Perry Ellis has partnered with tech startup Chipolo on a new accessory that aims to solve a common problem — a new, Bluetooth-equipped wallet that comes with tracking features.
The $75 black leather Tech Wallet looks like a normal billfold but with an embossed Bluetooth logo and a side pocket that houses a super-thin device called the Chipolo Card. Customers can track their lost wallets via a mobile app.
The wallet measures 4.25 inches by 3.25 inches. When it’s in range of the phone — listed as 200 feet — the app can wirelessly trigger the Bluetooth gizmo to emit a loud ring befitting the technology company’s reputation for making ultra loud Bluetooth trackers. The Tech Wallet boasts a 95-decibel ring.
“Today’s Millennial man is constantly on-the-go, and with so many distractions, he’s more at risk to leave his wallet behind in the airport or a coffee shop,” said Michael Maccari, creative director at Perry Ellis. “Melding Chipolo’s simple, yet powerful technology with our unique wallet design allows us to offer a lifestyle solution that merges the gap between fashion, function and versatility.”
Perry Ellis may be an established brand known for classic, preppy styles, but its outlook on technology is far from old fashioned. The company has embraced innovation, from back-end systems and point-of-sale technology to its 2016 “Shop of the Future” retail reinvention at Macy’s Herald Square in New York. The tech-driven concept, hatched and developed through its partnership with The Science Project, merged digital and physical features by way of proximity sensors, personalized consumer experiences, phone charging stations and interactive mirrors.
More recently, last October, the fashion brand rolled out a styling service on Amazon’s Alexa voice platform called “Ask Perry Ellis.” At the time, Melissa Worth, Perry Ellis’ president, explained that a company survey uncovered a fundamental challenge among its male customers — 81 percent had trouble getting dressed, and 45 percent identified dressing appropriately for specific events as their biggest struggle. Worth said then that “we are committed to providing solutions,” a sentiment that seems to hold up with its latest wallet.
Chipolo describes the universal problem its tech was created to solve: “Everyone has experienced that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize that you’ve lost your wallet,” said Primož Zelenšek, Chipolo’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “If you’re like me, you carry half your life in your wallet between credit cards, IDs, insurance cards and money. If your lost wallet falls into the wrong hands, you could be the victim of identity theft and fraud that could have long-term repercussions.”
For the startup, this partnership, among others, expands its Lost & Found network and its community’s search powers.
Bluetooth technology hinges on proximity. If a paired item is too far away, it can’t communicate with the host smartphone. But that’s where the community kicks in. If another Chipolo user comes into range, the system can locate the lost item and notify the owner over the Internet.
That means the community must be large and expansive for the system to work optimally. That’s how Tile, the grandfather of Bluetooth trackers, works and so do most similar devices.
Chipolo’s technology and community search work for more than just wallets. For instance, the company just unveiled a new partnership with Bragi, a “hearables” company that makes smart earbuds. The tiny wireless devices will integrate the tracking technology in a future software update so users can find lost Bragis more easily.
According to Chipolo, it has helped more than a million users across the globe find more than 50,000 lost items daily.
The Tech Wallet will be available at Macy’s and at Perry Ellis online in February.