Startup Of The Month: Women Of Wearables
Our Interview with Marija Butkovic Founder and CEO of Women of Wearables (WoW) aiming to connect and empower women in wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT and VR/AR.
Linkilaw has picked Women of Wearables, founded by Marija Butkovic as November’s Startup of the month. WoW connects and supports its growing community of women in the wearable tech industry through a variety of meetups, events and workshops.
So how did this industry transition work for her?
“Any experience is a good experience if you learn something from it.”
Marija claims that her 8-year background in corporate law that has helped her be more “analytical and detail-oriented” and has given her a clear understanding of the importance of the legal requirements in the tech industry.
The Gap In The Market
When growing her first business, Kisha Smart Umbrella, Marija realised there was a big gap in terms of support and connection in the wearable tech field for women. After being in the industry for two years, Marija only knew a handful of women. This lack of connection and visibility was damaging growth for women working in the tech and STEM industries. This spurred her to create Women of Wearables, Europe’s first organisation for women in wearable tech, which now counts over 8000 members in 20+ countries.
The making and success of Kisha also emphasised the need for fashion accessories to become disrupted. Kisha, that sells 33 million umbrellas a year in the US alone, was proof that a network of connections between women in tech industries would allow more disrupted creations to flourish. WoW helps give women the support and foundation that they otherwise would not have.
So What Drives Wow?
“Knowing that we are not alone in the challenges we face being in the wearable tech industry. Understanding our community’s challenges and striving to make it just a bit easier for them by helping them any way we can using our experience and network is the biggest reward for me and my team.”
As Marija has learned from Kisha, building tech wearables are always hard and require time and patience. Therefore “support and team spirit” is one of the most important things in driving this process. WoW, can provide that crucial reinforcement at the early stages of a business.
Marija gradually moved from law to tech by initially mentoring startups and entrepreneurs. The biggest challenge in her shift to this industry was learning a lot in short amounts of time. Being the CEO of a startup required an ability to multitask and be the jack of all trades. She claims that many are also not aware of their unconscious biases.
“When I first started in tech, I had that imposter syndrome, since I didn’t have a degree in tech, and it seemed to me this was a prerequisite to succeed.”
Lack of female role models in this industry was also difficult as it is important for women who do not feel good enough to have someone to look up to. It was for this purpose that WoW was designed to help women feel empowered.
What Do You Think Of This Month’s Startup?
You can find out more about WoW and how to get involved here. Find out more here by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.