(Photo by Pexels user Delbeautybox, used under a Creative Commons license)
Destiny Gordon of Wilmington was a freelance PR specialist when Baltimore technologist Eric Warner contacted her through LinkedIn. He was developing an app for beauty professionals and business owners called StyleTrail, and he needed someone to write press releases and other content for the startup.
“When he called me, I was surprised,” said Gordon. “I hadn’t heard of many people who actually got a job from LinkedIn.”
She started out doing marketing and PR when she first started working with StyleTrail. Now her official title is content creator, a creative position, and she’s a working member of the tech community — something she had wanted, despite her non-tech background.
“I wanted to start an application even before I ever met Eric,” she said. “I knew that I had ideas for an application. No, I didn’t necessarily go to school for that, however, I felt passionate about it.
“I was going on my own little mission, meeting people at a couple of universities who were knowledgeable in apps and tech and coding — all of the areas that I have knowledge of but not necessarily hands-on experience with. And it just so happens that he found me and he happened to be doing an app and now I’m learning from him.”
While StyleTrail is still in development, Warner is not new to technology. The director of professional development with AIGA Baltimore, he is a 2016 Baltimore Innovation Awards “Technologist of the Year” nominee.
StyleTrail was inspired by the “help wanted” signs Warner would see in the windows of barbershops and salons in his neighborhood. The app, which is slated to launch in early summer, connects beauty talent — hairstylists, barbers, manicurists, waxers — with beauty business owners who have space available.
Through word of mouth and contacting beauty schools across the country, the platform already has more than 300,000 stylists and business owners signed up.
The goal is to increase employment opportunities for beauty professionals, and to help small beauty businesses maintain a stable income. And since it will be nationwide, there’s another benefit: Users can find work anywhere in the country.
“Like with Uber and Lyft, you can work anywhere,” said Gordon. “If a beauty professional wants to move to New York, they can use the app to connect.” And, like Uber, stylists and businesses will have ratings, so users have more to go on than a resume.
For Gordon, who works at home in Wilmington, StyleTrail is her point of entry into the tech industry — and she wants others, especially women with non-tech backgrounds who have creative ideas for applications, to know that you don’t need all of the tech skills to work in tech.
“I don’t want anyone to be discouraged,” she said. “Do your research and keep at it — and if you have to take classes yourself, you can do that, too. There are so many programs out there offering this knowledge for free because they want more woman involvement.”
What has Gordon learned from working for a tech startup so far?
“When you’re with a startup, you definitely have to be flexible and open to learning new things, and you’re going to wear a lot of hats, which to me is a beneficial,” she said. “It makes you an asset to many companies.”
As we learned at the NET/WORK Delaware 2019 panel, she’s not wrong.-30-
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