If there were a competition for the most fashionable woman in tech, Kinjil Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer of Squarespace, would be the one to beat. Beige formal dress Blessed with the ability to pull off editorial-worthy pieces from Prada, Proenza Schouler, and Chanel, Mathur could teach a course on making the most of minimalism. Still, her resume is even more impressive than her taste. A marketing maverick who has worked for institutions like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Condé Nast, Mathur understands style, and she’s helped to bring a bit more of it to Silicon Valley.
Since joining site hosting platform Squarespace in 2017, she’s spearheaded campaigns like the company’s Super Bowl 2022 ads featuring innovators Zendaya and Andre 3000. Tapping two fashion icons to extol the virtues of owning your website was an outside-the-box idea, but innovation is Mathur’s specialty. “The biggest misconception people have today is that all marketing decisions are made via algorithm or based on collected data,” shared Mathur via Zoom from New York. “Data is important, but there’s still so much value in curating, editing, and presenting a distinct point-of-view.”
The child of South Asian immigrants who settled in Texas, Mathur didn’t quite fit in when she was growing up in Dallas. “I was straddling two cultures and looking for a sense of belonging that wasn’t there,” she says. “There were so many aspects of my childhood that were wonderful, but I was one of those kids who felt they were just born in the wrong place.” With her parents both involved in STEM fields—Mathur’s father is an engineer while her mother is a medical professional—she initially felt pressure to pursue a similar career. Long sleeve navy dress “I thought the more creative fields weren’t in the stars for me, but I had this huge creative streak,” she says. “Everything from visual arts to music and theater appealed to me, but I didn’t view them as viable professions.”
Mathur’s perspective changed once she saw that marketing could encompass her interest in data-driven analytical knowledge and her desire to express herself. Eventually, those proclivities led her to the fashion industry, where she developed the online strategies for Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. “I realized that you can have this beautiful balance between the technical and creative,” says Mathur. “You have to be able to connect with your consumer and be empathetic to their needs, so being successful requires using your left and right brain.”
The changes within her career also saw Mathur make the jump from fashion into technology, a shift that had a ripple effect on her wardrobe. “For so long, dressing for work meant paying attention to emerging designers and knowing which trends mattered; it was really about staying on the pulse of things,” she says. “Once I moved over to tech, suddenly everyone around me is dressing for comfort or function. Sage green formal dress I had to do this hard pivot because when you’re in fashion, you’re just focused on that nonstop, every day, you’re engaging with the product, touching, feeling it, meeting with brands. Suddenly I had to consider how I wanted to dress just as an expression of who I was. Ultimately it’s about having the freedom to be yourself and understanding the value of your individuality.”