the Insiders


February 9, 2011 9:00 AM


Jack Dorsey Taps Vivienne Tam for Square Launch

Jack Dorsey unveiled Square today, and the Twitter founder has tapped Vivienne Tam to help make the launch a little more stylish....

Jack Dorsey unveiled Square today, and the Twitter founder has tapped Vivienne Tam to help make the launch a little more stylish. dorseyviviennetam.JPGThe Twitter founder's newest technology -- a piece of hardware you plug into your phone or iPad -- allows anyone to accept credit cards and simplify a retailer's payment process.

It might sound similar to the gadget's at the Apple store that allow consumers to pay instantaneously without the hassle of waiting in line -- but Apple's technology is proprietary, very expensive and only lends itself to large retailers. The Square reader works on any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android phone and is designed specifically for small businesses and retailers and individuals. The Square reader is free, and all it requires is a download from the app store on your phone.

"Imagine going to a store and being at a cash register and getting an ugly credit card terminal. It's embarrassing to your business, especially if you're in fashion," Dorsey said.

When asked why Vivienne Tam was selected as the first designer to create a custom, brandedvivienneandjack.jpg square, Dorsey said it was a no-brainer. The designer was a very early adopter to technology and was one of the first to apply fashion and design sensibilities to the medium.

"If you think of payments, even if you go to a high-end luxury retailer, they still have ugly machinery surrounding the process of taking your payment. And we can make that beautiful. That's what Vivienne is trying to do."

Dorsey emphasized that Square is essential for designers just starting out and it's an easy way to accept major forms of payment. "It's a simple tool to start a business. You can start a business in a way that you want to and that looks beautiful and is engaging. And no one has really focused on that before. "

Tam's Double Happiness Square, which the designer bills as the "most fashionable technological accessory" after the iPhone and iPad, is available on viviennetam.com for $10, and 20 percent of each purchase will go to the Happy Hearts Foundation.

Tam, who said Square is especially useful for trunk shows and sample sales, calls the new device "fashion's red envelope."

"When you're using it, it's about the money flowing and good luck. It's part of the Chinese culture. You see this design [Double Happiness] everywhere -- especially weddings, where men and women are getting married and uniting to become one. When fashion and technology unite and become one it's happiness too."
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