Said to be entering the wearable tech space in Spring, Trellie presents its new inked design and distribution partnership with Glitterings, a jewelry manufacturer working with brands & retailers (including Henri Bendel, Vince Camuto, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, HSN, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Macy’s). The company will handle producing the items, thanks to its own manufacturing and getting them to stores.
Created in 2012 in Texas, Trellie’s first product was a charm hanging on women’s handbags, alerting owners to incoming calls and texts. The project was successfully funded on Kickstarter, with a $33K investment and 4K units shipped. CEO Claude Aldridge and his co-founder Jason Reid realized over this first wearable experience that the better path forward to making successful wearables may be to partner with established brands, allowing Trellie to focus on the tech part, where stands their expertise.
The Trellie patent addresses how wearables can process incoming communications such as calls and texts, and apply contextual information to those events. Today, their star product is a small “nugget”, as Aldridge calls it, around 15 x 10mm in size, which can be moved in between different accessories such as bracelets or rings… In conjunction with a mobile app, the Trellie smart jewelry can light up or vibrate when you get calls, texts or can notify you of calendar events, and more to come.
This spring, Trellie will be selling its “starter kit” which includes a silver or gold-plated ring, the nugget and a charger for $99 to $129, available in stores or to pre-order on their website. Alongside this kit, the brand will sell separated accessories such as bracelets from $35 to $50 to get more customization options, in around 10 different styles, each coming in four or five colors.
Trellie’s modularity approach, according to its CEO, is a differenciating factor, especially when compared to Ringly or Cuff, because mainstream consumers don’t necessarily want to wear the same old jewelry everyday. Hence, having to spend around $200 just to get some variety is an expensive option they may not be willing to afford.
But is the market ready for it? Is the tech ambitious enough? Will these become a part of women’s everyday life? Will these ever extend beyond the “costume” jewelry space, when smart jewelry today still involves over-sized, bulky items? Will Trellie’s nugget get smaller, as the company claims? A lot of questions can be asked, but still, its potential is interesting & promising: it allows fashion brands to create their own lines of smart jewelry, and we all know they’re able to it way better than tech startups. But will these sorts of deals happen? What we can be sure of is that the market is waiting, and may be ready, as tells Aldridge “The department stores – these people are all over getting wearables for females into their stores as soon as possible, and it’s not just us”. A few months ago, retailers were worrying about how they could even fit wearables onto their shelves, and “now they’re like ‘how soon can you get me products?'” he says. After having raised a little over a million, Trellie is now in the process of raising an additionnal seed round.