by Ann Arnold
Today was my second and last day to walk around CES and the day did not disappoint! It started off with a fashion show produced by Living in Digital Times that showcased how fashion and tech meet. It was hosted by Nick Verreos from Project Runway. I saw “smart jeans”, when you put your cell phone in the pockets, they clean the screen. Then there was a 3D printed dress (the black one below on the left), and a cute pink dress with not only 3D printed flowers, but also optic fibers in the skirt and bodice that reacted to sound and would light up!
Well at this point, I figured it was time to start searching out some more companies that had wearable jewelry. I have to say the amazing thing is how many of them know “tech” but not jewelry, let alone fashion. But there were a few that stood out.
The first was WiseWear. I had noticed this company yesterday and they were pretty busy, so I went back today for a closer look and chat with their team. WiseWear is a not only wearable technology, but I thought they also brought a sense of design to the category. Their device is housed in a Gold or Palladium plated brass bracelet. The device not only tracks your activity, sends you mobile notifications, but also has distress messaging, which allows you to discreetly tap it and it automatically sends your geolocation to your emergency contacts.
I asked them why they were using brass as their base metal, and they informed me that since brass is a nonferrous metal, it gets better conductivity. These bracelets retail at $395. The company plans to launch aspirational pieces as well in the future. They are currently going to be sold in Bloomingdales, however they are very interested in the Independent Retail Market.
The next company I went to see was Martian. Martian has created their own smart watch, and has recently partnered with both Guess and PC Jeweler. The “brains” that Martian has created, allows the user to pair their device to both IPhone and Android phones. You can get notifications when you get a call or text, and their newest generation also has voice support so that you can talk to Siri and use your watch as a phone!
These watches are stainless steel and have either leather or silicon straps. Martian also partnered with Seiko to produce their new Kindred vip™, which is a women’s true hybrid watch. Their watches retail between $249-$299.
Martian has also partnered with PC Jewelry, to develop new smart jewelry as well. This Dubai based manufacturer/retailer is using the “brains” that Martian developed, and has started to incorporate them into their designs, and launched the “Wysh” bracelet. These designs will be adapted to each global marketplace they target.
They plan on making their designs both 18kt gold plated, as well as some designs in all 18kt gold. The gold plated designs retail at $199. What was so cool about this technology was the fact that not only does it is it an activity and sleep tracker, but its notification system goes beyond phone calls and texts. They are developing an attachment that you can put on your children, and the device acts like a “child leash”. If your child wanders off from you, your bracelet will vibrate! How did I ever raise children without all this stuff!
The last booth I visited today was Swarovski/Misfit. Many of you may have already seen their initial product. This year they are expanding their design into pendants and a watch looking band.
They will be showcasing this at JCK in Las Vegas. These devices also do all the normal stuff, such as tracking and notifications, but you can also make your phone ring if you can’t find it or even take a selfie by just tapping the crystal! How cool – the new selfie stick! The original designs they came out with retail for $169. These new designs will retail for $249 for the pendant and $199 for the watch band. They also come with a fitness band to swap out when running or swimming. All these devices are modular, so the add on sale is built in!
I was not sure what to expect when I came out here. I only made it to the Sands Expo part of CES and never even made it to the LVCC portion. But what I saw here was pretty amazing. We have to remember in the industry, the tech world is coming. Both manufacturers and retailers need to start paying attention to this category. For manufacturers, it opens up a new line of possibilities. Tech companies are partnering with manufactures to use their “brains” since they don’t necessarily have the jewelry knowledge, or inroads into our industry. Retailers need to start thinking about how this category can not only differentiate them in their marketplace, but also allow them to attract a whole new customer base. If you would like any further information about any of the companies I featured, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Well, off to soak my sore feet!