Best Little Design Empire

Winky Designs

Photo by Anthony Mair

Photo by Anthony Mair

Shop at any one of Winky Wu’s stores and you’re likely to be greeted by the owner herself. It’s part of her hands-on approach to nurturing the business, which she started as a creative alternative to a career counting beans on Wall Street.

Wu’s signature piece is the slap watch, which comes in a bewildering variety of fun designs. She also brings her modern, playful take to accessories such as belts, clutches and scarves, creating them in her Henderson office. She’s been running the wholesale and online business since January 2012, and her wares are on store shelves across the nation and overseas. In November, she opened her first retail space at Downtown Container Park, and followed it up with a pop-up store at Town Square that was open in May and June. She recently expanded to kiosks at the Fashion Show and Las Vegas Premium Outlets South, and is signed on to open at Bally’s new Grand Bazaar Shops later this year.

Las Vegas’ trade shows and conventions initially attracted Wu’s business-savvy mind—she’s got a master’s degree in accounting—but it’s the community that has kept her here, especially the loyal customer base at Container Park. “Container Park was always meant to be a small-businesses incubator for entrepreneurs,” Wu says. “It has done just that. It’s given us the confidence and the resources to expand into other retail locations.” – Jessi C. Acuña

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