Christina d’Avignon is the founder and CEO of Ringly.
What is “the story” behind Ringly? Where did the idea behind Ringly’s smart wear come from?
I often found myself checking my phone at inopportune moments – such as dinner with my family and friends, meetings at work, or on vacation. At the time, I was working at a startup and I worried that if I put my phone away, I would miss important calls and messages. I’ve always had an affinity for jewelry, so one day I got to thinking – what if I could make my jewelry smart and have it help me? This revelation led to the launch of Ringly in 2014, the first line of smart jewelry for women.
What was the process of designing Ringly products like?
The first thing we focused on was the design of the rings. We knew they needed to be fun, fashionable pieces that women would not only want to wear, but could seamlessly integrate into their day-to-day style. This fashion-first approach continues to set us apart from other tech companies, who have since entered the smart jewelry arena. Secondly, we had to miniaturize our technology to make it feel discreet. We didn’t want something that was bulky and techy or replaced your phone in any way. That balance has been challenging, but it’s also part of the fun.
Did any person or company inspire the decision to pursue Ringly?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial and knew I wanted to run my own company one day. Before Ringly I worked at a machine learning startup called Hunch. That experience was really impactful and helped me realize that pursuing my passions and working in a small team with people you admire was the right path forward.
What advice do you have for young women who are interested in starting their own company?
Ringly has been successful because it was born out of a problem I saw in the world that I wanted to solve. Some of the most successful female business owners I know have similar stories. If you’re a young woman looking to start a company, I would focus first on a problem that you’re really passionate about and don’t be afraid to take the leap.
Do you think it is important for young women interested in fashion to have a tech background?
We have a running joke in the office that Ringly employees span from MIT (tech development side of the business) to FIT (fashion design side of the business). I have a degrees in both fine art and human computer interaction, but that doesn’t mean that one industry is more important than the other. That said, the fashion industry is always evolving to keep up with advances in technology, so young women interested in fashion should definitely pay attention to the latest tech trends and always be on the lookout for ways to include technology in fashion.
Who would you say is the typical Ringly customer?
The Ringly customer loves both tech and fashion and is looking to lead a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. She is determined to worry less about her phone and eager to redirect her attention to the things in her life that matter most.
What are some new products or styles on the horizon for Ringly?
We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline, including the launch of our new Aries Collection, a line of smart bracelets and rings that will include notification alerts with added activity tracking functions. Over the next year we are planning to introduce more Ringly styles with new settings and gems. We’re always looking for new ways to expand our collection and plan to add new features and functionality to our mobile experience.
Contributor: Clare Connaughton