There's no other way to put it, our launch party was an amazing success. Toward the end of the evening, I gave a few remarks that I wanted to share with you. This includes a few exciting announcements, which I will go into detail in later posts. In the meantime, here's the speech:
I’m so pleased to welcome each of you as a guest of Diefendorff. In addition to Sam, I want to acknowledge Nika Kovlenko our artist for the evening! I’m really enjoying watching the piece come together. I encourage each of you to check out her really amazing work online and support our local artists.
At this moment, I feel like I’ve won an award. It’s funny, anytime I watch that Academy Awards, I always get bored when the winners thank people whom I don’t know. So I apologize to each of you, but this is the closest I’ll ever come to winning an academy award and even though I’m employee 1 of 1 at Diefendorff right now, there’s a whole team that helped make today possible. To all my volunteers Alyson, Annette, Shane, Tom, Isabelle, Jerry, Christine, and Matt. To my sisters Kary, Anne, and of course Gregg and Aidan. To Dr. Laura Walsh, Bill Bonner, the WeWork Labs people in the house, to Daryl, Sara, Emily, Lauren and everyone at CECP, Brad G., Grant K., and my watch friends Josh, Chris, Henry L., and the RedBar crew with Adam, Gray and Kathleen. Just two more, bear with me. To my cheerleader in Chief, the one who has graciously dealt the brunt of my many questions, exasperations and celebrations all along the way, to my dear boyfriend Brian. To each of you, my heart is filled with more gratitude than you know. And finally, most importantly, I thank my parents whom I miss every single day.
I started Diefendorff because … well, I just really wanted to create an amazing and truly distinctive watch. Plain and simple. I love watches and I wanted to make a unique mark in the world.
The back story is this: Diefendorff is named after my 6th great-grandfather, Captain Henry Diefendorff who died 200 years to the day – perhaps to the hour – of me being born. Henry served as a militia captain in the revolutionary war. He was shot in the lungs and died near a creek in the woods of upstate New York, not knowing if his sacrifice was pointless.
We honor Henry in name and through the details of the watch. As Henry is the son of Swiss immigrants, our watches have a high-quality, Swiss-made movement. Since he was a captain in the militia, our logo is inspired by the modern US Army’s captain insignia. And of course, our patent-pending, first design is inspired by the year of the American cause with 17 big lines and 76 small lines.
It is a beautiful watch with a lot of thought, care and craftmanship that went into creating it. So please, visit the watch tables, try them on, Instagram the shit out of it, #RebelAgainstTheUsual - tell your friends! Of course, reserve your own Diefendorff watch tonight at the lowest price we will offer again. And yes, we begin shipping in a few weeks!
But Diefendorff – the business - is more than just a single design or watch. It is modern American watch company for people who do life differently. It’s for those who don’t need to rebel against a king, but rebel against the usual, rebel against being a cliché, so that they can proudly define their own difference.
As far as I know, I am the only descendant in the room of Henry Diefendorff, but I make no special claim to his story. He died 241 years ago, but it’s a modern story because his story is just as much a part of yours as it is mine. Whether your ancestors pre-date the Mayflower or you were naturalized this afternoon - the American experiment and the American experience are all of ours. Our responsibility is to stand up for and in response to the siren calls of the ringing bells of the four freedoms every human deserves – the freedom of speech, freedom of worship but just as important the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. Especially in these times.
In that spirit, we are a company built on being different. I’m happy to say I’m going to announce two of our commitments in doing so, right now. First, we recently conducted an analysis and have offset our emissions from our operations – we are presently the world’s only carbon neutral watch company.
Second, months ago we made a promise to give back 10% of profits to charity. It was a little awkward of a commitment since we didn’t have any watches or customers at that time. But since then, we’ve been hard at work and are announcing our charitable giving program, the Five Freedoms Initiative. As part of it, we are inviting our customers who will be chosen at random, to select a charity of their choice to receive a donation from Diefendorff. Our first customer Josh S., is here tonight and I’m happy to say he has selected The Nature Conservancy to receive his charitable donation.
That brings us here to today and why we’re here at Fraunces Tavern. As some of you may know, it is one of the oldest pubs in the city where the Sons of Liberty met to hatch plans and where General George Washington, yes that George Washington, bid farewell to his officers after winning the war and before he retired for a short time to his plantation in Virginia.
While the night is not over, this gratitude speech is. I only ask two things of you. First, please stay, enjoy yourself and continue to be our guest. See Nika finish the painting. But the second thing is that I ask each of you to lift your glass as we toast the celebration of the night in the final words and spirit of a retiring General Washington who said:
"With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy, as your former ones have been glorious and honorable."
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