I’m really excited about bringing to you all our fourth podcast in our fashion-tech series of conversations from the NRF Big Show. For this discussion I had the honor of co-hosting with my hilarious and highly accomplished friend and ESPN exec, James Eschricht. We had a few amazing, brilliant and beautiful guests joining us in the fun, including Veronika Harbick, founder of Thursday Finest; Christina D’Avignon, founder and CEO of Ringly, and Betsy Fore, Founder and CEO of Wondermento.
This rapid-fire series of conversations were all about product, product, product. Like the earlier conversations, there was a lot of talk about aesthetics being key to the experience. In other words, if one of these fashion tech products doesn’t make me drool because it looks so damn good, it’s not worth it. That’s why Veronica focuses on customization. Thursday Finest is a 3D knitting company (check out the blue knit scarf worn by James in the Periscope video below — that’s one of their creations). The company produces the whole garment, i.e., no need for self-assembly. BUT you can choose the style and even order “granular” sizing (that’s a totally new term for me!). One of their best items? The knit tie. Yep, it’s back, and for all you fashion-forward guys, knit ties are super IN.
Ringly, a smart jewelry accessories brand — namely rings and bracelets — creates all their items with semi-precious stones so every product is unique. Again, the good have to look special, not just act it. As Christina, the CEO of Ringly, states: “So many of these types of products look gadgety and unisex, but that’s not the way men and women shop…I have to want to wear it even if it did nothing.” Even Wondermento gets this! The brand’s founder, Betsy, has created smart jewelry for pets. She showed off one of the products that’s like a “Fitbit” for dogs called Wonderwoof — oh, and it’s one of Oprah’s faves, BTW. This product let’s you track your dog and her exercise progress, and find other doggie friends. She can even compete for top dog status! My favorite line of our conversation: “I often get asked: ‘can I put this on my boyfriend?'” LOL
What’s super clear about these products, as the guests noted themselves, is that they are really defining a new category. They are, certainly, high-tech devices but also works of beauty. Many of them sell in top-end department stores and there’ often a debate by the retailers about which section of the store to sell them in. Should they been the jewelry section, tech section, watch section, you get it. How cool is it to be creating a whole new category, charting new courses, and having a ton of fun while doing it?!
But what eclipsed all the cool products, was Veronika’s uplifting and gracious story of gratitude. As an immigrant from Russia to the U.S., she realizes how fortunate she is to be in the U.S., and in New York in particular. She recognizes the value of hard work her but also appreciates the American spirit that buoys her. Her words: “People are really rooting for you.” While many of us complain about the U.S. being a country “divided,” let’s still remember this country is also a place where we can rise from being an immigrant to an amazing tech star, and do it with a spirit of encouragement and comradery around us.
Please click on the image to enjoy each of our three podcasts below.
Interview with Thursday Finest, Veronika Harbick
Interview with Ringly’s, Christina D’Avignon
Interview with Betsy Fore
And if you want to get a glimpse of our amazing guests and their fantastic products, click on our periscope video starting from the beginning until minute 25 or so. I have to confess the sound is very faint but you at least you can feast your eyes on some cool stuff!