NEW YORK — Rebecca Minkoff, who last month revealed that the brand’s third see-now-buy-now show will be held in Los Angeles at The Grove on Feb. 4, is adding to her accessories category with a new series of 10 limited-edition handbags. But they’re not just any handbags.
Minkoff has partnered with Avery Dennison and Evrythng to infuse each style with smart technology. The studded top-handle bags, dubbed the #ALWAYSON Midnighter style, will each come with a hangtag that when scanned will unlock a ticket to Minkoff’s spring 2017 fashion show as well as other exclusive offers and experiences with the brand.
The 10 bags will be sold exclusively at Minkoff’s pop-up shop at The Grove, opening on Feb. 3 — the day before her show. They will retail for $295.
Each bag will automatically qualify the customer for a loyalty program, as well as access to e-commerce services, private styling sessions, style recommendations, video content and an invitation to Minkoff’s next fashion show.
In a telephone interview, chief executive officer Uri Minkoff — who noted that all of Rebecca Minkoff handbags will be equipped with smart technology as of summer 2017 — talked more about ways the company is exploring “the Internet of things.”
“There’s such explosive growth in this idea of ‘the Internet of things,'” he said. “Your [smartphone] map knows that you’re walking towards the subway, it automatically knows that your meetings are done for the day…. Things are being done for you. Your devices are connected and they’re able to take action based on a certain stimulus. That’s the world that we’re starting to move towards.”
Rebecca Minkoff is no stranger to innovating with technology — the brand has a self-checkout option at its SoHo store and live-streamed its fall 2016 show in 360 virtual reality in partnership with Ripple. But its latest handbag initiative gets more personal, aiming to incorporate technology seamlessly into the lifestyles of its Millennial customer base. Minkoff emphasized that the timing on the launch was right, citing the success of Pokémon Go and the sense of discovery and surprise it elicited in users.
“When you look at bags, you have this beautiful item that you’re taking with you everywhere, but on its own, it has no life. It’s not connected. It holds your stuff and it looks good, but what if this thing could carry out a role or a function within this larger, connected world that we’re moving into?” Minkoff said. “What’s the future of a handbag in a digitally connected world in the Internet of things?”
By offering customers perks and rewards through partnerships with other brands and retailers, Minkoff also hopes that the new technology will cultivate customer loyalty. “For example, it might be that a certain coffeehouse allows her to get a discount if she is carrying the bag. The bag will become her access pass to experiences, events and loyalty perks, giving the bag a digital life post-purchase,” he said.
Speaking of Millennials, Minkoff’s show in L.A. promises a full day of experiences starting at 10 a.m., though the show itself, which will feature a mix of models and influencers, won’t begin until 4:30 p.m.
Attendees can take their pick of activities, such as a yoga class produced in partnership with Zella Athleisure, a wine-tasting with Chandon, an Essie-sponsored photo booth, and a chance to meet Keke Palmer and get a signed copy of her new book, “I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice.”