We’re switching things up in CF’s The Boardroom this week to highlight breaking news & updates on designers & founders I’ve exclusively interviewed for FORBES. All are on a mission to support career women.
- Ringly, a leader in the wearable tech space, recently, announced an expansion to its product line to now include ‘smart’ bracelets. Fusing fashion and function for women continues to be at the forefront for the growing company. “It is our belief that your jewelry should not only be beautiful, but also smart,” says Ringly Founder & CEO Christina Mercando d’Avignon. Discover elegant designs integrated with the same high-tech features as Ringly rings, so you can keep discreetly updated on incoming phone calls, messages, emails, and 100+ apps while on-the-go. The new Aries bracelets also have a convenient, built-in step-tracking feature. Four different bracelet styles ($195) crafted with hand-cut, semi-precious gemstones are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship in late July.
- Remember when the Obama’s hosted a State Dinner for new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a short time ago – the visit marks the first official state visit from a CPM in nearly 20 years? Well, Zvelle shoe designer Elle Ayoubzadeh had the opportunity to create custom shoes for Canada’s First Lady Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau for the event seen here and here. “It was a big honour for us to be asked,” says Canadian-based Ayoubzadeh. Zvelle’s dedication and commitment to provide stylish, comfortable career women’s shoes at accessible prices are paying off globally. Certainly an exciting moment for a fashion startup (or any brand for that matter)!
- Michaela Jedinak founder of namesake clothing company, Michaela Jedinak, who passionately dresses professional women around the world (including actors playing career women on TV!), recently, had an equally exhilarating experience. She customized her Bailey dress for media powerhouse Tina Brown to wear while hosting her annual Women in the World Summit last month. This marks the second year in a row these two have collaborated for the event on the fashion front. Also, check out this great photo of Jedinak’s London based design team. Isn’t it great to see women supporting one another?!
- Workwear Starter Kits for entry-level professionals were just launched by NYC’s career fashion brand Of Mercer. “Our first two starter kits, “The Intern” and “The Graduate”, will provide a full go-to outfit that can be worn a number of different ways for various dress codes and occasions,” says Of Mercer founders Dorie Golkin Smith and Emelyn Northway. The digital company continues to sell online, but it did expand shopping options for customers by opening their first store in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood earlier this year. Bonus: Of Mercer hosts regular in-store events featuring other career-minded women like former Gilt CEO Susan Lynne and BaubleBar Co-Founder Daniella Yacobovsky. Starter Kits are now available here. Great graduation gift idea!
- Dynamo Cynthia Salim and founder of Citizen’s Mark, an international fashion brand focused on designing luxurious businesswear at accessible prices while using ethical manufacturing practices, is busy getting ready to travel the globe to share her modern blazer jackets with women around the world. This former McKinsey & Company consultant and policy advocate at the United Nations turned fashion entrepreneur has gone to significant sourcing lengths – she spent more than two years vetting suppliers and manufacturers to produce her high-quality brand’s apparel. Salim steadfastly continues her mission to empower all women on the rise.
- Pack your bags! Former Warby Parker execs Jen Rubio and Steph Korey launch AWAY, a new e-luggage brand that will change the way you travel. AWAY’s debut product is a carry-on suitcase that solves many of the headaches of modern travel. It merges beautiful & thoughtful design with quality materials and tech-infused features, like a battery to charge your phone or tablet while you’re on the go. Plus, selling directly online allows AWAY to cut out the middleman, avoid retail markups, and pass the savings along directly to customers. Frustrated with the lack of reasonable options, Rubio and Korey are on a mission with AWAY, “We saw a gap in the market for luggage that’s beautiful, functional, and affordable, and on a higher level, for a travel brand that speaks to and understands the way people truly travel today.” AWAY is opening a summer-long (May 19-August 31) travel pop-up concept store on Lafayette Street in NYC featuring The Carry-On, plus special collaborations and weekly programming events. Bon voyage!
- Of course, travel (biz or pleasure) wouldn’t be the same without packing something from Jia Collection. Trailblazing designer Jia Li creates stylish, innovative, convertible fashions, including reversible knitwear. It’s like getting two (or more) outfits in one. Super comfortable, super convenient, and super versatile fashions. Li shares more on the benefits of travel knitwear. Her passion and commitment to making life easier on the fashion front for multitasking women is inspiring, infectious, and greatly appreciated.
- Cuyana, a frontier in the #fewerbetter, minimalist movement founded by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah, just released some amazing, new items guaranteed to inspire your summer travel wardrobe and beyond. Check out these striking, hand-woven straw hats made in Ecuador; elegant, canvas-leather overnight & weekender bags made in Turkey; and SF-based Cuyana’s bestselling, superior-quality tote bags in new seasonal colors; plus tons more. “We design with a woman in mind who needs pieces that transform seamlessly from work to weekend, from office to travel: a woman who appreciates quality, values design, and seeks versatility. These are all tenets embodied by every piece we make,” says Gallardo and Shah. Also, be sure and stop by Cuyana’s DC popup store open now thru May 22nd if you’re in the area.
- Heard of White Rabbit yet? It’s an exciting, new lingerie brand sold exclusively online, so as to develop high quality designs at lower price points, which is committed to making shopping for lingerie easy for women. I sampled White Rabbit’s inaugural collection of eco-friendly panties in both brief & thong styles and found the fabrications to be extremely soft next to the skin…something you want to wear…and the quality to be excellent. Plus, the lace has superior stretch. Reportedly, 25% more than other brands. “We seek to provide a great product at a great value all the time, so that a busy woman never has to worry about getting her underwear. Before working on White Rabbit, I was a loyal Hanky Panky user. Working in consulting, their lace thongs were the best solution for me since they never showed and were just easy – however, I was always looking for the next sample sale to get these at a discount,” reveals White Rabbit Founder Mariana Hernandez.
- BIG congrats to Scentbird!! The NYC digital fragrance company, often referred to as the ‘Netflix for Perfume’, recently, raised an additional $2.8 million in funding. “We’re seeing a huge difference in how women are using perfume. They may still say they are looking for a “signature perfume” but it doesn’t mean wearing the same perfume for the rest of your life. It’s the “signature” that fits their mood, their style right now. They are enjoying discovering scents; they are looking to make a statement. In fact, I read some recent research about how over half of millennial women switch perfumes in the middle of the day,” shares Scentbird Co-Founder & CMO Rachel ten Brink.
- Rank & Style’s got big news too! The founding team, who developed a bias-free algorithm to find the best fashion & beauty products available online, is handing over the reins to a new trio of smart women, Austin-based entrepreneurs Jamie Chandlee, Beth Newill, and Dalton Young, in partnership with current Facebook Global VP Blake Chandlee. “We plan to build upon the previous success of Rank & Style by launching into additional categories later this year as well as focusing on overall growth for the company. Our users have been so passionate about our ‘Top 10’ lists and the #1 request we receive is more content. Our users can expect new categories this fall such as maternity, bridal and menswear. Rank & Style set out to rank the world and that’s exactly what we plan to do,” says new Rank & Style CEO Chandlee.
- Iconery, the online fine jewelry marketplace (without the retail markups) founded by former eBay exec Ivka Adam, recently, launched new exclusive jewelry collaborations, including Luv AJ x Iconery and Stone Fox Bride x Iconery. The company’s innovative use of 3D printing technology allows them to support both consumers and creators. This is LA-based jewelry designer Amanda Thomas from Luv AJ’s first foray into fine jewelry. For the exclusive collaboration, Thomas chose brand favorites and bestsellers like the Cross Hoop Earrings, and reinterpreted them in 14k gold. She also crafted designs from her spring 2016 line like the Diamond Kite Choker using fine materials. Designer Molly Guy of Stone Fox Bride, referred to as the queen of bohemian bridal, united with Iconery to further express her effortless aesthetic in the fine jewelry space. The line, including the Sapphire Crescent Diamond Pendant Necklace, is inspired by Surya, the Hindu sun god, along with Victorian themes.
- Familiar with Zola? Well, if you’re getting married (or know someone) then Zola, the online wedding registry, is a must! The company was founded by former Gilt Groupe execs. Yes, it’s true! “We’re the only registry that lets couples register directly for products (like a Vitamix), experiences (wine tastings) and cash funds (for that honeymoon), all in one beautifully designed, easy to use registry,” shares Zola Co-Founder & CEO Shan-Lyn Ma. Since Zola’s launch, over 100,000 couples have created a registry.
Corporate Fashionista’s ‘The Boardroom’ features the latest news in business and fashion geared towards the professional woman.