Mezzi — a maker of handbags with high-quality Italian leather — is offering something more than just looks.
Discreetly designed into each handbag lining is a Mezzi Trackr for iPhone or Android. Trackr, which was recently launched through Mezzi’s iOS app, enables wireless connectivity between the handbag and the user’s smartphone. The device can find lost items using crowd-sourced GPS technology and its proximity sensors display the distance between you and your lost item. The Trackr ringer can ring a lost handbag or find a misplaced phone, even if the phone is set on silent.
Trackr is the first of three technologies Mezzi is launching. Another involves integrating a seamless charging capability for recharging smartphones, tablets and maybe even laptops. “This will be monitored by the Mezzi app, which will message the customer when their device needs recharging,” said Keir Reynolds, chairman and chief executive officer of Mezzi. “We’re also integrating an additional security feature into our bags that protect against identity theft by way of RFID-blocking so would-be thieves won’t be able to remotely scan credit and debit card information as well as passport information.”
Prices for the women’s collection range from $325 for the Elletra pouch to $1,495 for the convertible Cosima handbag, whose sides can be folded outward to create a different look.
Reynolds wants Mezzi handbags to be fully wired. “Each of our handbags rethinks the setup of pockets to align with what we carry around in our lives these days,” he said. “I see the [cross-pollination] of fashion and technology as being the most important area for growth in the coming years.”
Mezzi in October 2014 went public under the stock symbol MZI on the Toronto Stock Exchange. “We took an alternative approach to going public by raising venture capital money through the public markets so we could build our company,” Reynolds said. “Rather than mature privately and exit through the public markets, we are offering investors a ground-floor opportunity to get involved in an early-stage brand.”
The company began selling product in late 2014. Reynolds declined to disclose sales, but said, “we’re projecting strong seven-figure top-line revenue for 2015, which demonstrates significant quarterly growth.”
Mezzi’s market cap is hovering at around $5.5 million. The company has been fairly liquid, turning over more than 50 percent of its float since going public on average daily volumes of 154,000 shares trading hands, Reynolds said.
Mezzi is initially focusing on a direct-to-consumer business model. “We have been developing a social media presence,” Reynolds said. “We’re posting 10 to 15 pieces of unique content a day on various social media channels. We’re educating people on the brand at this point.” The brand has been featured on blogs such as Chiara Ferragni’s The Blonde Salad, Fashion Toast by Rumi Neely and Crazy Style Love, among others.
Reynolds plans to begin selling to department and specialty stores within the next 12 to 18 months. “The fact that we don’t have our own stores is intriguing for retailers,” he said. “They don’t want to carry a product if you’re going to open a store and compete with them. It’s become more of a concern.”
Raif Adelberg, formerly a designer for Herschel Supply Co., oversees Mezzi’s design studio. The company has also collaborated on products with Slash, Jesse Metcalfe and Alanis Morissette.
The one thing Reynolds isn’t pushing is the brand’s local heritage. “We’re not advertising ourselves as being Canadiana,” he said. “It’s not part of our brand. If a Canadian company is looking to make it outside of our market, they don’t want to get too much into the Canadiana. It can hold you back a little bit.”