This week Polly McMaster, The Fold’s Founder and CEO, speaks to Frances Scorah, Creative Director at Knomo; tech’s answer to fashion-forward laptop bags, backpacks and charging clutch bags.
Born into a creative family, her love of fashion was inbuilt. After graduating with a degree in Fashion Design and Marketing, Frances cut her teeth with retailer French Connection before leaving to set up her own business, opening an accessories boutique. Her own shoe collection followed, produced in Italy and stocked in Bergdorf Goodman, Matches and Saks 5th Avenue, amongst others.
Frances has since advised some of the UK’s most respected accessory brands and is the Creative Director for Knomo London. Before her arrival, Knomo was predominately men’s focused, giving Frances the incentive to give the women’s products the attention they deserved (a market which has often been neglected in the consumer tech world). Now, Frances is set on changing the image of women’s fashion-tech, one bag at a time…
On her love of fashion…
I believe a love of fashion is inbuilt. My mother was a fashion magazine editor, my father an architect. I’m fascinated by what things look like, how they work, how they make you look and what they communicate to the other people around you. It’s in my blood I guess. Accessories have a particular power, they can give me an insight into a person. Accessories fall under the most ‘utopian’ category. They can elevate and complete a person’s image and whatever your size or shape, accessories always fit.
Giving Knomo’s women’s products the attention they deserved…
When I joined Knomo, the business was very men’s focused – both the products and the brand as a whole. One of my main aims was to give our women’s products the attention they deserved, a market widely neglected in the consumer tech world. Overall, I wanted to bring the men’s and women’s ranges together in union, to create a strong, recognisable brand aesthetic.
Creating bags and tech accessories is an unusual category to work with – the distribution channel structure is incredibly complicated, and driven by the distributor or gatekeeper rather than the consumer. Let’s just say many of these gatekeepers often forget about 50% of the population, despite both genders living and working in the same way.
In 5 years time…
With our upcoming move into retail, I’m really excited about the potential for the brand. Designing an innovative in-store experience for customers will help create more consumer exposure, and will result in even more global growth for our wholesale side. I would like us to be known as the destination for fashion-driven people looking for an alternative to the boring business laptops bags – a totally unique position in the market.
The ‘hero’ product:
To me, the Beauchamp is Knomo’s most exciting product; it doesn’t look like a laptop bag from the outside, it’s a great looking sleek backpack. I see it everywhere now, people going to work, people out in the evening, shopping at the weekend. A 360-degree end use.
For me, style is pared-down fashion. A nod to trends, but a supporting player to your own personal aesthetic, established and tweaked over time.
On unwinding outside of work:
I run most days and meditate twice a day – supplemented with good food and wine.
The career advice she’ll never forget:
A coach once told me that out of 12 parts of my job, only 8 parts are are the actual job. 2 parts are looking after your boss/reportees, and (to my shock) the other 2 parts are perception within your business. It changed how I behaved in a business environment forever.
Bringing up well-mannered, lovely, helpful teenage daughters.