Founder and CEO of Ringly, Christina Mercando d’Avignon, is leading the way in fashionable tech by creating smart jewelry and accessories. Her company’s first product is the Ringly smart ring, which connects to a mobile phone, giving the wearer subtle cues through vibration and light. Instead of having to leave their phones lurking on the table at all times, or worse, banishing them and risking missing something urgent, Ringly wearers were instantly liberated by their stealth jewelry. Following the launch of that ring design in 2014, Ringly got notice in Forbes, Vogue, and was featured right here at CarleyK.com, like in this rundown of lustworthy products, or in our brand-new store.
Based in New York City, d’Avignon was recently placed on the Business of Fashion’s 500 list, an index of 500 influential people shaping the global fashion industry.
As for her company, it just introduced the Aries bracelet series (available for pre-order). It gives you alerts, but it also has an added feature of step tracking. Ringly now syncs with 100 apps on iOS and Android, but of course, the beauty is that you only get the notifications from what’s important to you. We asked d’Avignon about the inspiration behind her products, and her views on how we can all become a little less connected—in a good way.
What was the “Eureka!” moment for you, the genesis behind Ringly?
I continued to miss calls and texts from my friends and family because my phone was buried in my purse and I hated leaving it on the table every time I went out. I also disliked feeling so dependent on and chained to my phone. I started to realize that a lot of my friends were having the same issue, so I thought to myself, “What if I could make my jewelry smart?”. I got really excited about creating a solution to the problem while also designing something that women would get excited about wearing.
Have you ever had a funny “tech disaster,” and if so, what?
I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but there have been a few embarrassing moments. In meetings I’m frequently showing off Ringly and how the app works. There have been a few instances when my husband will text me random emoji art or cryptic love notes and it will show up on my screen for everyone to see. I now let him know before I’m going into an important meeting.
How do you stay connected, in addition to Ringly?
The Skimm just launched their daily news app and I think it’s great. Their writing style is fun and the content is really browsable. It helps me stay on top of what’s going on in the world while I’m always on the go.
How do you unplug from technology?
The only time I really unplug is right before bedtime. I try to not look at my phone or computer at least an hour before I go to sleep.
And from other humans?
My Bose noise canceling headphones. They make all the difference on a noisy flight.
What tech gadget does not yet exist but you wish did?
Something that would prevent people from using their phones to take photos and videos at concerts and experiences. I find it really distracting when everyone is staring at their phones instead of the show.
How do you see fashion and tech coming together?
Ringly was founded on the belief that technology can be more discreetly integrated into our lives. It’s been a challenge to merge the two worlds but it is inevitable that they come together. Especially when it comes to wearable tech, people want devices that are simple, stylish and unobtrusive but still serve a meaningful purpose.