Welcome to our third podcast from the NRF Big Show a month ago. For this podcast I spoke with Dolly Singh, founder of Thesis Couture, and Alison Lewis, founder of Switch Embassy. We also had the privilege of re-joining with Monica Phromsavanh, Founder of Modabox. Dolly and Alison shared with us gorgeous, hi-tech items including: Thesis Couture’s first-of-its-kind scrappy, high-heels that are as beautiful for your back as they are for your feet; and covetable purses like a light, “soft, squishy,” nature-inspired, blue-tooth enabled leather clutch with LED lights and flexible display.
Our conversation spanned topics from how to gather and learn from one another as tech bosses (leveraging those “secret societies” out there) to what we wished our shoes could do in a dream world (flying, being able to hold our babies, you name it). One of my favorite statements of the discussion came from Dolly: “It’s desire that drives the world…I don’t want ugly shoes, I want shoes that make me feel like a million bucks…logic doesn’t prevail.” I couldn’t agree more!
What became so evident from our conversation is the importance of these women’s ability to communicate — better yet — translate to others. I immediately connected with that. So much of my role at Google is to decode and translate the true value of digital to our clients, or translate the user’s underlying motivation and needs to my creative and engineering counterparts.
The same is true for these women. Not only do they have an amazing sense of vision, but they have a strong ability to translate that vision to all the respective parties. These different parties often come from very very, different “worlds”, like Silicon Valley engineers and luxury Italian shoe designers. Alison named her company “Switch Embassy” because of the necessity to be able to pivot AND be “bi-lingual” (my words, not hers). She has to “speak” fashion AND tech in order to combine these two worlds. Her role is to really listen, translate and bridge all the expertise. In her words: “Tech guys don’t know how to talk to brands, and brands don’t know what to ask.”
We sometimes forget how valuable being a great translator and communicator truly is. We revere the creator, which, having grown up in the advertising world where the creative director is king, I get it. But without the ability to bring people together and to get them to see one another’s needs, aspirations and visions, nothing would come to fruition. As Monica pointed out, “it’s about getting things to market, not just creating them.” Without the ability to translate among many different teams, collaboration could never happen, and the final product would just be a nice image in someone’s head. I don’t know about you but I want those beautiful, hi tech purses and shoes in my hands and on my feet, not in my dreams! :).
For the full, fantastic conversation among these tech bosses, have a listen to our audio podcast.
And if you want to see the live version on camera, have fun watching this…again forgive us for the sound!