Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Mariana Queiroz is Women of Wearables Ambassador in São Paulo. She is founder and CEO of Divaholic - a content and consulting platform that can solve big problems based on multi-disciplinary strategy and ideas, for brands who wish to implement wearable technology in their products, making clothing a key tool for user experience design.
Over the last three years she has also developed workshops and courses about fashion technology, electronic sewing, 3D printing, biotechnology and sustainability, where more than 200 students have graduated, 95% of them women - who are the majority of their audience.
What is the idea behind Divaholic and how did you come up with it?
Divaholic ® is a Content platform / Strategic Consulting / Small hybrid hot shop that can solve big problems based on multi-disciplinary strategy and ideas. All innovation capabilities to manage clients and projects that have the wearable tech as part of their core. We deliver complete wearable tech solutions (among others), from briefing to prototype. The innovation process involves concept, research, ideation, development, etc. Through a careful professionals curatorship, we set up built-to-purpose ninja teams!
Important to say that in the last 3 years our startup has also developed workshops and courses about fashion technology, electronic sewing, 3D printing, biotechnology and sustainability. We wanna bring our knowledge to as many as possible people. We have already graduated more than 200 students, 95% of them are women - who are the majority of our audience. All genres are welcome, but the courses are developed under the women-first mindset.
We also own a website where we share content with the world. There are more than 110k followers in the social networks and monthly reach of thousands of unique users (95% women). The mission of the website is: bring a content curation capable of inspiring women showing a little of everything that is cool in the world of wearables and innovation, share the latest news, new technologies, new ways of thinking. It is informing, causing curiosity about new things, arousing interest in innovative and creative solutions, encouraging the segment, etc. The website inspire changes publishing the latest research and providing content and insights to awaken the interest of women, consumers, brands, startups and designers about new wearable technologies and sustainability in fashion tech design scene.
We offer creative / strategic consulting and co-creation / co-management / project development for brands who wish to implement wearable technology in their products, making clothing a key tool for user experience design. We generate insights and strategic / creative / technical direction for brands that wish to enter the technology segment for fashion and other industries.
When did all start and do you have other members in your team?
We started in the middle of 2015! On the company's main board we are 2 members, myself (Mariana) and my partner Andre. I graduated in Fashion Design in 2014, and I've already worked as fashion designer in baby clothing market and women's fashion. I also have more than 5 years of practical experience in direction of creation, cool hunting and project management of wearable technology - among others.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
It's a long way full of obstacles. We took more than 3 years to get the current stage. Many sleepless nights and many under eye dark circles. :)
What was the biggest obstacle?
Start a new ambitious business in a country experiencing the biggest economic and political crisis in its history. In Brazil all laws and regulations are made to hinder and create immense barriers for the entrepreneur. We are survivors, and the achievement is reach success taking attention of industries' leaders, the mass and waking up interest in this ecosystem.
What are your projects you are currently working on?
Specifically for the Fashion Tech segment, we are working internally on a wearable device that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to send several types of feedback to the user, as well as working with a new non-intrusive and optional platform for content distribution - which operates according to the person's vital signs.
We just finished requirement gathering and analysis and we will begin the code design.
We are also working on brand new courses and training programs for women who wish to join the world of fashion technology in 2019!
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Our clients, the hundreds of women we help to educate in our free courses and workshops since 2015, and also all the women who are inspired daily in our website.
How did you find out about Women of Wearables?
Searching by news and partners in the wearable tech segment. During this research process I found a very interesting article on the platform.
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
Yes, it is very important the rise of new platforms to publicize and show the talent and importance that women have in this market. Connecting this feminine power is important and rewarding for all the women involved, including me.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
One of the biggest challenges is being in constantly learning, with fast knowledge recycling capacity and have a multidisciplinary skills. About being a female entrepreneurs it's fundamental be resilient and focused on my goals. Be curious, don't be afraid, stay hungry in the pursuit of new knowledge every day and believe at yourself.
What is the most important advice you can give to all female founders and entrepreneurs?
Be resilient and focused on your goals. Be curious, always recycle yourself and be hungry in the pursuit of new knowledge every day.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in wearable tech and fashion tech?
Iris Van Herpen, Clara Daguin and Pauline Van Dongen. They are big women with inspirational techniques and purposes in movement of tech and fashion.
How does the tech ecosystem look in Sao Paulo?
São Paulo is the biggest city of Brazil and Latin America, in terms of size and economic power. Everything happens here! Due to its huge size and diversity, São Paulo concentrates naturally an vibrant ecosystem composed by technology companies, startups, entrepreneurs, devs, early adopters, tech savvy people, enthusiastics, events, etc. On the other hand, Brazil is far behind of big centers as USA, Europe and Asia in many aspects. There's a evident delay of industries in terms of investment, research and development when compared with others countries. The good news is that we are moving forward gradually, with new initiatives and projects coming up at all times. So we see a huge opportunity for WoW: the opportunity to grow together with the country! We believe that São Paulo is the perfect cot to this partnership birth in Brazil, creating a synergy where both can walking together building new and important tech initiatives.
What will be your main goals as Women of Wearables Ambassador in Sao Paulo?
As ambassador my main goal will be to help train, empower and foment the development and growth of women in the national setting of wearable technology and emerging technologies through a range of actions such as workshops, talks, micro-activations, activations, strategic partnerships, brand collaborations, among many others. We are planning various initiatives and partnerships to strengthen and empower the female tech community in Brazil, bringing together professionals, students, entrepreneurs and even those who have never had the opportunity to interact intimately with technology.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech and fashion tech industries in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
Wearable and Fashion Tech shall be integrated with Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, 3D Print, Blockchain, Biohacking, and many others technologies working together giving us updates anytime anywhere.
Social media handles:
Mariana Queiroz - LinkedIn
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.