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As advocates for using technology to empower industries and communities like fashion (that's where PLANOLY's story began after all!) we were excited to have the chance to feature a true leader in the field. Meet Andrea Castagno the SVP of Marketing at Ringly, a wearable tech jewelry brand that was built upon the idea of maximizing style while minimizing (or at least streamlining) digital noise. Andrea is certainly no stranger to the world of innovation, so from creating content to big picture strategy we sat down with the seasoned marketer to discuss the important role planning has played in her career and in the success of Ringly so far. Read on to learn more from Andrea and for a look inside Ringly's gorgeous Union Square HQ and design studio.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi, I'm Andrea Castagno. I head up marketing at Ringly, which runs the gamut from developing our content strategy across multiple platforms, overseeing social media, developing relationships for partner marketing, creating influencer strategies, and much more. I love that my job is super diverse and enables me to wear a variety of hats, depending on the day. Outside of work, I love to cook and enjoy nothing more than teaming up with my husband to cook a culinary feast for our friends. If we're not dining at home, you can find me out and about trying one of the many new restaurants constantly popping up in Brooklyn.
How did you find yourself in fashion, and more specifically, the wearable tech industry? Have there been any unexpected discoveries you've made as a result of working in this space?
Well, it was most certainly not a linear career path! After working at an Internet agency in New York, I had the great good fortune to get a job with Temperley working in London. After eight incredible years at Temperley, I transitioned to innovation consulting. Soon thereafter, I met Christina d'Avignon (Ringly's CEO) and became an advisor for the business for 1.5 years, and ultimately came on board full time to head up marketing. My goal was to find an opportunity where I could combine my early tech experience with my fashion experience, and RINGLY was a great outlet to merge those two worlds.
How would you describe your days at Ringly and what is one element of your job that you wish you had the opportunity to talk more about?
Never a dull moment — with a small team of fifteen, I'm exposed to so many areas of the business, ranging from software and hardware to wholesale and design. Every day is different, so I approach each day with an open mind, a very long to-do list, and a problem-solving mentality. I love talking to marketers at other businesses—specifically at startups—to learn more about their challenges and best practices. I wish I could do more of that!
"I approach each day with an open mind, a very long to-do list & a problem-solving mentality."
From a content perspective, what are a few things you always keep in mind when planning content for Ringly and what role has Instagram played in the brand's development? Can you offer any advice for those looking to better streamline their content strategy?
I always try to keep style, functionality, and fun top of mind when creating and planning content. We want to highlight that at its core Ringly is a beautiful piece of jewelry, then layer on all the amazing things that it can do, and ultimately infuse a bit of fun into the act of wearing a piece of jewelry with a set of stealthy skills, a la James Bond. Instagram has been an incredible platform for us to connect with our community and share the Ringly aesthetic and lifestyle. For anyone looking to better streamline their content strategy, I would say plan, plan and plan again. Having a more formal editorial process in place will enable you to really get ahead of your calendar and give you more freedom to freestyle on the fly when opportunities arise.
"Having a more formal editorial process in place will enable you to really get ahead of your calendar & give you more freedom to freestyle on the fly when opportunities arise."
How would you define smart jewelry? How does the product itself help filter (and improve) our relationship with social media?
At Ringly, we integrate technology with beautifully designed jewelry and accessories to create smart jewelry. Ringly is an excellent filter to keep tabs on your social media feeds without mindlessly losing yourself in your screen. In the Ringly app, you can set notifications to come through for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to minimize incessantly checking your phone for updates. You can also turn those notifications off at any time if you need to be heads down and focus. Ultimately, you're in control of adjusting the flow of notifications to your Ringly, based on what is most important to you on any given day.
Based on your experience at Ringly so far what are your 3 tips for those looking to incorporate more wearable tech in not only their style but their digital habits?
1. Talk to Your Friends. Ask your friends which wearable tech products they use and what they like/don't like about the product to get a better sense of what might be the right fit for you. It can feel more relatable to hear first-hand experiences.
2. Do Your Research. There are more and more products out on the market, so do your research to identify the different functionality and form factors that are available. Read user reviews and any day-in-the-life articles you can get your hands on to better understand the product.
3. Take the Leap. What are you waiting for? Find the piece that best suits your style and functionality requirements and give it a go!
As someone who works in tech you know firsthand how hard it can be to step away from the screen. So can you think of any one instance where you felt empowered to take a break/log off that happened while wearing Ringly?
The beauty of wearing Ringly is that it actually enables me to take a break and log off with the confidence of knowing that if something super important is happening, I'll receive a notification on my Ringly. I've found I'm more able to engage with my husband at dinner, enjoy a movie, or go to a concert knowing that my phone can stay tucked away until it's absolutely needed. That, in and of itself, has been freeing.