ENC senior student Jose Ruiz-Gomez co-owns his own watch business, called Joago. He decided to start this environmentally friendly business about a year and a half ago because it involves his two passions, the ocean as well as the environment. He shared, “you can either work your whole life for someone else’s idea or you can work with your own idea.”

Traveling to Indonesia really helped Jose solidify his idea for the company. He was able to find the right suppliers of recycled materials, which he explained was a very hard part of the startup process. The company’s team consists of three college students from Boston who are working hard to reduce marine plastic pollution in a cost-effective way.

Joago currently sells three different models of watches. They use the waste from pineapples, plastic water bottles, and other recycled materials to manufacture them. They also work with non-profits to ensure that 20% of the plastic they are using to create their watches actually comes from the ocean’s pollution. They advertise through Instagram, radio stations in Spain, and influencers. The team has created an email list that family, friends, and customers can subscribe to for important announcements as well.

The company’s current website joagaowatches.com shares the concept of their business but unfortunately does not sell its products yet. Right now they are only selling by face to face interactions and through pop-up events. To grow the business, they hope to start by increasing the customer base with the launch of the company website, for which they have partnered with Kickstart. Partnering with this crowdfunding platform, they will be able to sell their products online and bring their project to life. They also look to produce recycled shoes, sunglasses, and clothing in the coming years.

Owning a business is not a normal thing for an average college student. It can be very difficult to balance academic responsibilities while also trying to run a business. Ruiz-Gomez said, “sometimes I focus more on the business than my schoolwork, maybe if I didn’t have the business, I would get better grades.” However, he is still learning a lot and getting great experience in the business world. Ruiz-Gomez has high hopes for the future of his company and is excited to launch his own website in the near future.

Contact him at jose.m.ruiz-gomez@lions.enc.edu if you’d like to join his initiative to save the oceans!