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Meet Michael Westerband of Timelapse in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Westerband.

Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Personally, I think life is so fluid and everything ties together in such a way that if I really wanted to begin at the start of my story it would be shortly after birth when I started playing the drums at three years old. Ever since then music has been an important part of my life, and while I decided to not pursue playing drums as a career, I need to credit my passion for music to lead me to where I am today. I played drums in the jazz band during middle and high school, which led me to eventually get a music scholarship to Northwestern University.

When I was in college I had initially planned on taking a more traditional route and wanted to go into investment banking, but my father ended up passing unexpectedly during my senior year which made me really reconsider what life means and what I wanted to do during my time here on earth. It was then that I thought that a more traditional route just wasn’t for me, and I felt I could have more of an impact in the world somehow through entrepreneurship, although I didn’t really know what it meant at the time. Eventually, it all came together.

About six years ago after attending my first music festival, a group of friends and I decided that we wanted to throw our own events and curate our own lineups. We’d been noodling with the idea for some time before then, but it finally came to pass when I just said that I’m done talking about it and we decided to take action to finally throw our first event. After a lot of hard work, it finally came together with over 1000 people attending our first ever event.

From there, various promoters and agents contacted us asking to work together, including my friend and business partner Cyril Bitar who founded and heads the event company I’m a partner of, Underrated Presents, along with our other dear friend, Jordan Ziv. Fast forward a couple years, and one day a different one of my friends found an old watch part at his parent’s house that he threw on a chain and gave to me as a pendant after being inspired by his mother’s jewelry-making hobby. I thought it was such a unique an interesting piece that we decided to start selling similar pieces at our music events.

Eventually, it got to the point where they grew in popularity so much that I decided that it had to be taken to the next level from a product to a full brand, and thus Timelapse Co. was officially born. Just like my passion for music which started my journey into the music event world, Timelapse Co. was started out of a passion for building and design, which is why my team builds all of our products ourselves right in our own full-service Downtown Los Angeles facility instead of outsourcing our manufacturing to another country. For me, our pieces are not only fashionable but symbolic – a constant reminder to enjoy life to the fullest and live in the present moment since it’s really all we ever have.

Timelapse Co. started at first with only pendants made from vintage and antique watch movements, but now our collections have grown beyond that to include rings, bracelets, fashion belts, and much more, and it’s still very much just the beginning.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing, but if I’m honest as I look back I realize that the road bumps I’ve encountered have in many ways been constructive in one way or another and have only served as a push to new heights. We’ve faced our fair shares of business challenges just as any startup does, from things within our control to things outside of our control as well.

On a personal level, one thing I mentioned previously was the passing of my father, which was extremely difficult for me at the time given where I was in life, just as I was coming out of school and into the “real world.” It really made me think about the type of person I want to become and the impact I want to leave, which is still constantly evolving.

Being at the helm of a business is challenging in and of itself, and I can say that so far many of the hardest challenges we’ve faced as a business have been reflections of personal challenges, from how to properly manage and motivate our teams to how to continually grow and deepen relationships. But ultimately, we believe that anything we’re faced with we can eventually overcome, so at the end of the day, life and business are rosy!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Timelapse Co. story. Tell us more about the business.
As a brand, Timelapse Co. is known for our precious metal jewelry featuring unique time-related designs that inspire you to live in the moment. Some of our most central pieces feature non-functional watch parts and movements dating as far back as the mid-1800’s shortly after the invention of the wristwatch. In that sense, our internal teams sometimes ironically refer to them as “timeless timepieces.”

We pay homage to the great horologists and designers of times past and present, while also taking great pride in our work and products so much so that we manufacture all of our pieces in-house here in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing overseas. But aside from what our products are and how we make them, what we’re most proud of is what our brand stands for and what it represents.

Our brand stands to inspire you to discover for yourself what time means to you and live life to the fullest. Given that our pieces don’t actually tell time in the sense of the hour and minute of the day, it tells the only time that matters – right now.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
This is a tough one… I hold the beliefs that while we can’t literally make our own luck, we can be as prepared as possible for when lucky opportunities come into our lives, whether it’s meeting the right people at the right time or realizing that certain things have fallen into place. I don’t think it’s some magical, esoteric thing that some people just happen to be born with and others happen to lack.

I think luck begins in our own minds and in many ways is related to how much we open our own worlds to meeting new people or experiencing new things. Some things that I’ve perceived to be as unlucky I’ve realized were later manifestations of things set in motion at some past date. And some of the things I’ve perceived to be unlucky at one time or another were actually blessings in disguise.

Luck (whether perceived to be good or bad) does play a role in life to a large degree though, as I know there’s more that’s outside of our own personal control than within our control. I’d like to say that things have mostly been good, though, thankfully!

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