Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Clara Pozzetti is a designer, Yoga and Pilates personal trainer and owner and creative director of Clara Pozzetti Design Studio, a multidisciplinary studio based in Milano, Italy. She is co-founder of Breath, a wearable tech company based in Milan. Her specialties are brand content, concept design, corporate identity, design strategy, direction, project managing.
What is the idea behind Breath! project and how did you come up with it?
The idea behind Breath! was born out of my 12 years experience as a Yoga and Pilates trainer where I could see that getting the right breathing is the most difficult exercise to perform, while trying to teach students to visualise their breath to improve it. Starting from this awareness, the idea behind the Breath! project was born. Essentially, the idea was to design a system compound of smart garment, an APP and a visual signal that reveals graphic patterns in relation to the respiratory excursion of the wearer.
Tell us about your background and your other projects so far.
Besides being a co-founder of Breath!, I’m also a designer and owner and Creative Director at Clara Pozzetti Design Studio, a multidisciplinary studio based in Milan. Our area of interest is concept design, consultancy and creative direction working on the AG Fronzoni's method. I graduated in Design at Polytechnic University of Milan with a degree in cultural marketing titled "The museum entrepreneur" where my focus was cultural projects, corporate and institutional customers. After graduating, I attended the international and multidisciplinary school / workshop of Maestro AG Fronzoni. I’m also a freelance consultant since 2004, and have collaborated with brands like Mipel, Milano Triennale, Pitti, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, TDK, and many more. I’m also a stylist, photographer, blogger, web editor and freelance journalist from 2002 working with editorial and press offices in the design, fashion and architecture field, Master Teacher in exhibit design at Polytechnic University of Milan and at the moment I am working on building my own brand, designing fashion and design collection and in general always looking for new challenges. :)
When did all start with Breath! project and do you have other members in your team?
It all started about a year ago, from an unexpected meeting with Samuele Polistina, one of my partners and co-founders. We had never met each other before, although we both studied at the Polytechnic University of Milan. One chat led to another, I was telling him about the collection I was planning to design for the Yoga and Pilates practice for which the engineering part was missing. He then told me about how he and his partner Paolo Belluco, IT engineer, were working on a similar project where stylistic and design part was missing. We organised a meeting and realised our projects were quite similar. Shortly after, Luca Orlandi and Alessia Moltani of the ComfTech company joined the team and are now our partners in terms of production.
We are a multidisciplinary team: engineers, researchers, designers and teachers, this is our strength, the importance of the team is the key lesson we learned along the way.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
About a year.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The major obstacle to the development of especially innovative projects that include integrated technology are undoubtedly economic resources, so we will soon start with the crowdfunding campaign that will not only allow us to test the public's interest in the product, but also to produce enough units of the product without making a warehouse and this very important for an early stage startup like ours.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
In our case, technology helps to solve a problem that until now was tried to be solved in analogical way, in fact, in Yoga practice and even more in Pilates, teacher guides students vocally throughout the lesson, telling a sort of Mantra, bringing them to visualise as much as possible their own body, muscles, heartbeat, posture, but above all: breathing. With the help of technology we believe we can solve this problem in a better way.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in?
Our niche is very big, we talk about 200 millions of yogis worldwide, 37 millions in US and 2 millions only in Italy. In our industry, the biggest challenge is to make a high-tech product, especially having in mind that yogis are particularly sensitive to purity, nature and sustainability.
How about being a female founder and entrepreneur?
Being a female entrepreneur is the other biggest challenge, it is stimulating and difficult at the same time. I cannot deny that especially in Italy there’s still resistance and preconceptions, especially if we deal with technology, at the same time I also see a lot of attention towards women entrepreneurs.
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
Networking, support, visibility and the opportunity to express yourself are the greatest value of these platforms. To meet and be in touch with other women who face the same challenges, succeeding excellently and taking on important roles, demonstrating and confirming the quality we can bring.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?
To always believe in your dreams!
What are some of the trends you see coming up in the next 5 years?
- Mainstream phenomenon of wearable and smart garments
- Augmented reality massified: from niche to mainstream phenomenon
- Fem-tech revolution: new entrepreneurs are implementing tech-centric tech products for women
- Production 4.0: a further advancement of mass customization that will revolutionize shopping and the price system
- The new lifestyle of luxury: Ethics, sustainability, new values...
- Luxury anti-luxury: new generations who live luxury not as traditional comfort but as an experience for new physical and intellectual challenges
- Luxury created in the laboratory: from fabrics to precious metals the tendency to use materials created in the laboratory is growing, with low environmental impact and with the use of ecological chemicals
Who are your inspirational women in wearable tech and health tech?
- Anouk Wipprecht, fashion tech designer (Netherlands)
- Yao Lining, Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science - Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Facebook: Breath! project
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LinkedIn: Breath! project
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.