Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Gaby Jesson is a London based Marketing & Comms Director, founder of TechLuxe Collective. Following her English and Communications degree, she started her career as a journalist at The Guardian. The development of the sports and youth marketing industry led her to start a career in brand communications working for clients including Nike, Puma, the NBA, England Football Team, Coca Cola, Timberland and the Bafta Awards. In 2000, she co-founded her own London based PR agency, Radiator Communications and led growth through developing an international network, influencer seeding division and the launch of a youth insights team called Radar. The agency won numerous awards and worked for clients including Nike, Thomas Cook, Sprite, Coca Cola, Casio, Timex, Sweaty Betty and Swatch. In 2016, Gaby launched her own consulting agency The Prospect Society, enabling her to work with a network of freelancers and pursue her own personal consulting work for brands as diverse as digital startups to virtual reality projects for HTC and Tate Modern. TechLuxe Collective was launched in 2018 as a fan and influencer platform, sharing passion and enthusiasm for technology design and innovation.
What is the idea behind Tech Luxe Collective and how did you come up with it?
Tech Luxe Collective is a society dedicated to celebrating awesome design in technology. I was inspired by societies of the past where members had the time and the inclination to gather and celebrate artists, writers and scientific discoveries.
Through instagram and live events, TLC will bring together influencers, designers and those moved by great design within technology.
When did it all start and do you have other members in your team?
It probably started with my passion for tech design and an 18 year career in brand building and communications. I have had the opportunity to work with many brands in technology from Nike sports tech to a recent Tate Modern virtual reality exhibition. I recognized there are so many design led tech innovations that deserve recognition and celebration.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Tech Luxe Collective is brand new but I am proud of my recent tech related projects including consultancy for a range of digital startups, the launch of Plexal technology campus at the Olympic Park and prior to that, running a communications agency for 16 years, specializing in engaging brands with a youth audience.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
Things are changing fast and over my career, I have worked with both female and male entrepreneurs – each with their individual skills and challenges! I do feel a real momentum for celebrating and encouraging women in technology – its an exciting time of change and growth!
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
Absolutely! The doors are opening and there is a new and growing recognition for females doing great work in the tech sector.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?
Keep going! The challenges for starting any business are sometimes hard going and great entrepreneurs are resilient and single-minded. I would also encourage young female entrepreneurs to curate an expert mentor team. Seek out and listen to advice – its invaluable to hear from people who have been on a similar journey.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
Naturally, great looking design has to go at the top of my list!. I believe that new wearable tech product has to combine high performance with aesthetics. Getting the design & style right is hugely important for driving desire which plays a major role in consumer decision making. But pricing will also play a bigger role. Consumers no longer see wearable technology as a premium investment – just look at the huge range of cheap fitness trackers now!
Who are your 3 inspirational women in tech?
I admire Emily Brooke – the founder of Blaze (cycle lights). She is a great example of business resilience and how a useful idea can lead to a global commercial success.
I visited the offices of Unruly recently – the advertising agency using tech and human emotional intelligence. Former CEO Sarah Wood led the sale of the agency and is now Chairman. Her attitude to work, balancing family life and most importantly, positive people culture is honest and refreshing.
I met Ghislaine Boddington last year on a design project. She is one of those rare visionary people driving the fusion between technology and creativity.
LinkedIn: Gaby Jesson
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.