Christina Mercando

Ringly is a smart ring that connects to a phone and alerts users to a waiting message with a subtle vibration or light.

Christina Mercando was having a communication issue: She’d often return from dinner with friends to find tons of missed messages and calls from her family.

This story first appeared in the October 29, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

And she noticed others were having the same problem.

Mercando’s solution? Ringly, a smart ring that connects to a phone and alerts users to a waiting message with a subtle vibration or light.

“A lot of tech companies today are building items that are masculine,” Mercando said, noting that technology should be an enabler and the design a centerpiece. “[They think] if they just make them pink, women will wear them.”

The first collection of rings, which launched in June and sell for $195 each on ringly.com, are 18-karat gold plated with precious and semiprecious stones including emerald, rainbow moonstone, black onyx, pink sapphire and tourmalated quartz. Wearers can select the notifications they want to receive (e-mails, texts, phone calls, etc.) and if they want the ring to vibrate, light up or both via iPhone or Android apps.

“How many [people] have their phones out on table today? For us, it’s about being able to better enjoy the moment,” Mercando said. “There’s no reason to have a phone out on the table.”

She wants people to do the things they want to do — go out to dinner, hang out with friends, go to a movie — without having to stare at their mobile screens.

Ringly will be available in stores next year.

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