A luxury British accessories brand which specialises in beautiful printed leather, is seeking to raise £500,000 to take its unique wearable contactless payment jewellery global.
Tovi, who had been developing his leather printing techniques for years and enjoyed significant success in selling beautiful printed leather mobile phone cases and other accessories, had designed a leather bracelet which could safely hold notes.
Working with Barclaycard, he redesigned the bracelet with space for a payment chip, and now any UK customers can download the free Pingit app to pay with just the touch of a subtle bangle on the wrist, rather than having to rummage in a wallet or handbag for a card, or pressing buttons to use a rather large and obvious smart watch.
With the UK wearables market worth an estimated £479 million, of which smart jewellery is estimated as being £76 million of that, the opportunities for the Stroud-based designer are massive.
Following the collaboration with Barclaycard, Tovi Sorga and his partner Agnes Davis, have been working with a number of large corporate companies. Last year the team produced 500 luxury bracelets for Visa to give out to VIP clients at the Women’s World Cup in France.
The team use responsibly sourced natural leathers and print on them using a vivid, high-definition digital technique Tovi has been perfecting for more than a decade. While the process avoids the heavy plastic lacquers used elsewhere in the industry, the leather finish is hard-wearing, but still buttery soft to the touch.
Coronavirus has slowed the company’s planned expansion somewhat, but a new collection is being created for the important Christmas season and discussions with retailers for Christmas stock are ongoing. The team has also been investing significant time and effort in their online store.
And there could be another opportunity for the contactless jewellery as people are seeking more ways to live their lives contactless-ly. For instance, the team can create a branded wristband or key fob for a big corporate which would give staff secure access to offices or other spaces, or other benefits, without having to touch anything.
Much of the £500,000 investment the company is seeking will pay for upscaling manufacturing, which is currently done in Stroud, Manchester and Italy.
Agnes said: “We would like to focus our manufacturing efforts in Manchester, where we work with very talented leathermakers, and in Italy, where their expertise for leather goods manufacture is well known. But having moved from London to Bristol and finally to a studio near Stroud, this is now home to us and to our design studio.”