Whether it’s seen on the street, on TV or on the wrist of the girl sitting beside you on the bus, wearable technology is everywhere. According to The Economist, the research firm IDC revealed that 21 million wearable devices were sold last year. It’s a trend and fashion statement that will be around for the foreseeable future. To succeed in this space, a company has to develop a product that is not only stylish and coveted, but is actually useful to people and beneficial to their lives.
We connected recently with Christina Mercando, co-founder and CEO of fashion wearable company Ringly, which markets a line of connected jewelry that receives customized notifications from the wearer’s phone and displays them through vibration and light. Fashionistas will be instantly alerted when they receive important texts, emails, calls and notifications from their apps. Ringly’s core belief is that technology can be more discreetly integrated into our lives.
What was the inspiration behind Ringly?
“Before Ringly, I found myself missing calls and texts from my friends and family because my phone was buried in my purse. I also hated leaving it on the table every time I went out. I started to realize that a lot of my friends were having the same issue, so I thought to myself, ‘what if I could make my jewelry smart?’ I wanted to turn my jewelry into a little personal assistant, telling me when my next meeting was coming up, when my car was arriving, or when I was getting an important phone call. I got really excited about creating something that women would want to wear, but could also help them throughout their day.”
What do you see as the next phase for wearables/fashion wearables?
“Just like we own several different pairs of shoes to address certain situations, occasions and needs, different wearables will suit different purposes and lifestyles. You might wear a shirt that tracks your heart rate while you’re at the gym, a bathing suit that monitors sun exposure at the beach, or a ring that notifies you about an important message when you’re at work or out at dinner with your friends. As we start shifting the conversation from gadgets to clothing and accessories, the wearables industry, including fashion, will thrive on a diversity of offerings.”
Are fashion wearables a fun-to-have or a need-to-have?
“Both! We love the playful nature of adding technology to objects to make them come to life and become more human. Having something that’s both cute and useful is what excites us and delights our customers.”
What’s next for Ringly?
“For now, we are focused on building out new product lines and growing our brand. We’ll be embedding our technology into other designs and form factors, such as new rings and bracelets launching later this year.”
What fashion wearables do you own? Let me know @VZWHeidi.