Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Seetal Fatania is a senior brand and marketing professional and founder of J'adore Adorn, a luxury jewellery earphones company, giving women the best of both worlds. With over 15 years experience, her key strengths lie in delivering highly creative product and brand launches and her passion is to bring Fashion Tech innovations to mainstream consumers and champion the industry.
What is the idea behind your project / product and how did you come up with it?
At J’adore Adorn our jewelry earphones were created with women in mind who wanted the best of both worlds. At the time of my idea my earphones had broken and as I was looking for something different other than the standard plastic in-ear earphones. Having researched and spoken to friends and family I quickly realised a lack of stylish options, so in response to the growing demand of women wanting earphones that were luxurious and beautiful to wear, J’adore Adorn created innovative necklace style wireless earphones, giving women a hands free experience whilst looking stylish.
Each of our collections are designed around an expression, be it passion, beauty, rebellion or something deeper. They are created in admiration of women who want to showcase their individuality, each one a representation of their own inspiring tale.
Handmade with Swarovski Elements® crystals, the back of the shimmering pendant houses 3‐buttons to control your phone and connects via Bluetooth. With superior sound quality and noise cancelling technology, the ultra-lightweight headsets elegantly fasten with a magnetic clip to a necklace of 18KT gold coated beads. They are compatible with all smartphones allowing you to listen to music, answer phone calls and even connect to Siri.
When did it all start and do you have other members in your team?
I launched the jewellery earphones summer of 2016 and it took approximately a year to bring them to market. Currently I have quite a lean team and work with a number of freelancers as and when I need to pull in different expertise.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle for me was bringing the idea and design to life. With hardware there are a number of challenges from manufacturing to certifying to logistics. My background is in marketing so having to learn about the technical side was definitely a challenge, especially as technological advances happen at the drop of a hat. Also I’m a perfectionist too so one of the challenges for me was getting the product out and remembering that you can always add more functions and features based on the consumer feedback.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
I have been very fortunate in that when I launched the jewellery earphones I managed to get them into Selfridges and Harrods, London which was really exciting. One of the biggest achievements was seeing the jewellery earphones and my company name in the window of Selfridges over the Christmas period!
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
I think one of biggest challenges was not having the technical expertise and background especially when dealing with manufacturers in Asia and Far East but I believe it’s possible to learn anything if you put your mind to it. I also learnt to acknowledge my strengths weaknesses and asking for help or pulling in the right expertise as and when I needed it. It’s important to stay motivated and be ready to pivot as often things will change as you start building your business.
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
Women in Tech movement is extremely important to me, we need to get to a place where this is the norm and women are an intrinsic part of STEM and not seen as a minority. It’s also important to see more women in tech as it helps to encourage and motivate girls from a young age. It will take time but I know we will get there because as a society it’s higher up on our agendas and we are much more vocal about it, which is great!
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with like-minded people. Be kind to each other and support other female founders, it’s really important to pay it forward and build each other up.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech and fashion tech industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
I think we will start to see a significant shift in smart accessories and garments moving towards innovations that really add value and enhance everyday life and human experiences. We will start to see the emergence of fashion tech innovations becoming an intrinsic and invisible part of everyday life such as health, safety and lifestyle. The use of kinetic & solar energy will also become more common alongside the creation of sustainable fabrics and production.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in wearable tech and fashion tech?
Natalie Massnet, founder of Net-a-Porter and now a non-executive co chairman at Farfetch.
Jennifer Hyman, co-founder of Rent the Runway
Barbara Cook- CEO and board member of Undercover Colour.
Well I am working on another super exciting project which will launch Q4 this year and am looking for designers that have created fashion tech accessories and garments that really add value or enhance consumer lives but still remain stylish! If this sounds like you then please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to have a chat with you.
LinkedIn: Seetal Fatania
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.