Tech company Chipolo aims to answer the modern-day question that everyone asks themselves: Where are my keys? We spoke to Nika Kramžar, Chipolo’s Chief Marketing Officer, to find out more about this revolutionary piece of tech, while learning more about her career.
1. Hi Nika, could you please tell me a little bit about yourself and Chipolo?
Chipolo is a tech company that designs item finders to help people find their misplaced or lost things like keys, wallets, phones, and luggage. The company – which is one of the leading brands on the Bluetooth tracker market – is based in a small, but very beautiful European country – Slovenia. Our HQ is in an ex-mining town and most of the team members are locals. There are ex-schoolmates, couples, and high school friends in the team, which makes it a very pleasant and very friendly working environment.
I was born in the town where Chipolo is based, and I’ve been living here my whole life. I started working at Chipolo at a very early stage, right after our big success on Kickstarter. It’s been 7 years now. As my educational background is in social sciences and communication studies, I’ve never really been that much into tech itself. I’ve always been more interested in the social aspect of technology – how people adopt it in their everyday lives, how it changes their habits, and how it impacts society in general. I think that the desire to really understand the relationship between people and tech is a necessary foundation for a CMO in a tech company.
2. What led you to your role as CMO at Chipolo?
Right after college, I started working as a marketing assistant in a big national media company, where I handled social media. I heard there was a fresh startup in my home town when I met my friend from high school one time and she told me she was working there as a designer. I told her that if they need any help in marketing, she should let me know, but I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it. It turned out she took it seriously and told me to send over my CV. A month later, I started working there as a social media manager.
Since it was a startup, it meant I was the one-man band for anything related to online sales and marketing. Then the company grew and we hired additional people. I took on the leading role naturally since I had the most knowledge from “wearing multiple hats” and having done those jobs myself. In ten years, we have grown to the stage where I can actually say that we have a marketing and online sales department, which doesn’t include just me and another person.
3. What has been your biggest career accomplishment to date?
To work in a company where I genuinely feel good, and where my personal values match with the company’s values. To be in a place where I can be me, without pretending or having to watch my back, as each team member plays a vital role, complementing one another.
So my career accomplishment is not exactly a personal accomplishment, it’s the whole team’s. We managed to build a strong brand in the item finders field that is recognised by top tech media. We’re working with the biggest tech brands, and we did it on our own, without big investors, coming from a small town and with a relatively small team. It’s really a result of hard-working individuals, who like doing what they do. And despite there being different personalities in the company, and sometimes clashing points of view, there is something that bonds us – we like what we do and we want to be the best at it.
4. Likewise, what has been your greatest challenge?
The transformation from a one-man band marketing department to a bigger team. It was a very slow growth and, with every new person, I had to figure out how to restructure the team and I had to slowly move from pure hands-on tasks to more and more managing tasks.
5. What advice would you give to other women at the start of their marketing careers?
Get to know yourself and figure out what really drives you in your life. What is important to you? What are your values? Then look for a job, find a team, or maybe even start your own business that is aligned with your motivations and values.
6. What is your secret to success?
Find what you love to do. And always strive to be the best at what you are doing. Even if you are not there at a certain specific moment - it should be your goal to get there.