by Johanna Mischke

June 20, 2014

I like creating things that make people happy – Interview with Cuff CEO Deepa Sood

Deepa Sood is the CEO and Founder of Cuff — smart jewelry that bridges the fashion/function divide. We had the chance to conduct a short interview with her which you can read below. In case you want to meet her in person – you can! On July 9 she will be speaking at our Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco!

1. You worked in a completely different field before starting Cuff. When did you come up with the idea and what made you decide to pursue it?

I worked in a bunch of different industries before starting Cuff! I was a lawyer, a journalist and then the VP of Product at Restoration Hardware — and though these might seem like incredibly divergent careers, I wouldn’t have founded Cuff without having gleaned wisdom from all of them. Above all else, I like creating things that make people happy — whether that be a turn of phrase or a dining room table. I also am a sucker for surprising people with delightful experiences they might not have ever imagined. With Cuff, we are lucky enough to get to do all these things.

The actual impetus for Cuff is one of those stories you can’t make up. My husband (a tech guy) and I were having a dinner party and he and his friends were geeking out over the newest wearable product while all the girls were intrigued by the vast array of things the band could do — but were trying to come up with ways to disguise its aesthetic. The night carried on, wine flowed freely, people danced — and in the light of morning there was that weird a-ha moment of “wait, shouldn’t somebody make that stuff look different?” We figured why not us.

2. What form factors will be available in the first round of products? Are you working with a partner for the jewelry pieces or is this also designed by Cuff? Are there plans to partner with fashion brands or famous jewelry designers?

Our debut collection is an assortment of bracelets, necklaces, and keychains — all designed by me. We are in talks with designers big and small to both design for Cuff and incorporate the Cuff technology into their designs.

3. There are so many wearable devices out there – but why do you think are there are so few that women would actually want to wear? What are the most important factors product designers have to keep in mind when designing for a female target group?

The body has limited real estate, and what women wear is incredibly personal. It’s one thing for everyone to have the same computer but you show me a group of women who would like the idea of everyone wearing the same jewelry. Right now, function is paramount in the wearables space but, for the idea to become sustainable — versus just another tech fad — there has to be a seamless integration of the function with the fashion.  That is at the crux of Cuff’s mission.  End of the day, for wearables to work for women, there needs to be as much choice as we have in clothing, shoes, and jewelry — both in terms of function, and aesthetics.

4. When will the Cuff be available? Are you planning to ship worldwide?

We ship our first run in September and we are already working on version 2, with more features and of course more jewelry options. Right now, we ship to the US and Canada but international distribution is on the horizon.

5. What is your favorite wearable device (except your own) at the moment?

My dad’s antique Patek Philppe watch. The watch: The first wearable…!

Meet Deepa in San Francisco on July 9. Contact us for interviews!