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I created a solution for stylish women in tech after years in the industry

Bobbi Trehan-Young, 42, lives in Bedfordshire. She is a founder and CEO of tech product retailer Bobbi | London, as well as a subject matter expert and architect, and consultant at eTech Consultancy™. 

I had an interest in tech as a teen so decided to turn it into a career. I also wanted to challenge the stereotype that a career in IT was not for a young girl – an opinion of an older male friend of my parents.

I became a tech blogger after I successfully overcame technical issues so decided to start documenting a mind dump and a ‘how to’ reference guide for myself, which soon started getting traction from other techies and I began blogging on a regular basis.

Building a successful consultancy career spanning two decades as a subject matter expert and architect for Microsoft, now I run Bobbi | London, which creates stylish tech products for women in the corporate world.

My proudest achievements

Creating my product-based start-up and brand.

I looked at a problem for years and decided to take it on and create a solution. I decided to address the gap in the market for a stylish yet functional work-bag, tailored specifically for Women in STEM.

Bobbi | London™ was created to amplify women in the workplace by empowering them with stylish and functional products to keep women in high-powered roles productive and sophisticated.

And also launching my start-up on Oxford Street, London, with a pop-up store within just a month of the official launch of my brand online.

Women in tech

Women are underrepresented in the tech and engineering world, yet I believe we have so much to offer as we have a different mindset and approach when it comes to solutions.

Some of the most successful projects that I have delivered have been run by women.

We need more women CEOs and role models in tech.

Read more: Why we need more women in tech

Being my own boss

Running your own business comes with its own set of challenges. You have to understand every element of your business as no one can replace your passion. Finding and building a team of hardworking reliable individuals who have the same work ethic can be challenging.

Lastly, as an entrepreneur you’re always juggling several balls in the air, so it’s vital to be on top of your time management otherwise it can lead to burnout.

Overcoming challenges

I’ve learned there are many companies who will promise you the world and underdeliver, or not deliver at all, so you have to really be careful to not put all your eggs in one basket. But at the same time, you have to be able to pull them up and hold them accountable too. 

Funding your venture

Take a figure then triple it. Always have a contingency budget.

In December 2019, shortly after filing my trademark application, I received a cease and desist from a large French corporation with a demand to transfer my branding, domain and website over to them. They additionally tried to block my trademark application. I decided to persevere and see the legal battle through. I stood my ground by being resilient enough to not be intimidated by a large corporation.

I wanted to amplify my voice as a small business owner and women’s voices in general against the corporate bullying tactics used widely in the industry.

Although it was an expensive decision, as a believer of my vision I chose to put my own name to my brand therefore, I was not about to give up without a fight. In May 2021, to my delight, the tribunal’s decision and judgment were in my favor and I won the case.

My advice

Having a mentor and being able to bounce ideas off someone is key so don’t underestimate the power of a mentor.

And know when to walk away. Sometimes I give people too many second chances which in the long run can cost more time and money than it’s worth.

Working in the tech industry as a woman

I believe the challenges I faced as being a woman in tech have shaped me and made me the resilient individual I am today. I don’t shy away from confrontation and remain boldly feminine in the face of it all. 

Own your voice and don’t allow the minority male chauvinist to question your place. Be confident and believe in yourself. You are there for your skill and experience so don’t label yourself. More importantly, don’t take things personally in the workplace.

Read more: Women in tech: Why thought diversity and disruption are so important

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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