germany. First I emigrated to Mallorca and later went to Andalusia (both in Spain), where I still feels most at home in Málaga to this day. A couple of years of trials in other areas, with other business ideas and products, followed. Among other things, I dealt with dietary supplements, fitness nutrition and textile printing. None of it really worked.
And then Corona came! During the lockdown in Spain, I was able to reconsider and rediscover my passion for watches. At TLR Coworking I met young entrepreneurs, for example Daniel Arzt specialising in the fields of e-commerce and social media, who gave rise to the idea of reviving my old passion. Still knowing the watch business from the pre-Internet era, I became very enthusiastic during my research, which showed that the digital age had also begun in the watch industry. I worked out a concept to handle all processes from production to sales and shipping via the internet. With an on-demand production in Switzerland, from where every watch is shipped directly, I want to win previous and new customers over for my current designs. The new digital process to produce watches makes it possible to offer high-quality watches, which are assembled by hand at the Swiss watch manufacturer, at attractive prices. We even allow customers to personalise their custom-made watch by engraving it to their liking.
With a young team, who I’ve had the pleasure to meet at TLR Coworking, we’ve created a fine series of watches and already started selling them uniquely via our online shop (www.alexanderburhans.com) under the brand name “Alexander Burhans”. Thanks to the international orientation of my coworking space TLR, I was inspired to offer a multi-lingual online shop in German, Spanish and English.
We are realising the entire project with a crowdfunding campaign. Together with the team at TLR we even made a video, which I’ve embedded for you below. We will involve supporters of the campaign from our newly acquired internet community in the selection of future models and the distribution of our content via various channels.
My personal goal is to work freely and location-independently operating my own online business, whilst avoiding the stress and headaches of bygone times. For me COVID-19 was a chance to start over, to re-encounter my creative passion and be happy doing what I do.
And as promised initially, here goes my special gift for all TLR family members: By supporting my crowdfunding initiative to make these watches a reality, you’ll get a personalised engraving for free. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to make that happen for you.
About Alexander Burhans
Alexander, originally from Cologne in Germany, started his career as a dental technician. Early on he encountered his passion for art and design, which he expressed in the jewellery and watch business. After having tried various other entrepreneurial initiatives, Alexander re-encountered his old passion and is now on a quest to digitalise the watch business selling his own watches via his online shop leveraging the drop-shopping model.