It’s not easy to find a company, let alone a job, that blends all of your interests. The solution for Gwendolyn Floyd and Soko’s two other founders? Start their own. Bringing expertise in entrepreneurship and using mobile technology for development, Gwen co-founded Soko to build a brand, by women and for women, to fashion a better a better world. With Soko’s headquarters in Nairobi and a team in NYC, Gwen rounds out our geographical diversity from her base in San Francisco. From her westward vantage point, Gwen is the face of Soko at Silicon Valley startup conferences and tech events, while working closely with the strategy and marketing team. We caught up with Gwen after a whirlwind trip to Europe - never a dull moment for the woman sharing Soko with the world!
First off, a little background. Where are you from?
I grew up in Texas and spent two year of high school abroad, in Spain and Germany.
What is your academic background?
I studied cultural anthropology at Brown and then systems design at The Design Academy in the Netherlands.
Where does Soko fit into your story?
Soko is my fourth business and, by combining design, technology, and international development, a wonderful culmination of the all of the areas I’ve focused in over the past years. Having lived and worked in EU, south and east Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean over the past decade, it’s exciting to be back in the US to help my partners build Soko as an international brand.
What is your advice for young women entrepreneurs?
I wish I had understood how fun and how hard it would be, and to begin asking for help and support from my extended network as soon as possible. People want to help and champion good ideas, organizations, and individuals. Remember this and always extend the opportunity for people to get personally involved in your mission or business.
How would you describe your personal style?
Well, amongst the amazingly stylish ladies of Soko, I would describe myself stylistically as the little boy of the group :) I studied design, amongst other things, and my love of simple design that celebrate material or construction comes out in my style. I love androgynous fashion with a feminine edge.
Do you have a style icon?
I love the way Jenna Lyons combines structured tailoring and feminine menswear with bold statement accessories, shoes, bags, and outerwear to create a look that is a beautiful expression of androgynous chic.
What is your favorite piece from the Kenya Collection and why?
The coco necklace! The designer was inspired by the symbolic tribal designs West African women have historically used to positively influence areas of their life such as fertility, healing, and protection. The result is a piece that feels incredibly contemporary and urban and tribal at the same time.