A Q&A with our CXO & co-founder: Rikke Biehl, a solution architect
Before becoming a buyer in the fashion industry, Rikke went to design school and studied to be a design technologist.
“I actually wanted to be an architect, but I ended up in the fashion world at 21 and learned all I know by doing.”
After her first year of education, she got a full-time job, and decided it was time to quit school to dedicate all her time to the job and learn everything there. Later on, she took a Bachelor’s in Innovation and Organisational Change at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), which she worked on during the evenings.
“I was never too much into fashion but I can look at a system, at a structure, at a process and take care of that. I didn’t get to be a “real architect,” like for buildings, but in a way I think I am an architect of systems. There’s a similarity, because you have an issue you need to solve and then you need to come up with a solution that is simpler – something different. It’s like being a solution architect.”
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Delogue?
The first thing that comes to my mind is: collaboration platform. I wanted it to be a place where people would meet and collaborate to ease their life and minimize the risks – a place to store and share all the information to avoid misunderstandings.
The second thing is: personal relief. It is very stressful to be a buyer, because you constantly have to be sure that your back is covered – that you said the things you should and that you can document it. If something changed from blue to green, you need proof that you asked for that change. So this is the stress I wanted to ease. And the fact that you could go on vacation and the company is not entirely dependent on you.
Curing the inbox syndrome
There’s a lot of CC emails going on. I call them ‘cover ass emails’ because in a team of a designer, a buyer and technician, you CC everyone on every decision you make. You get a lot of “just in case you need the information” emails. I used to get 200 emails a day and 75% of it was just CCed. Some of this information didn’t concern me, but I would get it just to be in the loop.
I wanted to flip that. So that you would only notify the person that needed to know. And that is basically how Delogue started.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Both my parents are entrepreneurs – they have been all my life and so is my sister. And also my grandparents. But I didn’t really see myself as one. I started Delogue as a side project to ease my work life, instead of doing all these crazy formulas in excel.
I asked my brother if he could do some coding. And then it escalated from there. I finally founded the company in August 2008 with the financial crisis peaking. So it was not possible to get any loans or funding – anything.
I spent two years figuring out what to do with this idea, and then I met Mikkel, our CTO in 2010. It was a long start.
Where does the name Delogue come from?
Delogue comes from the words Design and Dialogue – dialogue about a new design. It is a dialogue that all the participants can benefit from if they use our platform.
The dialogue is about starting a collaboration between a brand and a supplier. We have enabled suppliers to have better documentation, because it is easy for them to see what has happened. And if there is a dispute, they both have the same amount of information. They can all see the same thing. In that way we want to make them equal partners.
What is your job as a CXO?
At the beginning, I used to do a lot of everything, but now I am mainly concentrated on developing the platform further.
I was the CEO until May 2019, doing all the admin, sales, development. Now I am the CXO and I have more time to focus on taking Delogue a step further: to improve the platform, to get new features, to follow the trends and how we can do it better, what are users requesting, what to develop in which order, etc.
Why choose Delogue?
We are a user-driven platform built by people from the industry. The entire development was done by users – by real people that have experience in working with the processes that involve creating a clothing item. Not from an IT perspective.
We have as much involvement as possible in every new feature we make. I spend a lot of time talking to buyers and designers about what they are doing and what are there challenges so I can find solutions that match their real work life.
What does the future hold for Delogue?
I would love to see it grow. We are constantly looking out for trends to see what’s coming and how we can move our product and also the industry towards this trend. And how we can build connections to other solutions that are good at what they’re doing because we don’t believe that we should cover everything. We would rather be a specific solution that handles product development and everything around the product.
What are the coming trends?
These days, due to covid-19, e-commerce is becoming bigger and bigger and the gap between the consumer, and the product developer is moving closer. So for the future, I think there will be a closer link between the designer and the consumer as a part of the design process.
Other two trends we are following is the incorporation of 3D to our platform and keeping up with the sustainability trends, helping brands achieve their goals.