Chloé Watts featured

Inspirational Woman: Chloé Watts | Founder, chloédigital

Chloé Wattschloédigital is the leading tech support membership for content creators and Chloé Watts, the Founder, is a really interesting thought leader for the Fashion Tech space.

A self-taught coder, she launched the business in 2014 when she saw a real need for content creators to have access to technical support and growth strategy, in order to not only maintain their websites but also accelerate and grow them as a business. They now have more than 300 global influencers on their membership programme.

As a young Black female in fashion tech, Chloé Watts is passionate about growing female-led businesses through technology and showing younger women and girls that a career in tech is achievable and accessible to them; breaking the pattern of under-representation in this space.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was always into tech growing up, I used to get so excited when the new phones would come out, reading up on the spec etc and advising my friends on what to buy. When I was 15, I had a Myspace page, and you had to code to make your page look cute, so I taught myself.  I then started to help up and coming bands and artists to create their pages, I then went on to start designing websites for friends and small businesses. I worked as a Developer for my main job, but always had freelance clients on the side. I became known as Chloé Digital; the go-to girl next door to help you with your website. This eventually led to the introduction to influencers looking for technical support for their websites and the idea for chloédigital, a membership programme that offers ongoing tech support and digital strategy for influencers, was born.

I officially launched in 2014 and now we have over 300 global influencer members. We offer three service packages, Premium, VIP and Luxe, and also offer larger projects outside of these products for site & app development.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

I think looking back I always knew I would build a business of my own. While I was at University, I wasn’t totally passionate about my course, and so developed my technical skills outside with freelance opportunities. I worked within a company after graduation as a Developer, and it was at this time I knew there was power in my contacts and the client base I had built on my own.

As my freelance client base grew, I definitely had a bank of ideas in the background that I could develop into a sustainable business. It was a really natural transition for chloédigital in the end, as I was already working with bloggers offering tech support, but the membership programme then needed a clear business plan. The products and structure of the company had to be considered very early and as time went on it became clear what teams I needed to build and the products I should offer. I’ve learned a lot along the way but the vision, to help content-creators grow sustainable and meaningful businesses, has always been the same.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Yes definitely. While working as a Developer, as a young Black woman in this space it was tough to gain recognition and people didn’t necessarily value that the work was mine.  Even though I was the Lead Developer on most projects, I often felt people directed questions and discussion points to older male colleagues, I was disregarded a lot. This really gave me the push to build my own business. It also made me even more determined to help grow the influencer space and be an advocate for the industry, that is led predominantly by women who are carving paths of their own too. I have seen so many of my members build lives that work for a lifestyle that wouldn’t be possible if they hadn’t built something for themselves. They work from their own homes, or remotely, and have built wealth and a future for themselves and their families, on their own terms.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I love the moments when I see my company mission achieved. Our mission is to empower women to build the life of their dreams with technology, so when a client has a major win like launching their own online store, growing their team, buying their first home etc it makes it all worthwhile.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?  

Always sticking to my why. Business is hard but is really fulfilling when you are creating a lasting positive impact on people's lives. Everything we do is to benefit and grow our members platforms.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology? 

You can take up space in this industry as much as anybody else. Work hard, keep learning and believe your vision and ambitions are possible for you. A lot of people don’t see themselves represented in the tech world, which is a slow process to changing. We could be waiting a long time to see the Leadership landscape change and so as young women, I really think we must look beyond what society is telling us and believe in our abilities, not be knocked down by the doubt and believe we can thrive in this space.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Although we all have our own responsibilities, there really is a need for more Female and BAME leaders in businesses. Until this is honoured, the whole culture and vision for a business is missing a huge piece. Once we have more representation in leadership; we can start building teams that are reflective of that too.

People don’t necessarily see themselves as potential Leaders in their companies and it seems too huge a hurdle for some – if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Therefore, we also need to start talking within companies and being open about the lack of representation. Until we break the silence, there is a barrier and the status quo remains the same. People feel intimidated to challenge it.

The learnings from this year seem to be changing things for the better, we’re seeing Leadership teams and Boards change a little at larger companies, which is promising. I’m hopeful.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry? 

I would love to see more media air-time for female led businesses and respect for the innovation we are creating.  The influencer space in particular is often disregarded. The contribution content creators make to the economy, through so many categories, is astounding. The industry was created and is still led predominantly by women, plus is still a relatively new space, which unfortunately I think is why the industry is not celebrated and given the recognition it deserves.

If this was an industry created and led mainly by men, I think it would have been supported, invested in and credited a lot more.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I have always been the girl who reads tech publications alongside Vogue. My favourite publications are Tech Crunch, Mashable, The Verge


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