As the jewelry industry looks for the next thing, accessories for wearables are a growing niche to watch.
Metal charms that slide onto or cover Fitbits, Apple Watch straps and other trackers and watches add a touch of differentiation and fashion. Items from Bytten, Funktional Accessories and more started with online sales but are branching out into fashion and fitness retailers.
“We saw a void in the market for stylish fitness trackers,” says Bytten founder Jodi Slater. “We knew women wanted to benefit from all the data that fitness trackers provide but didn’t want to sacrifice style in the process.” Designs are stylish, with the Matisse (inspired by the artist’s cut-outs and featuring an openwork design) a best-seller.
But while Bytten is positioning itself as jewelry, and even has an upcoming collaboration with jewelry designer Jaclyn Mayer, the company also created a lower-priced line for Target, which sells for $29.95. Bytten’s signature collection start at $75.
“As the field of wearable tech continues to explode, so too does the category of accessories for these devices,” says Rick Slagle, a VP at wearables distributor Wynit, which recently picked up Bytten’s accessories. “With more and more multi-tasking items rolling into the market daily, we feel this space will only continue to grow.”
Funktional Wearables creates cuffs, bands and wraps that hide the Fitbit Flex completely, one newer ones with a clock window for the Fitbit Charge. The vast majority of retails range from $25 to $54, with some pricier ones in sterling silver.
Owner Cynthia Blais created the collection out of necessity. “I had a fitness tracker and I liked it, but I felt it looked horrible with dressier outfits. So I created Funktional Wearables in 2014 with the aim to totally conceal the trackers. But as time progressed and trackers got more advanced, we altered our designs. For example, some now have a clock feature so that had to show. So we made tracker cases that feature a window to show the clock, and we also added some charms.”
Blais says the most popular style is the Tinley, which features a fabric wrap bracelet that snaps in the back via a patented device. It is created for the Fitbit Flex and wraps alongside and over the tracker and disguises it more than actually conceals it.
Add Ons for Apple
Even Apple watches, which are stylish in their own right, have been the subject of add-ons by third party designers.