A few weeks ago we had a very interesting conversation with the founder of WiseWear, Gerald J. Wilmink. The three of us, Jerry, Mano and myself, talked in depth about the role that innovation and design plays when it comes to developing a fashionable wearable. Delving deeper we spoke candidly about the pressure on start ups to keep up the pace in an industry that is constantly evolving. Nothing was off the table, and those who know us at FashNerd.com, know that we always love that kind of conversation.
Wilmink founded WiseWear back in 2010 with the goal to solve a problem. Driven by a personal objective, his journey started with the creation of WiseAid. Dedicated to safety and primarily geared toward seniors, the hearing aid acted as a clever preventative solution that ‘whispered in your ear’. Although it never made it to market, WiseAid was designed to detect and prevent falls before they can occur.
Now fast forward to 2015, the year that we were introduced to WiseWear’s Socialite collection. Beautiful and high end, the jewelry collection, made up of The Calder, The Kingston and The Duchess, has successfully combined elegant design with innovative technology that will keep you confident, safe, and connected. With so much going on at the young company, we think it’s time you get to know WiseWear (if you haven’t already).
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WISEWEAR PRODUCTS?
As next generation products that fuse fashion with a thread of technology. We don’t make gadgets we make smart fashion that is wise.
WHO IS THE WISEWEAR CUSTOMER?
Our target customers are college, professional and senior women. They are the kind of women who would appreciate tech jewelry that does not make them feel like they are wearing a nerd gadget.
WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL OBJECTIVE WHEN YOU LAUNCHED WISEWEAR?
I founded Wisewear in 2010 to solve a problem. Then in 2015 the smart jewelry concept came to life. Our objective was to design a wearable with purpose. When we design we are dedicated to safety because we want our products to make a difference.
WHAT HAS BEEN WISEWEAR’S BEST MOMENT, SO FAR?
There has been a few, but the ones that stand out are working with Iris Apfel and being stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue NY.
YES, YOU MANAGED TO SECURE THE BIGGEST TECH AND FASHION COLLABORATION (IN OUR OPINION), TELL US ABOUT IRIS APFEL POWERED BY WISEWEAR.
She’s bold. She’s fierce. She’s a 95-year-old style icon who we knew we had to work with. As the face of WiseWear, she is the feisty fashionista who will be designing our next wearable. We are excited and honored to have someone with over 60 plus years in the fashion industry come on board and work with us. We can confirm that her highly anticipated collection will hopefully be available in Spring of 2017.
GREAT NEWS ABOUT BEING STOCKED IN SAKS NY, DO YOU PLAN TO STOCK IN EUROPE AT ALL?
We do estimate that WiseWear will be available in Europe 2017 although no specific retailers have been confirmed yet.
THERE IS QUITE A FEW SMART JEWELLERY BRANDS OUT THERE, WHAT MAKES WISEWEAR DIFFERENT?
We have fine tuned the art of gift wrapping technology in aesthetically pleasing jewelry. So much so that women will want to wear it, even if it didn’t have the technology in it.
WHAT IS YOUR BESTSELLER?
Definitely the silver Kingston. Funnily enough, it is our most simplest bracelet, but it seems that women love to stack it with other bracelets.
OK, LETS GET DOWN TO SPECIFICS, TELL US ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
What makes WiseWear Socialite a unique and innovative collection is that it has longevity, a decent battery life (72 hours depending on usage), Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) that works within approximately 25 feet of your mobile device and haptic technology that keeps you informed of your progress, performance, and mobile communications throughout the day. Most importantly, our key tech features are distress messaging and GPS location tracking.
HOW BIG IS THE WISEWEAR TEAM?
Not too big. There is only 8 of us.
WITH SO MUCH GOING ON IN THE WEARABLES MARKET, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNT?
I have learnt that optical sensing on the wrist is inaccurate.
“We have fine tuned the art of gift wrapping technology in aesthetically pleasing jewelry.”
FASHION TECH IS AN INDUSTRY COMING INTO ITS OWN, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?
Although still in its infancy, the pace of the industry is moving so fast. This has meant that we have had to figure out the best way to sell a fusion product to the mass market. We were confident in our product because we knew when we made it that it wasn’t tech for tech’s sake.
WE HEARD THAT YOU WERE WORKING WITH A CHARITY, TELL US ABOUT IT?
Yes, we partnered up with a breast cancer charity called Wings. For every sale of the silver Kingston 20% of it will go towards funding treatment.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER STARTUPS?
Do not discard the 4P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion). Make sure you launch at the right time and do not show too much before hand.
WHAT DOES 2017 LOOK LIKE FOR WISEWEAR?
Two words, gesture recognition. We want Wisewear to be the key to your life. Oh, and we are also looking to launch a more affordable range for mass market retailers.