Fitbits get stylish with Startup bytten

Jodi Slater has always been into technology and design. She feels lucky to have found a career that she is passionate about and derives energy from smaller teams who are building something from the ground up. She was part of a start-up in Cambridge called Anyday.com. The company was acquired by Palm Inc. in 2000 and she ended up running the Design and User Experience team at Palm for about 5 years. She had a 10 year stint as a digital strategy consultant at Monitor / Marketspace working with a range of brands to help them figure out what to do online and how to integrate social media into their marketing mix.

After that she co-founded gloss48, an eCommerce site that connects indie beauty brands with the beauty junkies of the world. She launched gloss48 last year, came up with the idea for bytten in February of this year and launched in August.

What is bytten?

 

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“Our mission is to make wearable technology beautiful, inspiring people to lead healthier lives. To support this mission, we launched bytten.com and bytten on Etsy, which serve as both a marketplace and community for discovering and shopping fashion tech products and meeting their creators. We love interacting with our customers and learning what they like and don’t like and making sure that our products meet their needs – not just our own. As someone who has always been passionate about customer experience the ability to connect directly with consumers as we grow this brand is what is helping to fuel our passion and our success” Jodi says.

Their team consists of a handful of people who are efficient; Jodi says that it wouldn’t be possible without the help of Lucas Goossens and Melissa Coito who have really helped her bring this concept to life. She and Melissa have been working together for years – first at MarketspaceNext (a boutique digital strategy consulting practice) where she was a research analyst, and now at bytten.

“Although I am obsessed with jewelry and am a  ‘collector’ of sorts, I am not a jewelry designer. I was extremely lucky to be introduced to the awesome and very talented Lucas Goossens by a good friend. We collaborated on our first two collections for bytten (the Matisse, and the Lucas collections). I am also working with Jaclyn Mayer – another exceptional designer on a collection that is launching soon, as well as working with other emerging and established designers on some new work.” She says.

Bytten aims to design beautiful products to help people lead healthier lives. Equally as important, it is a brand that is focused on understanding and responding to customer needs and wants. Simply put, the team wants to co-create the brand along with its customers through constant feedback and improvisations.

“I believe that Customer Experience is the next frontier of competitive advantage (thank you Jeffrey Rayport) and bytten is a brand that is built on that premise. I want bytten customers to be more than happy – I want them to be delighted by their experience. And we truly care what they think. Without them, we don’t exist.” She says.

Having used a Fitbit to track her sleep pattern initially, she quickly became interested in the data, it generally provided. But she wasn’t happy with the band from a style perspective.

“The inspiration came because although I liked the data and I didn’t mind wearing it when I was working out, it didn’t quite fit from a style perspective. I remember we did a photo shoot for my last start up (Gloss48) and I forgot to take off my Fitbit. Every time I looked at the photo I saw it there next to my watch looking out-of-place. I thought – there must be a way to make this look more like jewelry than a plastic band. And bytten was born” She adds.

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What were their challenges?

Being a new startup their everyday decisions were – what product to develop next, what price to charge, what materials will sell the most. It is sometimes mind-boggling. The biggest hurdle right now is that they don’t have historical data to base their production plans.  “To accurately forecast demand would take some creative ‘math’, and a bit of luck.” Slater says. “We are working on that right now as we have a few exciting opportunities in the next couple of months that will give us a lot more exposure.”

Bytten tries to make wearable technology more beautiful and functional. It quite simply turns it into a stunning bracelet.

“We hear from customers every day how much they love their slides and how they want to wear their fitness trackers more as a result. That is our ultimate goal. If people are a little more motivated to focus on fitness because of something beautiful we have created – that is beautiful thing and we have succeeded!” she says.

The fashion tech space is super hot right now. Bytten works alongside other entrepreneurs who are bringing fashion and new meaning to wearable tech (e.g., Billie Whitehouse from Wearable Experiments, Deepa Sood, from Cuffio, Ring.ly, etc.).

Their biggest competitor is Tory Burch, who has created a line of accessories for Fitbit Flex. Bytten, however has a very different design, beautiful and at a lower price point and they also have accessories for Jawbone and the new Fitbit Charge.

They are adding new designers to the bytten team to keep up with demand as well as to be able to add some new creative inspiration to their products.

“There are two directions we are taking as we grow – one is to continue to develop accessories for existing wearable devices. We also have some products in the works where we are developing both the technology and the “form” the product will take in other fitness and health markets. The challenge is to prioritize what to do first given that we are still a small but very nimble team”, she says.

Their target audiences are primarily fashion forward women who are interested in health and fitness. And they have a growing following world-wide.

“So far we are growing organically and have not raised any outside funds.  We may change our mind next year as we are looking to expand into other markets and would love to talk to angel investors who are excited about what we are doing. But for now, we are hanging tough” Says Jodi.

For more, visit: http://bytten.com

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