Gabrielle is co-founder and Creative Director at Moxxly, whose mission is to empower women through design. Moxxly is designing a smart breast pump system, a product Gabrielle became fascinated with while working on her master’s in Design thesis at Stanford University.
She brings a user-centered design approach and a diverse creative background to her team: She’s worked as a costume designer, in a ceramics studio, and in a jewelry studio before falling in love with product design, manufacturing, and branding. Inspired by context and human observation, she seeks to simplify systems and yes, delight people who use her products. Success is making other people smile.
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." - Amelia Earhart
Q&A with Gabrielle
How do you build a culture that values design?
We’re not seeking to build a culture that values design. Or profit, or engineering.
We’re building a culture around shared values. Honest feedback, biased to action; celebrate victories; the best for the most for the least; design for the user. Having an alignment on core values helps the decision making process and team excitement.
How has your background as a designer influenced building the company and product?
Design is all about opportunities. We’re always looking for opportunities for delight, for improvement, for change and looking to leverage those moments that other people miss. From there our process is understanding, imagining, synthesizing, creating. Iterate, iterate, iterate – the whole time in lockstep with our users. This design process percolates throughout the company – it’s how we approach everything from the products, to the culture, to our board meetings.
Any unique processes you’ve put in place to build great products?
Learn from ugly.
Best for the most for the least was an Eames ethos for products. We apply it to our product development process. We’re always asking, “How can I learn the most the quickest for the least?”
Many people are afraid to share ideas or prototypes until they’re fully fleshed out, fully formed, and beautiful. But ugly is an opportunity for team engagement and group feedback. It brings people into your thought process and helps refine the next step faster.
Kern and Burn: Conversations with Design Entrepreneurs
A friend lent me this book when I didn’t even know this was the path I was heading down. It made the first step feel possible.
Curious Boym by Constantin Boym
Before I became a designer I was living in New York, super poor, scheming of ways to become a designer. I read every book on product design at the New York public library. This is one that stuck out. I love his curiosity and playfulness – two very important qualities in a designer. Arguably the most important.
The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth
In full disclosure I haven’t actually read this one yet – sorry, Bernie! – but I was a student of Bernie’s at Stanford and his attitude and approach to life has affected the way I think. In really, really good ways. If there is 10% of him in this book, it’s worth keeping under your pillow at night.
CognitiveLode – I got into product design – in part – because I’m fascinated by how people think and why we do the things we do. I love the bite size insights from this website.