“Starting a company is a lot like a scavenger hunt,” says Melissa Koerner, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Bezels & Bytes, an online company specializing in accessories for wearable tech devices. “There’s no road map to getting that success.”
But after an 11-year career at Gap Inc., where she served as marketing strategy manager for Old Navy and played a key role in launching the Piperlime brand, for which she directed marketing, Koerner says she’s delighted by the challenge of finding her own way.
“Building a brand from scratch and creating something is really exciting,” says Koerner, who launched Bezels & Bytes in 2015 with Sarah Shapiro. Products include bracelets and pendants that slip over fitness trackers and smart watches, cases for phones and tablets, and add-ons like charms and tassels. Bezels & Bytes won a 2016 Women’s Health award and has been featured in publications including O, the Oprah Magazine.
The wearable tech market is projected to reach $14 billion in global revenue in 2016, say analysts at CSS Insight, and $34 billion in 2020. With Bezels & Bytes, Koerner aims to create a brand that speaks to women who are fully engaged with modern technology but don’t want to sacrifice style to utility.
“Women are more powerful when they feel confident about how they look,” says Koerner.
She brings a marketer’s passion for “understanding the psychological reasons people desire to have or attain something” to her new role as an entrepreneur as well as a macro view of how to run a business garnered from her studies at Haas and Columbia.
“I have always admired people who start something from nothing and bring a vision to life,” she says. And now that she’s one of those people? “I love having my hands in everything.” —AS
Co-Founder, Bezels & Bytes